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iMac G5: Goodbye Arm, Hello Slab!

At Apple Expo in Paris today, Apple announced the iMac G5, the next generation of the company’s all-in-one consumer level computer. Gone is the hemispherical base and articulated arm of the previous iMac. Instead, the iMac G5 is a slightly thicker version of the recent Apple Cinema Displays, a white slab suspended on a slim aluminum base.

The iMac G5 comes in two sizes and three configurations: a 17-inch screen model sporting a 1.6 GHz PowerPC G5 processor ($1,300); a 17-inch screen model with a 1.8 GHz G5 ($1,500); and a 20-inch screen model with a 1.8 GHz G5 ($1,900). The 17-inch versions are just 1.9 inches (48 mm) deep; the 20-inch version is 2.2 inches (56 mm) deep. The low-end model has a Combo Drive (CD-RW/DVD-ROM), while the others include SuperDrives (CD-RW/DVD-R); the slot-loading drives sit vertically on the right side of the computer. All configurations are AirPort Extreme-ready, with internal Bluetooth adapters available as build-to-order options.

They all come with 256 MB of PC3200 (400 MHz) DDR SDRAM memory (you can fit a maximum of 2 GB); an NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 Ultra graphics card with 64 MB DDR SDRAM with AGP 8x support; two FireWire 400 ports; three USB 2.0 ports; two USB 1.1 ports on the keyboard (which looks to be wired, even though the pictures show off Apple’s wireless Bluetooth keyboard and mouse); VGA output; S-video and composite video output; 10/100 Base-T Ethernet; and a 56K modem.

Estimated shipping for each model is three to four weeks; given Apple’s difficulty in getting PowerPC G5 chips from IBM, it may be realistic to double those numbers as a timeframe for delivery.

There’s more to look at, including how Apple’s engineers added three quiet fans to cool the processor, and a slit on the back to dissipate heat (it will be interesting to see if all that heat coming out of the top is detrimental to a mounted iSight), and the way the back panel comes off to expose the high-tech guts of the machine.

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