Apple Bumps iMac To 1 GHz, Adds Bluetooth Option, Drops Price

Apple has, at long last, finally released a speed bumped iMac. The company has revamped the entire iMac line into a two-model product line it is calling the "Spring Line." At the top end is a 17" iMac with a 1 GHz processor, a first for Appleis consumer desktop. At the entry-level is a 15" iMac with an 800 MHz processor. This marks the first time Apple has offered only two models of the iMac since the company first introduced the original CRT iMac in 1998.

Apple has also lowered the price of the iMac, at least on the high end. The 17" iMac now starts at US$1799, while the entry-level unit actually has a higher starting price of US$1299, though the entry-level unit now includes the Apple Pro Speakers, a combo-drive, more RAM (256 MB), a larger hard drive.

Other changes to the iMac line include the addition of Bluetooth. Apple has also taken the rather bizarre path of introducing AirPort Extreme (802.11g) only on the 17" iMac, while keeping the 15" iMac saddled with regular AirPort (802.11b), splitting its own market (see The Mac Observer Spin below for commentary). Apple also omitted FireWire 800 from the iMac Spring Line.

Apple also announced a price reduction for the eMac product line, which TMO is covering in a separate story. From Apple:

Apple(R) today announced its Spring line of iMac(R) computers, featuring two new models. The new 17-inch widescreen model features a 1 GHz PowerPC G4 processor and 133 MHz system bus; 256MB of Double Data Rate (DDR) memory; a faster 4x SuperDrive(TM) for playing and burning CDs and DVDs; and internal support for AirPort(R) Extreme and Bluetooth, for just US$1,799. The new 15-inch flat panel model features an 800 MHz G4 processor and is now priced at just US$1,299 -- US$200 less than its predecessor.

Designed around an ultra-compact base, the iMacis flat panel display appears to float in mid-air, allowing users to effortlessly adjust its height or angle with just a touch. The 17-inch widescreen and 15-inch flat panel iMacs also offer two FireWire(R) 400 and five USB ports for fast, simple, plug-and-play connections to digital devices such as digital cameras, DV camcorders and iPods.

The 17-inch widescreen iMac offers the latest in communications with internal support for optional high-speed 54Mbps AirPort Extreme 802.11g wireless networking, offering speeds up to five times faster than previous wireless technologies, and optional internal Bluetooth for wireless connectivity to a range of peripherals such as cell phones and PDAs. Appleis new iSync software is included, so customers can automatically synchronize address books and calendars between Macs and Bluetooth capable cell phones.

Both flat panel iMac models include Mac OS X "Jaguar," Appleis next- generation operating system and Appleis iLife(TM) applications, an integrated suite offering iTunes(TM) 3 for managing digital music, iPhoto(TM) 2 for organizing and sharing digital photos, iMovie(TM) 3 for digital movie-making, and iDVD(TM) 3 for creating and burning Hollywood-style DVDs (SuperDrive models only). Also included is a collection of productivity and entertainment titles such as Quicken 2003 Deluxe, Microsoft Office v.X Test Drive and World Book 2003 Edition.

Pricing & Availability
iMac and eMac desktops are available immediately through the Apple Store(R), at Appleis retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers.

The 17-inch widescreen flat-panel iMac, for a suggested retail price of US$1,799, includes:

  • a 1 GHz PowerPC G4 processor with Velocity Engine;
  • a 4x SuperDrive DVD-R/CD-RW optical drive;
  • an NVIDIA GeForce4 MX graphics processor with 64MB video memory;
  • 256MB of DDR system memory;
  • internal support for AirPort Extreme wireless networking and Bluetooth;
  • an 80GB Ultra ATA hard drive; and
  • Apple Pro Speakers.

The 15-inch flat panel iMac, for a suggested retail price of US$1,299, includes:

  • an 800 MHz PowerPC G4 processor with Velocity Engine;
  • a 32x Combo DVD-ROM/CD-RW optical drive;
  • an NVIDIA GeForce2 MX graphics processor with 32MB video memory;
  • 256MB of system memory;
  • internal support for AirPort wireless networking;
  • a 60GB Ultra ATA hard drive; and
  • Apple Pro Speakers.

Build-to-order options and accessories include additional memory, AirPort or AirPort Extreme Card, AirPort Extreme Base Station, Bluetooth and the AppleCare(R) Protection Plan.

You can find more information on the iMac at Appleis Web site.