New G5 iMacs in Thailand: Elegance, Simplicity, Performance, Innovation.

By Graham K. Rogers

On 28 September 2004 at the EGV Cimema complex in Siam Discovery Centre, Apple introduced the flat-screen G5 iMac computers to Thailand.

We were shown the new Cinema Displays at the Conrad Hotel, Bangkok, in August and these iMacs look similar with the white plastic finish of the eMac and iBoook. The new iMac has a 2" depth (2" thin according to Apple advertising). In that small space are crammed all of the workings of a modern computer. It looks desirable, with no unsightly bulges; and with its G5 chip is one of the most effective home computers on the market.

Apple Country Manager for Thailand, Phakpoom Setharath, opened proceedings and then handed the floor to Tony Li -- Apple's Director of Product Marketing, Asia-Pacific -- to make the detailed presentation.

Thumbnails and images of the presentation are available via this link.

Three models are available: 1.6 GHz 17" combo, 1.8GHz 17" Superdrive, and 1.8GHz 20" Superdrive computers. These were priced at 60,600 baht, 67,600 baht and 86,500 baht respectively. These figures are slightly higher than release prices in Hong Kong last week and about 10% higher than US prices. When Iasked, I was told that calculations were based on a baht/$ rate of 42.

Tony Li, clearly linked the design philosophy of the iMac with that of the iPod. To emphasise this, a fourth generation iPod was alongside one of the iMacs. The displays give vivid images. I was able to see them clearly from several rows back while the screen presentation was taking place and also to make a comparison to Tony Li's PowerBook alongside.

The iMac takes Apple's minimalist ideas one stage further: "The display is the computer" "It has the looks and the power and the brain," he said, adding that it was the first consumer product with the G5 processor. Like all of the consumer computers, the iMac contains a full range of pre-installed applications, making it the "Ultimate All-in-one Machine."

insideThe arm that supports the computer is of stainless steel, plus anodised aluminium, and is attached at the centre of gravity. It was part of the design process, therefore, that the internal components had to be evenly distributed. Like the earlier Cube, it is intended that components should be easily accessible: removal of three screws allows the back to be detached, revealing the internals.

The arm is removable and the iMac can be wall-mounted. The standard, white Apple keyboard can be neatly stowed below the screen area when not in use. On the underside of the screen are twin speakers, so placed that sound bounces off the desk.

Modern computers run hot: you can fry an egg on some Pentium computers (I have the pictures to prove it), and the G5 chips run at such temperatures that the 2.5GHz standalone computer has water-cooling, while other models in that rangge have several fans. The iMac has three blowers, plus heat monitoring to adjust the fan speed when necessary. Processor speed of the 1.8GHz machine was reported to be some 70% faster than the "anglepoise" iMacs.

The 17" computers come standard with 80GB hardisks, with a 160GB disk for the top of the range 20": the maximum size that can be fitted to the range is 250GB. All machines come with a paltry 256MB RAM, but this can be increased to a maximum of 2GB. A GeForce FX5200 Ultra graphics card makes these more than twice as fast (graphics-wise) as the previous iMac range.

The optical drive is built in to the side of the display, with the ports (and power button) at the rear: Firewire 400 (2), USB 1.1 (2), USB 2.0 (3), 10/100 BASE-T Ethernet and modem. A video port allows VGA, Composite, and S-video outputs. There are sound ports: in and out, as well as a built-in microphone. All of the machines have internal support for Airport (wireless) and Bluetooth.

Software includes OSX (Panther), iLife (iMovie, iPhoto, iTunes and GarageBand), the Safari browser, Mail, Appleworks and a host of utilities, and a couple of new games. A list of applications can be found on the Apple website. Like my own Macs, these G5s are ready to work out of the box. There are also now some 12,000 other programs written for OSX and scores more -- commercial, shareware, freeware -- appear each week.

Along with the installed software is an application called "Setup Assistant." By linking two Macs via Firewire, the software can automatically transfer all settings, files and applications from an old computer to the new.

This new range of G5 iMacs is expected to be available in Thailand in early October. I look forward to getting my hands on one.

Made on Mac

For further information, e-mail to Graham K. Rogers.

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