Apple has unveiled its new eight-inch square G4 PowerMac Cube as part of an overhaul of much of its product range.
At yesterday's Macworld Expo show in New York, chief executive Steve Jobs also announced that Apple had overhauled its range of G4-chip powered PowerMacs to feature dual processors, and has slashed the entry-level price of its latest iMac range. The machine will cost £649 including VAT in the UK.
Also making their debuts at the show were three new screen displays, and a new optical mouse and keyboard. A public beta of Apple's latest OS X operating system will be made available in September ahead of a rollout early next year, and gaming deals and a new version of its Imovie2 movie-editing application were unveiled.
However, yesterday's show-stopper was the G4 PowerMac Cube. It goes on sale in the UK next month, priced at £1249 excluding VAT.
The Cube includes a 450Mhz G4 chip with 64Mb of memory (scalable to 1.5Gb) and boasts a 20Gb hard drive (scalable to 40Gb), a DVD player and an array of I/O capability including Firewire and Airport wireless connectivity.
As with all new Macs from today, the Cube comes with Apple's latest optical mouse and redesigned Pro keyboard as standard. A 500Mhz model will also be available in the UK from next month, priced at £1599 excluding VAT.
Jobs gave details of the company's first dual-chip powered PowerMacs. Both the 450Mhz and 500Mhz models have two chips, significantly increasing processing power. In a live test during his presentation, Jobs set the new top-end PowerMac with a dual 500Mhz chip against a PIII 1Ghz Pentium-powered PC.
Each was given a file created in graphics package Adobe Photoshop that contained the design of a poster for the movie Inspector Gadget to reproduce on screen. It took the new PowerMac 61 seconds; the PIII 1Ghz took 124 seconds.
The PowerMac machines come with built-in Gigabit Ethernet connections, speeding up processing power over network - vital for the graphic and video designers who make up Apple's core user base. The machines can now be ordered in the US. Prices have been frozen at previous levels.
New colours and features at aggressive price points were the themes behind the changes to apple's iMac range. Jobs said 3.7 million iMacs have been sold since its launch two years ago. He said the new iMacs were "the best internet appliances".
The new models come in indigo, ruby, sage, graphite and snow shades, although only some colours are available for the cheaper models. Prices range from an entry-level machine (indigo) at £649 including VAT to a high-end version (graphite and snow) at £1199 including VAT. All models are available now, except for the £649 model, which is due out in September.
On Tuesday Apple reported higher third quarter sales and operating earnings, but said its net profit fell marginally from $203m to $200m because of higher investment gains a year earlier.
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