The Apple iMac (M1, 2021) has a brand new accessory, and it’s something we wish Apple had made: it’s a USB hub that gives you useful expansion options and that matches the colour of your M1-powered Mac.
As MacRumors (opens in new tab) reports, the hubs are from a firm called Hyper, and you can choose between a 5-in-1 or 6-in-1 model. The 5-in-1 has twin 5Gbps USB-C, twin 5Gbps USB-A and another 5Gbps USB-A with 7.5W to charge small devices; the 6-in-1 gives you 4K/60Hz HDMI, 10Gbps USB-C, twin 10Gbps USB-A, SD and microSD. They’re $49.99 and $79.99 respectively.
Hyper’s hubs solve three problems: one, you don’t have to fiddle around behind your iMac any more. Two, you’ve massively expanded your available ports. And three, it won’t clash with your chosen iMac colour. That last one is a little problem I know, but when you buy your iMac you've chosen your colour specifically – you shouldn't have to put up with some boring black connection box.
Rub-a-dub dub, give M1 Macs a hub
Hubs are must-haves for many Mac users. I’ve just moved from a 5K Intel iMac to an M1 Mac, and I’ve hit the same problem Matthew Bolton highlighted in his M1 iMac review: “if you’re replacing an existing iMac with this lovely new one and you have USB hard drives or other accessories, you’ll also need to buy a way to connect those peripherals to this machine.” The Intel iMac had a decent amount of ports but like the 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro, the 2021 iMac only has USB-Cs.
I’m an edge case, I know, but right now my M1 Mac is connected to an external display, an audio interface, a mixing desk, an electronic drum kit, a MIDI keyboard and three external drives: one backup SSD, one for my ridiculously large Photos library and a third for various creative projects. I’ve got a card reader and various Lightning and USB chargers too. So I’m in the centre of a hub of hubs, all of them ugly but utterly essential.
Hyper’s hub is a bit better looking than the ones I’ve got, and it’s clearly useful; blending in with the iMac case is a nice touch too. But I do wish this is something Apple had thought about and offered an elegant solution for, because as useful as this is, it's a shame to screw a bunch of ports to the chin of your Mac no matter how well the colours match.