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Vinod

Steve, succinct and well rounded view on the development of the imac leading to the new avtaar.
I have not seen the real thing yet but it seems the proportions of 17" and 20" are slightly different. Width of white plastic below the display appears to be same for both models. In real life I think it will make a difference in visual appeal. From the front 17" will look more plastic than the display. The white potion is perfect for post-it notes!
I am a first timer to Mac. What converts me to Mac from years of struggle with PC is the package of the new Imac. Its hardware configuration is above par for below average user like me. It is more than enough for good few years. It has emphasis on audiovisuals- photo, DVD and music. Design is minimalist, daringingly new, and functional. All this is packaged in a just above average but truly affordable price range (see imacG4- expensive enough to dissuade from buying). The PC converts are making a sacrifice of ubiquity which makes life easy in general sense, to join the ranks of Mac. It does not make sense to pay extra to forego that advantage. Hence the importance of pricing.
It is not a cheap but computers do take a significant time in 24 hour life, hence it is worth paying that little bit extra for improvement in quality of life. I hope this imac converts few more people into Macs.
In the hindsight is it not quite obvious that the new imac will be designed to complement ipod? With commercial success like ipod(55% of market share), I would use the same visual and functional appeal as a platform to present next generation desktop(Current mac 5% of market share). Anything more radical is either a stroke genius or more likely to be foolish move. Probably design buffs at apple said " they are not ready for this yet!"
As a homage to imac G4, it is slender and beutiful. Suspended screen is mechanical marvel. I think that arm will be back in next generation.

RP

I agree with Vinod that we are likely to see the arm back in future generations. The beauty of the latest imac is clearly designed with the care and attention that is a personal drawing point. The symmetry of the design looks off at first but as Vinod pointed out, it is also an opportunity to add something of yourself to the design. We often adorn our walls with photos of loved ones, or designs that please and inspire us, and you can see the bottom part of the new imac as a space to personalize the imac as an object without unbalancing the overall design.

On my desk at work I have a grey/black dell computer, the LCD monitor (which barely swivels up and down and even then the moans of protest!) sitting like a stick insect above the squat, square case, which takes up far too much room on my desk and is inevitably covered with rounds from coffee and tea cups, leftover bits of snacks, hair clips and other bits of miscellaneous paper. ow I long for a design that will not encroach on the limited space that I have! A wireless white keyboard that will not only not get trapped in my phone line (that cord gets wrapped around everything!) but will show up the dirt and encourage me to clean it instead of hiding its own filth until letters can no longer be seen. I dream of a mouse that I can (wirelessly) move around my desk, onto my knees or onto the floor if I need it to be. Of course to ask for all this and beauty too... That would be a dream come true. I will not quibble that the screen looks a little bottom heavy. It is the least of my worries!!!

(Did you know that when hanging pictures in a gallery or cutting matt for them in a frame the bottom quarter is always cut larger as otherwise the proportion will look out? It grounds the picture and stops it from looking like it is floating in space.)

Finally - I must agree with Vinod's last point as well. People are simply not ready for that kind of change. Radical designs do not attract the masses (ahem, note the public outcry when the cloud was cancelled?). best to take over the world first, then set about changing it, piece by carefully designed piece.

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