Apple Soups Up iMacs, iPods

One week before Apple Expo 2003 begins in Paris, Apple has announced speed boosts to its iMac line and higher capacity iPods. Two new iMacs join two iPods to serve as modest upgrades to Apple's product lines.

The company is expected to make additional announcements this week in preparation for Steve Jobs' Expo keynote address.

The new 17-inch iMac sports a 1.25 GHz G4 processor, up from the 1 GHz CPU that now ships with the 15-inch model. Both iMacs feature 256MB of DDR memory running at 333 MHz and an 80GB hard disk.

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In addition to two FireWire 400 ports, each iMac sports three high-speed USB 2.0 ports - down from five USB 1.1 ports found in the prior models.

Apple has enhanced the graphics capabilities of the 17-inch iMac, available for $1,799 USD, with NVIDIA's GeForce FX 5200 Ultra chipset. The 15-inch iMac is priced at $1,299 USD and features a GeForce4 MX graphics processor.

Apple has also migrated its 15GB and 30GB iPods to 20GB and 40GB, respectively, without upping prices. As with the smaller offerings, the new iPods support FireWire and USB 2.0 for compatibility with Mac and Windows. The 20GB model retails for $399 USD, with the 40GB iPod topping out at $499 USD.

Alongside the announcement of new iPods, Apple said the iTunes Music Store sold its ten millionth song on September 3. The music service is averaging sales of over 500,000 songs per week, according to Apple.

"iPod is the best-selling digital music player and the 'gold standard' to which all portable music players are compared," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a statement. "The iPod and the iTunes Music Store offer music lovers an unbeatable combination that our competitors can't even come close to."

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