Apple disappointed many Mac fans when it dispelled rumours of an Expo launch for flat-panel LCD iMacs – much talked about by armchair analysts on the Web in recent months. There is some thought that Apple's once-groundbreaking consumer desktop model is getting a little long-in-the-tooth, and a bold new design now seems likely for later in the year – possibly in time for the crucial Christmas season.

But the company did use Macworld Expo New York 2001 to introduce less-radical new iMac models, running at PowerPC G3 speeds up to 700MHz.

Apple scrapped the Blue Dalmatian and Flower Power patterns that it introduced for iMacs at February's Macworld Expo in Tokyo. Instead, the "new" iMac colours will be familiar to anyone who remembers the pre-Tokyo line-up of iMacs – with Indigo, Snow and Graphite available as options.

The UK range of iMacs is larger than that announced by Apple CEO Steve Jobs during his keynote speech that opened the Expo. Where all the US iMacs now come with slot-loading CD-RW drives, Apple UK – in order to preserve a very low-cost option - has kept the entry-level model with a CD-ROM, just 64MB of RAM, and less video RAM. A CD-RW option (with 128MB of RAM and 16MB of VRAM), like the US entry-level iMac, is also available in the UK.

Each of the four iMac models still feature the all-in-one design with built-in 15-inch display with 1,024-x-768 resolution. Standard for all iMacs are: dual FireWire and USB ports; built-in 10/100BaseT Ethernet; built-in 56K modem; all-digital Harman-Kardon sound system; support for optional AirPort wireless networking; and a software bundle offering iTunes, iMovie 2, AppleWorks, QuickTime, Palm Desktop, FAXstf, and the usual Internet and email applications.

On top of the iMac's standard collection of software, iMac CD-RW models ship with the new iMac Software Collection. This includes Tomb Raider - Last Revelation, Sim City 3000, Escape from Monkey Island, StarWars Pit Droids, Route 66 Europe, Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia of Science v2 and Talk Now by EuroTalk. iTunes also ships with 670MB of samples MP3 tracks, spanning a wide range of music genres and spoken word collections.

All models come with both Mac OS 9.1 and Mac OS X installed.

Pricing and availability
The new iMacs are available in three standard configurations.

The low-cost entry-level iMac costs £799 (including VAT), and is available in Indigo colour only. It features a 500MHz G3 processor, with 256K on-chip backside level 2 cache; 64MB of RAM; 20GB Ultra ATA hard disk; slot-loading CD-ROM drive; and an ATI Rage 128 Pro with 8MB of VRAM. Its 512K of level-2 cache
Runs at 200MHz.

The next iMac (£999, inc. VAT) also features a 500MHz G3, and 20GB hard drive. But it has 128MB of RAM, and boasts a 16MB Rage 128 Ultra. It has half the amount of level-2 cache, but its 256K runs at full-processor speed of 500MHz. It's available in Indigo and Snow case colours.

For £1,199, you get a mid-range iMac in either Snow and Graphite that has a 600MHz G3 processor with 256K on-chip backside level 2 cache running at 600MHz. This model also 256MB of RAM; 40GB hard disk; slot-loading CD-RW drive; and ATI Rage 128 Ultra with 16MB of VRAM.

The iMac Special Edition retails for £1,299 (inc. VAT), and is available in Snow and Graphite colours. Its 700MHz G3 processor has 256K on-chip backside level-2 cache running at 700MHz. This top-of-the-range model features: 256MB of RAM; 60GB hard disk; slot-loading CD-RW drive; and ATI Rage128 Ultra with 16MB of VRAM.

The new 500MHz and 600MHz iMac models are available immediately, with the 700MHz model expected in August.