Apple confirms new iMacs are coming in September

Apple on Thursday confirmed that a new iMac is on the way, but stopped short of providing any details about the new system. The company's online store has stopped accepting orders for the current flat panel models, but Apple doesn't plan to have a replacement ready until September -- the victim of "less than perfect" planning, by its own admission.

"Apple has stopped taking orders for the current iMac as we begin the transition from the current iMac line to an all-new iMac line which will be announced and available in September," read a statement provided to MacCentral that has also been posted to the US Apple Store Web site. "We planned to have our next generation iMac ready by the time the inventory of current iMacs runs out in the next few weeks, but our planning was obviously less than perfect. We apologize for any inconvenience to our customers."

Apple's iMac line is positioned as the company's mid-range desktop computer system, in between its eMac and Power Mac G5 models. Based around PowerPC G4 processors running at speeds from 1 to 1.25GHz, the line includes flat panel displays of sizes ranging from 15 to 20 inches, and includes FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 interfaces, 80GB hard drive, DVD-ROM/CD-RW "Combo" drives or 4x DVD-R "SuperDrives," and Nvidia-powered 3D graphics.

Apple has incrementally improved the iMac line with CPU speed increases and other enhancements since the 15-inch model's introduction at Macworld Conference & Expo two and half years ago, but the company readily admits in recent SEC filings that demand for the iMac has declined partly because of its aging form factor.

The lack of an iMac-related announcement has been cited by some industry experts and analysts as the reason for a stock price dip earlier this week following Apple CEO Steve Jobs' keynote address to attendees of Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). At the event, Jobs introduced new flat panel monitors aimed at Mac-using professionals and offered the first public details of Apple's forthcoming Mac OS X v10.4 "Tiger" operating system, which isn't due to be released until the first half of 2005.

Apple's stock was off 1.90 to 30.40, down 5.88 percent in after hours trading.

Updated 7/1/04 7:15PM: Details added about current iMac models, iMac history and Apple stock.

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