As we speculated previously , Apple used its high-profile press event yesterday to launch a revamped iMac, but there was plenty more to the occasion than just a new desktop computer.
When Steve Jobs unveiled the new iMac on stage it was exactly as predicted, but no less appealing for the lack of suspense. The previous white plastic casing has gone, to be replaced by a much slimmer aluminium housing similar to that on the range of apple monitors. The screen also sports a glossy coating like recent MacBook laptops.
Under the hood there's a considerable power increase, with CPUs ranging from a 2GHz Core 2 Duo in the 20-inch starter model to a 2.8GHz Core 2 Extreme in the top-end 24-inch version. Hard drives are available from 250GB up to 1TB, while RAM starts at 1GB as standard. Graphics come courtesy of a 256MB ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro chipset.
As for pricing, the new models start at £799 for the 20-inch Core 2 Duo 2GHz model, rising to £1,459 for the 24-inch Core 2 Extreme 2.8GHz version, with customisation available at the time of order. A full list of UK prices can be found on the Apple website .
Another much-anticipated feature also arrived in the shape of a redesigned slim keyboard, again reminiscent of that on the MacBook. With brushed aluminium to match the iMac, the new keyboard is available as either a full-size wired version or a smaller Bluetooth variety.
On the software front, the iLife '08 software suite also made its debut with several new features. The highlight of the £55 package is an addition to the iPhoto application that organises photographs into events according to the day on which they were taken, with powerful options governing how albums are displayed and labelled.
The iMovie video-editing part of iLife received a new interface that Jobs claimed simplified what can be a complex process so much that editing a short movie could now be done in just half an hour. Other tweaks allow iMovie to work with video in the AVCHD high-definition format and to create one-click uploads to the ubiquitous YouTube.
Apple's online .Mac service has also been upgraded to synchronise albums with iPhoto in a web gallery that can also be added to by anyone with whom users share a contributors' email address. It also has the ability to automatically sync photos and videos with an iPhone, which, naturally, received a software update to handle the new feature.
Lastly, a few other minor changes and some new products were also announced at the event, which Apple has thoughtfully recorded and provided online here for die-hard Jobs fans eager to lap up every word.