Jobs: iMac has the flavour

Blueberry, grape, tangerine, lime and strawberry ... the latest crop of over-marketed energy drinks? Nope - the 1999 range of Apple Computer's iMac personal computer. The new iMac, announced this morning by Apple interim CEO Steve Jobs in his keynote address at Macworld San Francisco, will also boast a faster processor, a 6Gb hard drive and a slightly trimmed price - but Jobs expects many consumers to care more about the new colours than the 'mumbo jumbo' of technical specs.

Blueberry, grape, tangerine, lime and strawberry … the latest crop of over-marketed energy drinks? Nope - the 1999 range of Apple Computer's iMac personal computer.

The new iMac, announced by Apple interim CEO Steve Jobs in his keynote address at Macworld San Francisco, will also boast a faster processor, a 6Gb hard drive and a slightly trimmed price - but Jobs expects many consumers to care more about the new colours than the "mumbo jumbo" of technical specs.

Many pundits had expected a sharper price cut on the iMac, and/or a "business" version with a larger monitor, but strong sales may have allowed Apple to keep such enhancements in the bag for later in the year.

Jobs told the expo crowd that Apple had sold 800,000 iMacs in four and a half months - "or one every 15 seconds" - and said Apple's own December research showed that 32% of the machines were going to first-time computer owners, and a further 13% to "Wintel converts".

"The number one reason people are buying iMacs is to get on the Internet," said Jobs, citing the "phenomenal response" from Apple's research that 44% of iMac owners got connected to the Internet in less than 15 minutes and 66% got connected on the day they got their machines.

Jobs said a question on Internet search engine use had Yahoo! out in front, with 39% of users - but Apple's built-in Sherlock search facility also featured, tying for fourth with Netscape's search offering.

The new iMac range features a 266MHz PowerPC G3 processor and 6Gb hard drive and is available from today in the US at $1199 retail, in the five new colours.

"We hope that people will want to collect all five," Jobs quipped.

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