On April 20th this year, Apple announced a new lineup of iMacs having been redesigned for the first time in 10 years and not surprisingly this came with some controversy among fans and non-fans alike.

Whenever Apple makes a design decision, whether it be functional or aesthetic, everybody with access to the internet becomes a design expert and can’t wait to provide their input. The most recent ‘issue’ with this iMac is their choice to keep a large chin underneath the display, rather than making the whole product thicker and having a consistent sized bezel similar to their iPhone, iPad, & MacBook. You see, this has split people 50/50 on whether the chin makes the deign look iconic i.e. recognisable as a computer, and those who think the chin makes it look old, as if they have failed to fit the electronics in the main thickness.

Scour any tech based online forum and you will see opinions like “Honestly prefer not having a chin rather than having it be so ‘thin’” and “What is that huge empty space at the bottom of the monitor for?”. With the opposing opinions of “The chin is needed if Apple wants to go back to making their own monitors again.” and “If there was no chin people would confuse the iMac and the Apple Display for each other.”

In my opinion, the chin is a deliberate choice, and the correct one. Apple once made a Thunderbolt Display which was essentially an iMac with a consistent bezel (no chin) and it did just look like a monitor whereas the iMacs chin gives it a distinctive look, making it obvious that it contains a computer.

If there was no chin people would confuse the iMac and the Apple Display for each other.

Could Apple have made it thicker and placed the components behind the display rather than below? Of course they could, but Apple understand their brand identity more than any customer ever will, and the chin is the identity of the iMac. Like the way they have captured the essence of their brand identity is the new choice of colours, harkening back to the original release of the iMac back in 1997, saving the company from near bankruptcy. Their aim for this computer is the casual consumer, not the pro market as some were expecting. This is obvious in the choice of colours and marketing material they created for it.

So on first inspection the new iMac is a confusing mash-up of the original and previous versions causing some to be annoyed at the lack of forward movement, and some to swoon over the nostalgia.

I sit in the middle, appreciating its references to the past while being a contemporary staple of the home. Their choice to go with white bezels instead of black shows its joviality and purpose, not so much as a professional workstation, but a piece of art meant to be noticed even when turned off.

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