As expected, Apple has announced the new iMac range. They are now cased in aluminium (also as expected), offset with a black screen surround and back. I have to say they look rather nice! But I'm not so sure about the keyboard which is a very thin laptop style with low flat keys (which was leaked some days ago so has also been expected). I've yet to check out the new glossy screen - similar products I've seen have looked all right at a casual glance, but it's a very personal preference that won't suit everyone. The 17" model has been dropped (widely predicted) to concentrate on the 20" and 24" models. One thing that didn't transpire was a model with a larger screen than the 24" but you can't have everything.
I was a little surprised to see the new CPUs - the top 24" model now has a 2.8GHz Core 2 Extreme! The other three models keep the Core 2 Duo now at 2.0GHz and 2.4GHz. All models now have dedicated ATI Radeon graphics, and all but the base model now have as standard the Radeon HD 2600 Pro with 256MB memory (512MB would have been nice though...) The top 24" now comes standard with 2GB RAM, with 1GB for the other three models. And the top 24" now has a 500GB hard drive standard, with options for up to 1TB! The full range now comes with an 8x dual layer Superdrive.
As a comparison, the previous model top end 24" upgraded to the faster processor, 2GB RAM, 500GB hard drive, and 256MB graphics memory, is broadly the same specs as the now standard top end 24", except the CPU has been significantly boosted with the new model, going from the Core 2 Duo to the much faster Core 2 Extreme. And all that comes with a price drop of about $800 Australian for the significantly more powerful machine!
I suspect some of the price drop is due to the lower manufacturing costs of LCD screens these days, but the new top end 24" is priced around 20% lower than its predecessor, which makes it a very attractive option!
It shouldn't be too long before the new models start getting tested against the old, and I'd guess that they will compare very favourably.