Jobs' keynote: iMac, the sequel

Today during his Macworld San Francisco keynote, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the new iMac, the first total overhaul of the ground-breaking consumer computer since it was introduced in May 1998. And the new iMac is incredibly more powerful and totally redesigned.

"Today we say goodbye to the old iMac and say hello to the new, which has been totally designed from the ground up to be the ultimate digital hub," Jobs said.

The new iMac is built around a 15-inch flat-panel display. The screen "hangs" in the air, attached to a jointed, chrome-pipe neck and rimmed by a translucent plastic frame.

"This is the official death of the CRT today," Jobs said.

But that's not all. The new iMacs have G4 chips, Nvidia GeForce 2MX graphics chips, and a SuperDrive in the top end mode. Apple has been working on the design for two years. Jobs said that it is "the best thing that we've ever done." He said the goal of the design is to "let each element be true to itself" and is a technological and aesthetic "tour de force" of "beauty and grace."

The neck is articulated and bends while maintaining the angle of the screen. It connects to the central processing unit.

The new iMac will come in three models: a US$1,299 version (15-inch screen, 700MHz G4 chip, 128MB of RAM, 40GB hard drive, and CD-RW drive) due in March; a $1,499 model (a 15-inch screen, 700MHz G4 chip, 256MB of RAM, 40GB hard drive, and CD-RW/DV D combo drive) that's due next month; and the top of the line $1,799 model (a 15-inch screen, 800MHz G4 processor, 256 MB of RAM, 60 GB hard drive, and SuperDrive), due before the end of the month.

"We're ramping up production now because we expect the demand to be huge," Jobs said.

Apple is now taking orders. However, you'll need to get in line to order one. Genentech, one of the leading biotech companies, has already ordered 1,000 of them.

"You'll be seeing the new iMacs in homes, small businesses, large businesses, and universities," Jobs said.

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