line, unveiled this week at Macworld Tokyo, is a key part of Apple’s digital hub strategy, Mike Shebanek, the company’s product line manager for the iMac, told MacCentral.
That strategy — in which Macs will ideally serve as the “hubs” of a digital lifestyle that involves such peripherals as PDAs, MP3 players, CD players, digital cameras, and digital camcorders — has seen the DVD drive phased out in favor of a CD-RW drive. And it won’t be available as a build-to-order option.
“When we asked our customers what they wanted to see in future iMacs, hands-down a CD-RW drive was the most requested feature,” Shebanek said.
The result is the world’s first computer with a slot-loading CD-RW drive, he said. And Mac users should also see more and more devices with Mac compatibility. Shebanek said that Apple’s World Wide Developer Relations Group is working with several companies to make sure that digital peripherals interact seamlessly with the Mac.
During his Feb. 22 keynote at Macworld Tokyo, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the newest round of iMacs with CD-RW drives and iTunes — Apple’s “music jukebox” software.
With speeds up to 600MHz, the new iMac family adds two color patterns: Blue Dalmatian and Flower Power. The new color patterns are actually molded into the plastic itself. Jobs said Apple had been working 18 months to accomplish this. The new consumer models are also available in the two most popular iMac flavors: Indigo and Graphite.
“We think the new colors are a way to keep the iMac line fresh and fun,” Shebanek said.
However, the focus on a “digital lifestyle” doesn’t mean that Apple is ignoring the “i” for Internet in iMac, he added. The consumer model continues to be the “simplest Internet device out there,” Shebanek said. As such, it fits “perfectly” into the digital lifestyles scenario, he stated.
“We think the new iMacs fit perfectly into the digital music revolution that’s happening right now,” Jobs said.
All iMac models come preinstalled with iMovie 2, Apple’s consumer digital video editing software, and offer two FireWire ports. Every iMac comes standard with Apple’s optical mouse and full-size Apple Pro Keyboard, and is AirPort ready.
“iMac has evolved into an entertainment center, where you can create desktop movies, manage your digital music library and burn custom music CDs,” said Steve Jobs. “iMovie and iTunes are so easy to learn and use, even your parents can use them without getting confused.”