Apple just released a new iMac line up yesterday. They are based on the new Intel Core 2 Duo chip. This should result in a modest real world speed bump. The two big things here are that (1) the low-end 17" model is priced under $1000 ($999) and a new 24" high-end model has been added. I like the low-end model as a starter computer.
If I were buying a new iMac, it would most likely be as a compact FileMaker server running on the $999 model. I would upgrade the RAM to 1 gig from 512 to get better performance ($75) but that's it.
At the high end, the 24" is appealing for different reasons. I have viewed quite a few downloaded TV shows enjoyably on my 20" Cinema Display. All the new iMacs have a 16:10 wide aspect ratio, so movie/TV-watching is optimized. That 24" would be a nice improvement with at least 30% more room than I'm currently getting with my 20" screen. I'm hoping Apple will be announcing more interesting movie download options next week that would put this 24" model to good use.
I could buy the stock 24" model as is. It comes with 1 gig of RAM, 250 gb hard drive, superdrive, wi-fi and more. I'm doing perfectly well with a G5 dual 2ghz tower with 17" and 20" cinema displays side by side, but 24" all in one piece sounds appealing. The reasons this probably won't happen is (1) it's a hassle to resell my old equipment -- but if someone wanted to buy my G5 tower... and (2) it might be good to keep a PowerPC around for special occasions and (3) the improvement over my current set up is probably pretty minimal. I would switch if I could do so without major cost. After all, I paid $2000 for the G5 tower alone. Getting a 24" screen as a bonus is nice.
I'm thinking that this 24" iMac will appeal to high-end buyers looking for something incredibly simple to deal with. One thing about 24" is that it will be easy to share photos and whatnot with family members or housemates or co-workers.
Actually, I don't find 24" to be too much space for any active computer user. We need more space for all the applications we have open like: email, browser, calendar, address book, word processor or outliner, news reader, database, spreadsheet... The list goes on.
The non-techy self-employed person with enough money to justify the not-exhorbitant $2000 pricetag would do well with this new model. There will even be a few affluent college students in a dorm rooms who get sent off to college with one of these.
Also, the Mac mini line was speed bumped with the $599 model increasing from Core Solo 1.5 ghz processor to a Core Duo 1.66 ghz processor and the $799 model going from Core Duo 1.66 to 1.83 ghz. I fantasized yesterday about selling my 20" display and G5 tower, buying the 24" iMac and also a low-end Mac mini as a FileMaker server and pairing it with my 17" display. The advantage of the mini for a server is that the mini is so tiny it can be set on a shelf with the display beside it. Out of the way.
Just thinking in my spare time... Apple is good at making me do that. Stay tuned for their announcements on Sep 12, 10am in SF. Wish I could get an invite to that Stevenote!