Style is the most important factor for PC consumers and Apple's iMac range is the coolest of them all, according to researcher IDC.
Roger Kay, an analyst at IDC, praised Apple's ability to market the iMac as a must-have item for the style-conscious digital editing community as well as for hip internet surfers.
Speaking to delegates at the researcher's StorageVision conference this week, Kay attributed this to Apple's attention to detail, and the artistic and critical eye of chief executive Steve Jobs.
"Apple works because Steve bet the farm on radical design, and it's the attention to detail - look at the colours of the wires inside the transparent cone. Apple took 18 months to get the plastic right," said Kay.
Apple was free to completely redesign its desktop computers because many of its legacy users had already switched to Intel and Microsoft-based PCs, he added.
The iMac was launched two years ago this month and Apple said so far it has shipped 3.4 million devices. Kay said the company has managed to keep a certain mystique surrounding the product by limiting distribution and product lines, and keeping development of hardware, software and operating system in house.
While style is the winning criteria for consumer desktop systems, successful designs for corporate buyers are elegant and understated, said Kay. Examples include the flat-screen design of IBM's Netvista systems and the sleek iPaqs from Compaq.
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