Confirming that second-guessing one of the world's most secretive companies is a job for struggling hacks and well-paid analysts, Apple today launched an unexpected twist in its migration to Intel processors - the immediate release of an Intel Duo-inside iMac.

The iMac it emulates is the self-same iMac G5 the company released late last year - and it's up to twice as fast, the company informed, simply because of the move to Intel Duo processors, which deliver better performance per watt than the G5 or G4 processors they replace. The new breed consumer computing seed is available now.

Looks the same, feels the same, its faster

The new iMac looks the same - and has all of the features - of the iMac G5. It also features the Mac OS 10.4.4, a new release which runs natively on both PowerPC and Intel processors. All the included applications are happy on both processors, too.

The iMac design features dual-core processors, a built-in iSight video and Front Row with the Apple Remote. The entry-level model costs £929 (including VAT). Every new Mac also ships with iLife 06, which features significantly upgraded versions of Photo, iMovie HD, iDVD, GarageBand and also introduces iWeb, a new application for publishing complex websites to .Mac. The iMac also includes Photo Booth.

"The iMac has already been praised as 'the gold standard of desktop PCs', so we hope customers really love the new iMac, which is up to twice as fast," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "The new iMac delivers performance that will knock our customers' socks off."

A feature creature

A SuperDrive ships as standard, as does 512MB of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM memory (expandable to 2GB), hard drive storage capacity up to 500GB, and ATI Radeon X1600 PCI Express-based graphics with 128MB of GDDR3 memory.

It also includes built-in 10/100/1000 BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet for high-speed networking, built-in AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR (Enhanced Data Rate), a total of five USB ports (three USB 2.0) and two FireWire 400 ports. It also features a mini-DVI video output to connect up to a 23-inch Apple Cinema HD Display.

Model breakdown

The new 17-inch 1.83GHz iMac costs £929. It boasts:

A 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo processor;
512MB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM;
An 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
PCI Express-based ATI Radeon X1600 with 128MB GDDR3 memory;
160GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
Built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
The infrared Apple Remote, Mighty Mouse and Apple Keyboard.

The new 20-inch 2.0GHz iMac costs £1,229:

2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo processor;
512MB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM;
An 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
PCI Express-based ATI Radeon X1600 with 128MB GDDR3 memory;
250GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7,200 rpm;
Built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
The infrared Apple Remote, Mighty Mouse and Apple Keyboard.

Build-to-order options and accessories include up to 2GB DDR2 SDRAM, 250GB and 500GB Serial ATA hard drives or up to 256MB of GDDR3 video memory on the 20-inch iMac.