A DROOLING audience of over 900 Macintosh devotees and probably a few new converts was last week treated to the first glimpse in New Zealand of Apple’s new iMac G5.
“From the makers of the iPod, comes the new iMac!” announced Renaissance’s head Paul Johnston as he unveiled the machine during the Auckland session of the distributor’s annual Apple Update road show last Thursday.
“This machine comes straight from the Apple Expo in Paris and is one of only two in the Southern Hemisphere.”
The excited crowd was shown a sleek device that packs a complete works, including power supply and a slot-load optical drive, into a two-inch deep display, which rests on a slender aluminium foot.
The new iMac line features Apple’s grunty PowerPC G5 processor and is available in three standard configurations. The model on show was the top of line iMac featuring a 1.8GHz processor, 160GB hard drive and a 20-inch wide-screen LCD display. It’s recommended retail price is $3,405.00, excluding GST.
An entry-level 1.6GHz, 80GB and 17-inch model is expected to retail at $2,340 excluding GST, but Johnston says most of these specifications are configurable to create customised machines boasting up to 2GB of RAM.
While Apple is marketing the iMac G5 as the ideal vehicle for its iLife suite of digital lifestyle tools that include iTunes, iPhoto, GarageBand, iMovie and iDVD, which come standard with all models, Johnston also expects significant sales to businesses.
“This model is great for the corporate market because of its space-saving potential and a very competitive price point, which takes full advantage of the strong [New Zealand] dollar,” he says.
The machine also integrates seamlessly into company networks with Windows-based PCs, Johnston says.
Renaissance’s Apple division, the vendor’s de facto face in New Zealand, has meanwhile established a four-person team in Wellington to make a more concerted push into the corporate and government sectors, says Johnston.
The majority of this new business is fulfilled through Apple’s channel, with the exception of a few large government licensing accounts.
First shipments of the new iMac are expected by the end of this month and Apple is already taking orders, but Johnston can not yet confirm the number that will arrive in the country.
Apple says the machine is the world’s thinnest desktop computer, although IBM claims it has the smallest — the ThinkCentre S50 ultra small PC released this month.
This is the third incarnation of the iMac, which Apple launched in 1998.