Apple Rolls Out Faster iMac G5s With Built-In Wireless

The updated iMacs also come with Apple's new Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger operating system, which the Cupertino, Calif., company shipped last Friday.

Other new features include faster graphics, an 8X SuperDrive DVD/CD burner with double-layer support on higher-end models, built-in Gigabit Ethernet and 512 Mbytes of memory across the line.

Three models are available, all with built-in wide-screen LCD displays. At the top of the line is a $1,799 model with a 20-inch screen, a 2GHz 64-bit G5 processor, an 8X SuperDrive and a 250-Gbyte Serial ATA 7,200-rpm hard drive. Next is a $1,499 unit with a 17-inch screen, a 2GHz 64-bit G5 processor, an 8X SuperDrive and a 160-Gbyte Serial ATA 7,200-rpm hard drive. A $1,299 model includes a 17-inch screen, a 1.8GHz 64-bit G5 processor, a 24X DVD-ROM/CD-RW optical drive and a 160-Gbyte Serial ATA 7,200-rpm hard drive.

Besides the Tiger OS, all new iMacs come bundled with Apple's iLife '05 multimedia suite (with the iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, GarageBand and iTunes applications) as well as the company's AppleWorks office productivity suite and Intuit's Quicken 2005 for Macintosh accounting application, among other software titles.

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The sleek iMac G5--which features the computer, power supply and a slot-load optical drive built into a 2-inch-thick display--headlines a prospering product family at Apple. Unit sales of the iMac line, which includes the eMac and new Mac mini desktops, rose 115 percent year over year in the company's fiscal 2005 second quarter ended March 26.

Overall, Apple shipped 1.07 million Macintosh computers in its second quarter, up 43 percent from a year before, and Mac business accounted for 62 percent of the company's total revenue in the period. The only sour note on the computer side was the high-end Power Mac G5 desktop line, which saw a 19 percent unit-sales decrease year over year.

Late last month, however, Apple upgraded the Power Mac line by rolling out three new models, all of which have dual 64-bit G5 processors, higher-performance graphics capabilities, more memory, larger hard drives and 16X SuperDrives with double-layer support.

The release of the Tiger OS could help spur other Mac-related sales, notably among individual users, several Apple solution providers said. "There are more people willing to look at an Apple product," said Kevin Langdon, owner of Crywolf Computers, a San Diego-based Apple VAR, and director of the Apple Specialists Marketing Cooperative. "Some of the features and the look and feel of Tiger, which is significantly different from [Mac OS X 10.3] Panther, appeal to people new to the platform, as well as to existing Mac users."

Continued brisk sales of the iPod music player also could draw new Mac customers, according to Langdon, who noted that one of Crywolf's ongoing strategies is to reach out to non-Mac users. "Apple has created a lot of trust because of the iPod," he said. "A lot of people who never would have bought an Apple product had to have an iPod, and they liked it."