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Culture

Is it a Lamp? No, a Computer!

Here it is finally! The radically redesigned iMac –sleek, pale and futuristic, sporting a dome shaped base and a swivelling flat-screened monitor. It made its debut at the Macworld Expo 2002 in San Franciso yesterday.

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Apple Computers Inc. chief executive Steve Jobs with his "shiny new apple"

Steve Jobs, Chief Executive and co-founder of Apple Computer Inc. ended weeks of speculation yesterday as he unveiled the revamped version of Apple’s most popular desktop, the iMac.

The thin version of the iMac was presented to a cheering crowd of thousands packed inside the Moscone Center. It features some of Apple’s hottest technology such as its latest microchip and optical drive.

Snazzy features and comfort

Departing from the current line of candy-coloured iMacs, this one is starkly white and features a flat panel liquid-crystal LCD display. It's connected by a flexible desk lamp-style arm to a small, dome-shaped CPU. And it comes with a matching white Apple pro keyboard and a optical mouse.

The swivelling screen "literally floats in mid-air," Jobs said. It also allows the user to adjust the screen to his liking, doing away with sore backs and stiff necks.

And it’s easy on the eyes too – the liquid crystal display is a sharp, nonflickering screen. The monitor tilts in all directions and swivels. The base is heavy enough to prevent the unit from tipping over - or being used as a replacement for a laptop computer.

The LCD screens replace the previous model’s cathode-ray tube (CRT) displays – a move which the boss of Apple said would be "the biggest change in desktop computers in the next ten days ... this is the official death of the CRT today."

"The digital hub" for a digital lifestyle

The other Apple Products released at the Macworld Expo included Apple’s new photo editing software called iPhoto. iPhoto makes it easier to transfer photographs from digital cameras and then produce websites, photo albums and books using their photographs.

Apple also said that it would make its OS X operating system standard on all new Macs.

Apple’s latest computers are part of a concept it calls, "The Digital Hub", in which the desktop PC interacts with a variety of digital devices such as music players, video and still cameras and photographic printers.

In the past year, Jobs has said Apple's strategy was to release the computer-linked products and software that it sees as central to a new digital lifestyle.'' "We've now got the complete digital hub for the digital lifestyle,"Jobs said.

State-of-the-art

The new-look 800-MHz iMacs can be easily connected to digital cameras, camcorders and music players. The new series boast a drive capable of writing data and transferring video to DVDs as well as a 15-inch screen and G4 Power PC microchip.

The first high-end models will be available in the market by the end of the month and will be rolled out over the next three months. The basic model will set you back by $ 1,299 and will be only be available in March. The computers equipped with additional features will take the price up to $1,499 and $ 1,799.

Will the iMac boost Apple sales?

The top-of-the-line iMacs are hoped to provide Apple with a much-needed boost. The fresh and catchy design of the new-look iMacs will hopefully revive flagging sales of Apple’s older multicoloured iMacs.

First released in May 1998, the original iMac series were hailed for its colourful designs and translucent cases. Apple has sold over 6 million iMacs to date, making it one of the most popular computer lines.

Top secret?

True to its forms, Apple had kept its new product under tight wraps, promising its users that they would be "blown away". But one day before its official release, Apple leaked out the secret product and its pictures to "Time" magazine, which will soon hit the stands with its glorious scoop.

"I know some of you wanted it sooner, but I think you'll agree it was worth the wait," said Jobs.

Apple engineers and designers have been working on the new all-in-one iMac for the past two years, Jobs said, conceding that some had been hoping for a quicker release. But he argued that the radically revamped design had been worth the wait.

"This is the best thing, I think, we've ever done," Jobs told the cheering Macworld crowd.

Now all that remains is to wait and see how the innovatively designed iMacs take off.

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