iMac G5 won’t hit the spot, claims Forrester

9 Sep 2004

Apple may have wowed consumers with its newly launched iMac G5 sporting an iPod-esque all-in-one design, but Forrester Research is not convinced, claiming the computer maker has missed an opportunity with the product.

The third-generation iMac runs the high-performance G5 processor and the design integrates the entire computer right into the thin 2-inch flat panel display. The bold industrial design follows a trend set by earlier iterations; the first iMac famously featured a much-copied translucent colour shell. Version two had its screen mounted on an anglepoise stand, connected to a semicircular base station.

Forrester pointed out that this bold approach to design is necessary for computer makers to tap into a growing market for “pleasure PCs” that look good to the new digitally aware consumer. There are drawbacks to this, said Forrester analyst Paul Jackson. “By integrating all of the PC components, ports, media drives and even speakers into the two-inch display unit, Apple has created a design so simple that adding accessories such as external hard disks and broadband modems risks ruining the smooth lines. By borrowing design elements from the iPod, — Jonathan Ives designed both — these machines are designed to sit in a living room and be admired.”

The iMac G5 packs a complete computer system into a mere two inches of depthÅ\the worldÅfs thinnest desktop computer. The new line offers 17- or 20-inch active matrix widescreen LCDs and G5 processors running up to 1.8 GHz starting at just $1,299.
“Just like the iPod redefined portable digital music players, the new iMac G5 redefines what users expect from a consumer desktop,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice-president of worldwide product marketing. “With the entire system, including a gorgeous 17- or 20-inch display, just two inches thin, a lot of people will be wondering ‘Where did the computer go?'”

The new iMac G5 makes the ultimate statement in design simplicity. The entire computer, including the power supply and slot-load optical drive, is built right into the display and rests on a sleek aluminium foot. All the I/O ports line up neatly along the rear right side for easy access, and with optional AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth wireless modules, there’s no more cable clutter. With its elegantly thin profile, compact footprint and whisper-quiet operation (less than 25dB), the new iMac G5 is the perfect fit for any room in the home or office.

The new iMac G5 features the breakthrough performance of the PowerPC G5 processor, as well as numerous system performance improvements designed to help consumers turbo charge their digital lifestyle applications. The 17-inch models come with either a 1.8 GHz PowerPC G5 processor and a SuperDrive for burning professional-quality DVDs, or a 1.6 GHz PowerPC G5 processor and a Combo drive for watching DVD movies and burning CDs. The 20-inch model has a 1.8 GHz PowerPC G5 processor and a SuperDrive. With a completely redesigned system architecture, the new iMac G5 now offers up to a 600 MHz front-side bus, 400 MHz DDR memory expandable to 2GB, AGP 8X graphics and 7200 rpm Serial ATA drives up to 250GB. The new iMac G5 comes standard with high-performance NVIDIA graphics with dedicated video memory for outstanding graphics performance and realistic game play.
The new iMac G5 was designed to be the perfect computer for iLife 04, “Apple’s award-winning suite of digital lifestyle applications”, which comes with every new iMac G5. It also includes iTunes for managing and buying digital music, iPhoto for organising and sharing digital photos, iMovie for digital movie-making, iDVD for creating and burning Hollywood-style DVDs and GarageBand, a revolutionary music application that turns the iMac G5 into a professional-quality musical instrument and recording studio.
The new iMac G5 desktops offer a total of five USB ports (three USB 2.0) and two FireWire 400 ports for easy plug-and-play connections to popular peripherals such as Apple’s market-leading iPod digital music player, digital video camcorders, digital still cameras and printers. Providing the latest in wireless communications, the new iMac G5 offers an optional internal Bluetooth module and includes a built-in antenna and card slot to support an optional AirPort Extreme Card for 54 Mbps 802.11g fast wireless networking. The new iMac G5 also includes built-in 10/100Base-T Ethernet and a 56K V.92 modem for fast internet access.

Mac OS X version 10.3 Panther is pre-installed and delivers breakthrough features including iChat AV, an easy-to-use desktop videoconferencing solution; FileVault, which uses the latest security standards and 128-bit encryption technology to ensure that data in the home directory is kept secure; Expos, a revolutionary new way to instantly view all open windows; Instant On, which wakes the computer from sleep in just one second; and Automatic Networking, which automatically switches the network connections between Ethernet, 802.11 wireless and modem. The new iMac G5 also comes with a collection of productivity, learning and entertainment titles including AppleWorks, Quicken 2004 for Mac, WorldBook Encyclopedia 2004 Edition, Nanosaur 2 and MarbleBlast Gold. Everything you need for your digital lifestyle is included right out of the box.

By Gordon Smith