Apple has confounded the rumor sites once again. While nearly everyone was focusing on the “Showtime” press invitation for a September 12th press meeting, Apple got some other updates out of the way. The iMac line has been updated to feature Intel’s new Core 2 Duo processors, and has been expanded to include a 24-inch version. Starting at $999, there’s a 17-inch model, with a 1.83GHz processor and 512MB of RAM, which sacrifices little but the graphics, which are provided by an Intel GMA 950 integrated chip. All the other models, except for the 24-inch version, feature ATI Radeon X1600 chips and 1GB of RAM. The 24-inch model, with a 2.16GHz processor, lists for $1,999 and also includes an NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT graphics chip and FireWire 800. There are a number of ways to customize the package, including substituting a 2.33GHz processor, and a NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT graphics chip. The price reductions, expanded performance, and the larger flagship model are likely to make the iMac even more attractive to business users who find the Mac Pro a little bit of overkill. Of course some will still claim that Macs are more expensive than comparably-equipped PCs. And one more thing: Without any fanfare, the Mac mini went Core Duo across the board, with the $599 version getting a 1.66GHz processor, instead of the 1.5GHz Core Solo featured previously. The $799 model is bumped from 1.66GHz to 1.83GHz. So now, with the first round of Intel hardware upgrades out of the way, attention returns towards next week’s announcements, which seem clearly more media related. Then again, there are those expected updates to Apple’s note-books, so stay tuned.
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