Apple made a series of major product announcements last week, including a new high-end Macintosh for professionals and a much-anticipated new line of G3-based notebooks. The highlight, however, was a distinctly different machine aimed primarily at the consumer market.
Dubbed the iMac, the machine represents what interim CEO Steve Jobs called "a return to Apple's original mission".
The all-in-one machine comes equipped with a 233MHz G3 processor, 4GB HD and 32MB of SDRAM. It's also the first Apple machine to incorporate Intel's USB serial architecture for peripherals instead of Apple's own serial and ADB standards.
Other features include 24x CD-ROM drive, 10/100Baset-Tx Ethernet and IrdA networking ports. The unit also includes an integrated 15in monitor capable of displaying 1024 x 768 resolution, and comes encased in a translucent blue and white casing.
The machine will ship worldwide in August for an RRP of $2500.
Users will be able to expand the RAM and hard drive of the machine, but the processor will not be upgradeable -- unlike Apple's other G3-based offerings. And the machine does not include a floppy disk drive which is another departure from previous Macintosh models.
Although Apple says the machine is pitched squarely at the consumer and education markets, its potential market could be broader. The machine is almost $1000 less expensive than Apple's current 233MHz G3 Macintosh.
Asked whether Apple Australia may alter its retail strategy to allow the machine exposure to a wider audience, hardware director Bill Harrington said: "It's a situation we're constantly examining, but at this stage we have no plans to change the channel".