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Apple Polishes Up iMac, iPod

Apple Computer Monday turned up the power on two of its more popular consumer products: the iMac and the iPod.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based computer maker improved upon its lamp-shaped iMac by giving a speed bump to its PowerPC G4 version for both 15-inch screen (USD$1,299) and 17-inch screen (USD$1,799) models.

The company says its new desktops now run at 1.0 GHz in the 15-inch and 1.25 GHz in the 17-inch. Both models include 256MB of faster DDR SDRAM running at 333 MHz and an 80GB Ultra ATA/100 hard disk drive. The 17-inch model also includes NVIDIA's GeForce FX 5200 Ultra graphics processor with 64MB of DDR video memory.

Like every iMac, the new models include Mac OS X "Jaguar" and Apple's iLife applications, (iTunes 4 for digital music, iPhoto 2 for digital photos, iMovie 3 for movie editing and iDVD 3 for burning DVDs). Apple is also bundling Quicken 2003 Deluxe, World Book 2003 Edition and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4.

"The iMac, with its high quality 15- or 17-inch widescreen displays and bundled iLife applications, is the ultimate computer for working with digital photos, digital music and digital video," said Apple senior vice president Philip Schiller.

Build-to-order options and accessories include additional memory, AirPort Extreme Card, AirPort Extreme Base Station, Bluetooth, 160GB Ultra ATA hard drive and the AppleCare Protection Plan.

In addition to its Mac line, Apple also beefed up its iPod to now include 20GB and 40GB models. The company now claims you can put "up to 10,000 songs in your pocket," which it claims would take about a month to play if you kept the device running.

The new models are designed similarly to its thinner and lighter models launched earlier this year. The new look iPods are available in three models: a 10GB model (US$299), the new 20GB model (USD$399) and the new 40GB model (USD$499).

The player requires a Mac with FireWire port, Mac OS X version 10.1.5 or later (Mac OS X v10.2 or later recommended) or a Windows PC with FireWire or USB 2.0 port, or Windows-certified FireWire or USB 2.0 card, Windows Me, Windows 2000, or Windows XP Home or Professional.

As proof of its popularity, Apple said its iTunes Music Store has sold over ten million songs since its launch just over four months ago. Currently only available for Mac-based systems, Apple is planning on expanding the iTunes Music Store to Windows users by the end of this year.