Apple intros CD-RW, ‘technicolor yawn’ iMacs

Nice plastic, shame about the colour

Updated Apple's Steve Jobs unveiled new, CD-RW equipped iMacs at MacWorld Expo Tokyo last night, as expected.

He also announced a new Cube, though with the addition of only a CD-RW drive, it's not the consumer-oriented upgrade many Apple watchers had predicted.

In addition to CD-RW, the new iMacs get speeds bumps to their CPUs. There are no PowerPC 74xx series chips (aka G4), but the top-end Special Edition gets a 600MHz G3-class CPU, less than the 700MHz we were expecting. The bottom-end iMac ships with a 400MHz G3, the mid-range model runs at 500MHz. The top model only contains 256KB of L2 cache, while the 400MHz and 500MHz machines comes with 512KB, but that's because the 600MHz chips are IBM parts with the L2 cache on the processor die itself, so it runs at the same speed as the CPU core. Note that Apple initially got this wrong: it claimed the 500MHz had 256KB of 500MHz L2, too.

It also ships with a regular CD-ROM drive, but that's not entirely surprising given it's mainly a classroom-oriented machine. It comes with 10GB of hard disk space and 64MB RAM. The 500MHz model is the first with a CD-RW drive, and provides 20GB of storage and 64MB of memory. The Special Edition takes those numbers to 40GB and 128MB, respectively.

It also boasts an ATI Rage 128 Ultra graphics system. The Rage 128 Ultra simply seems to be the old Rage 128 Pro with an extra 8MB of video memory.

Finally, Apple introduced two new 'colours' - the ultra-yuck 'Flower Power' (but at least it'll look good in 1970s retro households, we suppose) and the marginally better 'Blue Dalmatian'. Love 'em or hate 'em, the new flavours do at least mark an impressive use of plastic moulding technology, to retain some degree of translucency.

The base iMacs cost $899 (£799 inc. VAT in the UK), the mid-range unit $1199 (£999) and the top-end box $1499 (£1199).

The new Cube comes in at $1599 (£1149 exc. VAT) - the current 450MHz Cube's price has been cut to $1299 (£949). ®

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