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  11-21-03 | This column originally appeared in the Houston Chronicle.


Mac for the Holidays: New 20-inch iMac & Dual Processor G5


By Bob LeVitus

On Tuesday Apple announced two new Mac models—an iMac with a 20-inch flat panel display and a dual 1.8 GHz processor Power Mac—and lowered the price of the entry level 1.6 GHz single processor Power Mac G5 to $1,799, $200 less than at its introduction last August. Free upgrades to new, faster, G5-optimized versions of Final Cut Pro, Shake, and DVD Studio Pro became available Tuesday as well.

The new 20-inch iMac includes the largest flat-panel display ever offered in an all-in-one desktop computer and offers twice as much screen real estate as the 15-inch iMac. The 20-inch widescreen display, with a native resolution of 1680-by-1050, is ideal for tasks such as video editing, creating or watching DVDs or using any application with multiple windows open at once. Better still, this size allows you to work on two full pages side-by-side in page layout or graphics applications.

Apple’s press release featured this statement from Phil Schiller, the senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing: "The new iMac builds upon the revolutionary, all-in-one, adjustable design that remains unmatched in the industry. By offering a huge, gorgeous 20-inch widescreen display, Apple has once again raised the bar on what customers can expect from an all-in-one desktop."

I wanted to know more so I got Phil on the horn late Tuesday afternoon and asked if the white half-globe iMac base was larger on the 20-inch model than on the 17-inch or 15-inch. It seemed to me it would have to be, but Phil tells me it’s exactly the same size, though some additional weight was added in order to counterbalance the heavier display. The biggest challenge, he said, was re-engineering the articulated neck that connects the display to the base, so you can adjust the height or angle of the larger display effortlessly.

Before I hung up, Phil tossed me one last zinger: “The 20-inch iMac is an innovative breakthrough product—it’s better, faster, and has a larger flat-panel display than any other consumer PC.”

Now for the heavier metal: The new dual processor 1.8 GHz Power Mac G5 replaces the short-lived single 1.8 GHz processor Power Mac G5 and costs just $2,499, which is just $100 more than the single processor model cost before its untimely demise. At the same time the price of the entry-level single processor 1.6 GHz Power Mac G5 was reduced from $1,999 to $1,799.

"Our customers told us loud and clear that they love dual processors, so now two of the three Power Mac G5 models feature lightning-fast dual processors," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of Hardware Product Marketing. "And with the entry level model now starting at just $1,799, the Power Mac G5 lineup is more affordable than ever."

To recap, the new iMac lineup includes three models. The 20 and 17-inch models have PowerPC G4 processors running at 1.25 GHz; the 15-inch model has a G4 running at 1.0 GHz. All three models include 256MB of 333 MHz DDR SDRAM and an 80GB Ultra ATA/100 hard disk drive running at 7200 rpm. The Power Mac G5 lineup still includes three models: A dual processor 2.0 GHz, a dual processor 1.8 GHz, and a single processor 1.6 GHz. All three offer memory expansion up to 8GB. And both new models, of course, ship with Apple’s latest system release, Mac OS X version 10.3 “Panther.”

If you’re in the market for a new Mac, there have never more excellent choices, nor have prices been lower, than they are today.

Nice work (again), Apple.

20-inch iMac, S.R.P. $2,199.
Dual 1.8 GHz Power Mac G5
. S.R.P. $2,499.
Apple Computer, Inc. Cupertino, California

Bob LeVitus is a leading authority on Mac OS and the author of 41 books, including The Little iTunes Book and Mac OS X for Dummies, 2nd Edition. E-mail comments to [email protected].

Copyright © 2003 Bob LeVitus

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