The iMac has always seemed a curious beast to me - somewhere between a desktop and a notebook - as in desktop machine, laptop parts. The latest iteration is no different, so while it may sound odd to refer to a desktop Mac as getting a Santa Rosa update, that is exactly what is going on with Steve Job’s latest, not that this is a bad thing it turns out.
Aesthetically I can’t raise any particular complaints, as brushed aluminium and black will compliment almost any desktop arrangement. Size wise you now have the option of either a 20in 1,680 x 1,050, or 24in 1,920 x 1,200 screen the latter of which you’re required to purchase if you want the full range of upgrade options.
Internally, you’ll be able to specify from either a 2.0GHz or 2.4GHz Core 2 processor, up to 4GB 667MHz DDR2 RAM and a 750GB hard drive on the 20in model, whereas the 24in will allow you up to a 2.8GHz, Core 2 Extreme mobile part (overclocking on a Mac?) and 1TB of storage, no doubt for all those iTunes you’ve downloaded and iMovies you made .
Graphics power (so to speak) comes from a 128MB ATI HD 2400 XT on the cheapest 20in model and a 256MB 2600 Pro everywhere else. Hopefully games developers will be taking that into account when porting games to OSX.
The best thing about the new iMacs, though, is the pricing. The low-end model manages to pack a pretty decent desktop PC spec into a stylish, compact, package for £799, which is actually comparable with a similarly specified windows-based PC - amazing. Of course the top-end 24in model will push you more towards the £1,500 mark, but if you really need the desktop real estate and power it affords, then you should already have resigned yourself to the fact that you'll pay a premium to have it. Everything considered, it looks like Apple got this launch right.