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Apple takes its M1 chip to the iMac, iPad Pro

The proprietary Apple silicon allows for an iPad Pro and an ultra-thin iMac with faster processing and graphics than previous models. The new products will ship next month.

Apple's introduction of an iMac and iPad Pro powered by its ARM-based M1 chip demonstrates the speed with which the company plans to roll out products that run the high-performance, low-power silicon.

Apple launched the latest hardware this week -- four months after introducing its first M1 products: a 13-inch MacBook Air, a MacBook Pro and a Mac mini desktop. Like the previous computers, the latest benefit significantly from the technical advancements in the M1.

For example, according to Apple, the 24-inch iMac runs applications 85% faster than the standard 21.5-inch iMac and graphics twice as fast. The new iMac is thinner, at a tad less than a half-inch.

The latest iPad Pro is 50% faster with applications and 40% faster with graphics; this is a substantial improvement over previous models that ran Apple's ARM-based A12Z Bionic chip.

Apple's aggressive use of the M1 has left some analysts wondering whether software makers will keep up, particularly companies that make enterprise software.

"A lot of business applications are not really compatible with an ARM-based device," Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa said.

However, Adobe and Microsoft are among the business software makers with updated products for the Apple M1. Most Mac applications built for Apple's older Intel-based computers run on M1 systems using Apple's translation software, Rosetta 2.

New Mac with touch sensor keyboard
Apple is pairing the Mac with a keyboard that includes a touch sensor customers can use to change accounts or pay online.

The new iMac has a 4.5K Retina display with 11.3 million pixels and 500 nits of brightness. It includes a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, which Apple touted as necessary for users participating in video conferences at home.

The keyboard that comes with the iMac has a Touch ID feature that lets users log in, complete payments and switch between user profiles by placing their finger on a specific key.

New Macs in seven colors
The new iMac comes in seven colors and runs on Apple's ARM-based M1 chip.

Apple will take orders for the iMac on April 30 and start shipping it in the second half of May. The desktop will come in seven colors.

In a move placing it squarely in competition with Spotify, Apple also unveiled a subscription model for its podcast service. Customers will be able to sign up for ad-free listening, previews of episodes and content not released to the general public.

Apple also announced Air Tags, circular chips that users will be able to attach to wallets, keys or luggage and track through Apple's Find My device locating app.

Maxim Tamarov is a news writer covering mobile and end-user computing. He previously wrote for The Daily News in Jacksonville, N.C., and The Sun Transcript in Winthrop, Mass. He graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in journalism. He can be found on Twitter at @MaximTamarov.

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