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Apple Updates Its iMac

Apple spruces up its venerable desktop PC with faster processors, faster wireless networking and faster storage technology.

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Apple iOS 7: Visual Tour
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Apple on Tuesday introduced new versions of its iMac computer, featuring better processors, graphics, Wi-Fi networking and storage options.

Although the company now earns the bulk of its revenue from its iPhone and iPad products, it appears still to be committed to its heritage as a desktop computer company. Despite declining demand for desktop computers, Apple also plans to launch a redesigned Mac Pro before the end of the year, possibly as soon as next month when the company ships the next iteration of its OS X operating system, known as Mavericks.

Apple is offering its iMac in two screen sizes: 21.5 inches and 27 inches. The 21.5-inch model is available starting at $1,299 with a 2.7-GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 that can be pushed to 3.2 GHz using Apple's Turbo Boost overclocking technology. It features 8 GB of memory, a 1-TB hard drive and Intel Iris Pro graphics. For $1,499, you get a 2.9-GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 (3.6 Ghz via Turbo Boost), 1TB hard drive and an Nvidia GeForce GT 750M graphics card with 1 GB of video memory.

[ The new iPhone's fingerprint reader is far from perfect. Read Apple iPhone 5s Fooled By Fake Finger. ]

The 27-inch model starts at $1,799 with a 3.2-GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor (3.6 GHz via Turbo Boost), 8 GB of memory, a 1-TB hard drive and an Nvidia GeForce GT 755M graphics card with 1 GB of video memory. The $1,999 model comes with a 3.4-GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor (3.8 GHz using Turbo Boost), 8 GB of memory, a 1-TB hard drive and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 775M graphics card with 2 GB of video memory.

All iMac configurations come with two Thunderbolt and four USB 3.0 ports for connecting external peripherals.

A fully loaded iMac, with a 3.5-GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 processor (3.9 GHz with Turbo Boost), 32 GB of memory, 1 TB of flash storage (an option that adds $1,000) and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 780M graphics card with 4 GB of video memory can be had for $3,949.

Although flash storage delivers the best performance, it's also pricey. A more affordable option is Apple's Fusion Drive, hybrid hardware that combines solid-state storage and a traditional hard drive for greater responsiveness than just a hard drive. The new iMacs support PCIe-based flash storage, which offers up to 50% better performance with both the Fusion Drive and flash storage configurations compared to previous iMac models.

Apple's iMac now supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi, which is supposed to provide wireless networking at speeds up to 1.3 Gbps, about three times the speed of the 802.11n standard. The company introduced 802.11ac versions of its AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule base stations at its developer conference in June.

The iMac ships with OS X Mountain Lion (10.8). OS X Mavericks is due in about a month.

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