Apple Refreshes Its iMac Line

The Mac maker adds Bluetooth and 802.11g to its top-of-the-line consumer desktop, which now clocks in at 1GHz.

A week after enhancing specs and lowering prices on its professional Power Mac G4 desktop systems, Apple Computer Inc. on Tuesday continued tuning up its current Mac lines with new features and pricing for its consumer desktops.

The top-of-the-line iMac now runs at 1GHz and supports Bluetooth and 802.11g wireless networking, which Apple in January added to its Power Macs as well as its PowerBook portables.

It features a 17-inch LCD display and packs a 1GHz PowerPC G4 chip, an Nvidia GeForce4 MX graphics processor with 64MB of VRAM (twice that of its predecessor), 256MB of DDR, a SuperDrive and an 80GB hard drive. The configuration is priced at $1,799, $200 less than its 17-inch, 800MHz predecessor.

A 15-inch LCD model priced at $1,299 includes an 800MHz CPU, a GeForce2 MX graphics processor with 32MB of VRAM, a 32x DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive and a 60GB hard drive. It includes support for Apples 802.11-based AirPort wireless networking but doesnt come with Bluetooth.

Each iMac model features two FireWire 400 and five USB ports; neither supports FireWire 800 connectivity, which Apple added in January to its Power Mac G4 systems and new 17-inch PowerBook.

In other news, Apple also cut prices on its eMac, an all-in-one desktop system built around a 17-inch CRT; 800MHz and 700MHz models are now $1,299 and $999, a cut of $200 and $100, respectively.

The latest upgrades mean that at 3 months old, the current configuration of Apples consumer iBook portable is the most venerable of the companys Mac offerings. Last week, Apple upped the performance ante on its Power Macs with a dual-1.42GHz model due to ship this month for $2,699; previous Macs topped off with a dual-1.25GHz Power Mac G4 configuration. At Januarys Macworld Expo/San Francisco, Apple rolled out 17- and 12-inch PowerBook models.