02:12 PM

Apple Shoves Core 2 Duo Into iMacs, Cuts Prices

Prices for the 17- and 20-inch configurations have been cut by as much as $300.

Apple Computer on Wednesday equipped its iMac line of desktop systems with Intel's new Core 2 Duo processor. It also added a larger-screen model at the top and reduced prices for the first time since the iMac introduction in January.

An iMac with a 24-inch widescreen-format LCD has supplanted the former front-of-the-line 20-inch model, and joins that machine and two 17-inch systems to round out the family at four. Prices for the 17- and 20-inch configurations have been cut by as much as $300.

The new 24-inch iMac lists at $1,999 when equipped with a 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 1GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive, and 128MB NVidia GeForce 7300 GT graphics card. The system also comes with a SuperDrive, Apple's name for its combo DVD+R/CD-RW optical drive.

"The new 24-inch widescreen iMac is the fastest, biggest, and brightest iMac we've ever made," said Philip Schiller, Apple's head of product marketing, in a statement.

Other iMacs include the 17-inch 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo ($999), 17-inch 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo ($1,199), and 20-inch 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo ($1,499).

Those prices are substantially lower than before. The 17-inch 1.83MHz model, for instance, sold as recently as Tuesday for $1,299, $300 more than Wednesday; the 20-inch iMac price, meanwhile, was cut by $200 (and the amount of RAM increased from 512MB to 1GB).

The new iMac systems are available immediately from Apple's online store, its chain of retail outlets, and the company's authorized resellers.

Also on Wednesday, Apple upped the processor speeds on its entry-level Mac mini systems. The bottom-end $599 Mac mini now sports a 1.66GHz Core Duo processor (up from a 1.5GHz Core Solo CPU), while the $799 configuration is powered by a 1.83GHz Core Duo rather than the earlier 1.66GHz Duo.

Apple stock was slightly down by mid-day Wednesday, off 42 cents to $71.07.

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