Apple Adds More Fun to the iMac
At a Glance
Apple has lowered the price, bumped up the speed, and enhanced the features of its sleek-looking 20-inch iMac G5. The result is an all-in-one desktop computer that works better with media and costs less than its predecessor; but like that unit, it falls short of being a full-fledged media PC because it doesn't have a built-in TV tuner.
I tested a shipping version of the updated, 20-inch iMac. Equipped with a 2.1-GHz processor (the prior model had a 2.0-GHz CPU), 512MB of DDR2 RAM, a 250GB hard drive, and a DVD+RW double-layer drive, the $1699 system delivered crisp performance, and the 20-inch wide-screen display looked very sharp. Audio from the built-in speakers, on the other hand, was average.
Aside from having a slightly thinner build, this iMac differs from its predecessor in three significant ways.
First, Apple added an iSight Webcam--third-eye style--at the front of the iMac. In my tests, the camera provided reasonably smooth videoconferencing capabilities.
Second, Apple introduced a Photo Booth app that lets you use the camera to take photos of yourself (complete with a screen-based fill flash) to use in things like e-mail notes and instant messaging.
Finally, Apple bundled a new iPod Shuffle-size infrared remote control that works with the new Front Row entertainment software. To activate Front Row, you hit the Menu button on the remote; this brings up a screen with four icons (Videos, Music, Photos, and DVD).
Despite my disappointment over the lack of a TV tuner, I think the 20-inch iMac is a cool desktop with a nice set of features, an attractive design, and a reasonable price.
Apple iMac G5
This beautiful 20-inch wide-screen all-in-one combines entertaining multimedia features and a good price.
Price when reviewed: $1699
Current prices (if available)