In a worldwide QuickTime TV broadcast last night, the upgraded consumer iMac was unveiled by a beaming Steve Jobs, direct from Apple’s HQ in Cupertino.

The iMac has - as Macworld predicted - become a family of machines. They range from the low-end, blueberry iMac DV (Digital Video) to the top-end graphite-only iMac DV Special Edition (SE). The new models are sleeker, fanless - always a Steve Jobs dream. The SE is completely translucent. "It looks like a bubble," said Jobs.

"I'm in love with the new iMac - it's the finest product Apple has ever created," said Jobs, "Desktop video and AirPort wireless networking are the next revolutionary features for home and classroom computing."

Standing an inch shorter than previous models, the new-look iMacs also boast slot-loading CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drives. Maximum memory specs have been doubled to 512MB. Access to memory has also been improved, with a dedicated entry-point through a new, button-locked door on the back of the Mac. Improvements have also been made to the speaker system, in a co-design effort with Harman Kardon (HK). HK is set to release a $99 (no UK price yet) optional USB based iSub subwoofer unit, designed to complement the onboard Odyssey sound system with spatial sound.

Of course - it doesn't end there. Both DV models also boast a new product - iMovie (see next story).

The new iMacs feature: PowerPC G3 processors; at least 64MB memory as standard (128MB in the SE); a Rage 128 VR 2D/3D high-end graphics accelerator chip; support for Apple's AirPort wireless networking; dual USB ports; a V.90/56K modem; 10/100BaseT ethernet; a 13.8-inch viewable area on 15-inch screen; and even easier connection to the Internet, using iMac's enhanced Internet Setup Assistant.

Both DV models also feature Dual 400Mbps FireWire ports, and the iMovie software.

The iMac is priced at £799 (inc VAT) and features a speed of 350MHz, contains 512K backside cache, 6GB Ultra ATA hard drive, and slot-load 24x-speed CD-ROM. It is only available in Blueberry, and will be on sale from the fourth week of October.

The iMac DV is priced at £999 (inc VAT) and runs at 400MHz, with a 10GB Ultra ATA hard drive, 4x-speed slot-load DVD-ROM drive with DVD video playback, two 400Mbps FireWire ports, and iMovie software. It is available in blueberry, grape, lime, strawberry and tangerine. It should be on sale in the UK fromn the third week of October.

The iMac DV Special Edition is priced at £1,199 (incl VAT) and has the same configuration as the iMac DV, with 128MB SDRAM and a 13GB Ultra ATA hard drive. It is only available in graphite, and should hit UK shops in the third week of October.