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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Apple Rolls Out New Family of iMacs




CUPERTINO, California -- Apple Computer Inc. has introduced a new line of its popular iMac computers, with prices starting at $999, and higher-end models that include DVD players and software for making home movies.


Apple interim chief executive Steve Jobs, who unveiled the new machines Tuesday at a presentation near the company's headquarters in Cupertino, California, said the new basic model should help Apple make further inroads with first-time computer buyers seeking a cheap way to get connected to the Internet.


He predicted the video features incorporated into the higher-priced models would prove to be the next "killer" application, driving large volumes of computer sales.


"We think this is going to be huge," Jobs said as he demonstrated how the new iMac DV could paste together home video clips, and add scrolling titles and background music for a professional-looking film. "We think this is going to be as big as desktop publishing was."


As he showed off the iMac's new features, Jobs made only a passing reference to recent supply concerns, including a shortage of the Motorola chips for Apple's PowerMac G4 computers, which is expected to curtail fourth-quarter earnings. Jobs also played down the effect of last month's earthquake in Taiwan on the company. Later, an Apple spokesman said no significant impact on production was expected.


Several computer companies, including Hewlett-Packard Co., have warned of a production disruption because of the quake, which hit the operations of several component plants.


Industry analysts generally cheered the new Apple machines as one of the company's strongest product launches yet. But Daniel Kunstler of J.P. Morgan said he would not raise earnings estimates for the company without more assurance that it would be able to meet demand.


"I think of Apple as a company that is somewhat supply constrained," Kunstler said. "I hesitate to lift my numbers on the company, but I think that whatever they can make they will sell. There's definitely a question if they can get them out in time."


Aside from the added video features and improved speed, memory and audio performance of the latest iMac, the new machines look essentially like the original iMac, which were introduced to 13 months ago, drawing overwhelming demand.


The new machine Jobs unveiled Tuesday is about 2 centimeters shorter, shaped a bit more like a bubble, with the fruit-colored casings refined to be even more translucent than the originals.


The company also unveiled a sixth color, graphite, for those with more subdued tastes. The graphite color will be offered exclusively on the new iMac DV Special Edition, which contains extra storage and memory.


"I think it could be pretty huge," Lou Mazzucchelli, an analyst with Gerard Klauer Mattison & Co said, referring to the iMac DV. "There are millions and millions of camcorders out there and now they can connect to a home computer with one wire. I think there's a latent demand out there for this."


Apple helped create the desktop publishing industry with some of its earliest graphics-equipped computers, and says the new iMacs were designed to make video production simple enough for an amateur.


At the same time Mazzucchelli predicted the features would be slick enough for many professionals like wedding video producers.


The Special Edition iMac DV is priced at $1,499, while the regular iMac DV will sell for $1,299. The iMac without video features costs $999.