Why so late on the coverage, you ask? We wanted to report not only on the announcement, which you certainly would have heard somewhere else first, but the reaction, which is more our meat and potatoes. So, without further ado, let's talk Apple Expo Paris! Well, okay, there's really only one thing to talk about: the new iMac. It's surprisingly similar to what most people were predicting. It's basically one of the new cinema displays, but white and with a computer inside. There's a slot-loading optical drive on the right side of the unit, near the top. The mount is nearly identical to that of the new Cinema displays. The bezel below the screen is wider than the Cinema display. The ports are all on the back, like the Cinema display. It's about two inches thick. So, none of this is terribly exciting, eh? Agreed. It's basically a table that stays put on a stand. There is some thoughtful flair: the AC adapter is integrated (so you have a thin cord to connect for power), the back panel removes easily to allow for upgrading, and it's certainly pleasing to the eye all around. It doesn't look terribly sturdy to me; in fact, it looks like it would be quite easy to knock the thing over. That's not necessarily the case, though, and I'm sure that's an issue the design team addressed. Speaking of the design team, it's the same people who were responsible for the iPod. I find that interesting. I wonder if Apple is on a path toward a tablet PC and is simply taking its time getting there. This seems like a great way to inch in that direction. The specifications are nothing to blow you away, really. They're not bad, but I find them somewhat disappointing. You can get a 17" or 20" screen with a 1.6 or 1.8GHz G5 processor. Memory sits at a paltry 256 MB across the board (upgradable to 2 GB). No Gigabit Ethernet. No FireWire 800. Bluetooth and AirPort are BTO options. You get a combo drive with the 1.6GHz and a Superdrive with the 1.8GHz. You get an 80 GB SATA hard drive with the two lower models, and a 160 GB drive with the high-end. Prices are US$1,299 (17", 1.6GHz), $1,499 (17", 1.8GHz), and $1,899 (20", 1.8GHz). To put that high-end model in perspective, for about another $200 you could get a PowerMac (with its myriad benefits over the iMac G5) with a 20" display--check out this comparison (thanks to MacBytes for that link). So, overall, what do I think? I like it... but I'm not blown away, as I'd hoped to be. It's a slick design, but nothing revolutionary. I don't see enormous benefit over the previous design, other than a smaller footprint. I remember that Jobs defended the last iMac design saying that a desktop computer is made up of intrinsically horizontal and intrinsically vertical parts. Apple considered a design like this new iMac originally, and I remember that Jobs blamed optical drives for much of the challenge in going vertical; but I haven't heard any claims of advancements in optical drive technology that would make this easier now. Apple seems pretty proud of it, though. Schiller made a comment during the keynote that the new iMac's rear-end is prettier than most computers' faces. I'm still hoping that Apple will see the value in a low-end, headless system. Consumers are smart enough to connect a monitor, I think. It's strange to me that the iMac--the flagship in Apple's consumer line--is so devoted to design and innovation rather than affordability. Well, see for yourself at Apple.com/iMac.