It’s skinny, hewn from aluminium and looks like a desktop iPhone. But does the latest iMac offer more than meets the eye?
Upon meeting the new iMac, one thing is clear: Apple’s design team has triumphed once again. The fourth generation isn’t a radically different design from its predecessor – and not a huge technological leap forward – but we challenge you not to be smitten after a face-to-screen meeting.
Available with either a stunning 20in or 24in widescreen display and encased in a drop-dead lush aluminium enclosure, the iMac is an A-list celebrity through and through. It also benefits from a £200 price cut. But is this enough for iMac aficionados, and indeed PC owners, to shell out for another all-in-one desktop?
It’s certainly not a huge leap forward technically. The entire new iMac line features the latest Intel Core 2 Duo processors (up to 2.8GHz), a new ultra-thin aluminium Apple Keyboard (wireless keyboard is optional), and a built-in iSight video camera for video conferencing and mucking about.
Other need-to-know specifications include up to 4GB of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM memory and a choice of ATI graphics cards (128 or 256MB dedicated memory). This means that the heart of the iMac is, in fact, largely unchanged, and there’s been no introduction of an iPhone-style touch-and-gesture interface to go with the looks. But it’s easily speedy enough for doing everything bar hardcore gaming.
Blinded by the screen
Are any major problems? Well, the new ultra-thin keyboard might look fabulous, but it’s not ideal for those who use their computer to pound out novels or prolific bloggers. And the highly reflective screen is gorgeous to look at – unless you happen to be sitting by a window.
But these can be filed in the ‘minor niggles’ folder. Indeed, there are few desktops that offer the breadth and simplicity of the iMac’s multimedia experience. There’s up to 1TB of internal storage to accommodate your growing library of digital photos, movies and music, as well as built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n Wi-Fi networking, Gigabit Ethernet, a total of five USB 2.0 ports (including two on the new Apple Keyboard), one FireWire 400 and – handily for external drives – one FireWire 800 port.
Living the iLife
Plus it comes bundled with Mac OS X version 10.4.10 and iLife ’08. The latter is the key to why the iMac is such a brilliant choice for creatives. We’ve done an in depth look at the new bundle’s brilliance with music, movies, photos and video, but to summarise – advanced movie editors may bemoan the simplification of iMovie, but overall it's a great update.
Which means the iMac formula is quite simple. Peerless creative software plus a stunning new all-in-one design equals the world’s most covetable desktop computer.