MW Tokyo - New iMac Announced, Models Now Sport Flowers And Dalmations (Really)

by , 7:00 AM EST, February 22nd, 2001

During yesterday's keynote speech at the MACWORLD Tokyo Expo, Steve Jobs announced a revamped line of iMacs. While the line needed to be rejuvenated, we are fairly certain nobody expected this. The first thing one notices about the new iMacs are the interesting new colors, rather patterns, that adorn the models. The two higher end iMacs, sporting 500MHz and 600MHz G3 processors respectively, are available in the new Blue Dalmatian and Flower Power designs. Both colors are interesting to say the least, and represent a retro look which at first glance is strangely out of place on a personal computer.

Other than the new colors and the faster processor the other rather odd announcement is that the low end iMac, formerly a 350MHz G3 that retailed for US$799, now sports a 400MHz G3 and is available for US$899. Other than the faster processor, the low end model now has two FireWire ports, and video out which means it will now support an external monitor. However, the extra US$100 does not get users a CD-RW, though those are available in the two higher model machines.

According to Apple:

Apple today introduced a new line of iMacs with CD-RW drives and iTunes, Apples amazing new jukebox” software, which lets users create and manage their own music library and burn their own custom audio CDs. With fast new PowerPC G3 processors running at up to 600 MHz, up to 40 GB hard drives, FireWire ports and iMovie software on all systems, the new iMac family comes in two dazzling new patterns, Blue Dalmatian and Flower Power, as well as the two most popular iMac colors, Indigo and Graphite.

iTunes, which has been downloaded more than 750,000 times since its debut in January, lets users import songs from their favorite CDs into their iMac and compress them into the popular MP3 format; organize their music using powerful yet easy to use searching, browsing, and play list features; watch stunning visualizations on their computer screen; and create custom music CDs with the new iMac's CD-RW drive.

All iMac models come preinstalled with Apple's iMovie 2, the latest version of the world's most popular, easy-to-use consumer digital video editing software, and offer two FireWire ports for easy connection to a variety of high-speed peripherals such as digital camcorders and digital cameras. Movies can be saved back to the camcorder, copied to videotape or posted to a users own website using iTools, Apples suite of free Internet services.

Every iMac comes standard with Apple's optical mouse and full-size Apple Pro Keyboard, and is AirPort ready. AirPort, Apple's revolutionary wireless networking solution, provides totally untethered Internet access at speeds up to 11 megabits per second.

iMac's other great features include near-silent operation, reducing noise levels to half that of competitive systems; ATI RAGE 128 Pro accelerators for outstanding graphics; built-in 10/100BASE-T Ethernet for easy DSL and cable modem access and an all-digital sound system designed in collaboration with Harman Kardon.

Pricing and Availability
The new iMac models are available immediately on The Apple Store ( and through Apple Authorized Resellers in three standard configurations:

You can find more information about the latest iMacs at the Apple Web site.

The Mac Observer Spin:

CD-RW drives are nice in the two higher end machines, but as even Apple will admit, long overdue. Apple's apparent answer to the 15" monitor problem is the inclusion of a VGA port to allow video mirroring. That's great, but why would one want to put an external monitoring on an iMac? From where we sit, that largely defeats the purpose.

All of this means two things for those wanting to purchase one of Apple's consumer machines. One, wait until MACWORLD New York this summer to see a real upgrade to the product, and inevitably faster processors (and far less obnoxious colors), or get one of the low end Cubes. The low end Cube, however, does not contain a CD-RW, but rather a DVD drive. Decisions, decisions.

We believe the iMac line has been reintroduced in its current form now one too many times. It is the computer that changed the industry forever, and showed us that computers did not have to look like computers. However, despite the new machines being marketed squarely from the "Digital Hub" perspective, we see nothing in these new machines to give Apple's slumping sales a boost.