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Tuesday, June 22, 2004, 01:00 pm PT (04:00 pm ET)

Signs point to major overhaul of the Apple iMac

Apple Computer, Inc. is preparing for the launch of a completely redesigned iMac personal computer, according to numerous reports and an analysis of recent inner-workings of the company.

Earlier this month, Apple initiated an inventory flush of its current iMac offerings, explaining to resellers that they would receive no further shipments of the 17 and 20-inch iMac G4. Resellers were also told this week to expect a discontinuation of the 15-inch iMac G4 in the immediate future.

Consumer demand for Apple's eMac and iMac computers is currently exceeding available inventory, and should remain that way for approximately 3 more weeks.

During meetings with regional representatives last week, resellers were reportedly informed of supply constraints that will affect both the iMac and eMac product lines until approximately mid-July.

While supplies of the eMac are expected to be low due to the fulfillment of education orders, sources say that the almost nonexistent inventory of iMacs is due to a product refresh due imminently.

The new iMac will reportedly sport single Power PC G5 processors at speeds below 2GHz and feature a completely redesigned enclosure. Details are sketchy, but one source, who has provided accurate information on previous projects, claims that the new iMac will sport a vertical "pizza box" physique with the main logic board mounted vertically behind the computer's LCD screen.

Multiple reports indicate that Apple plans to introduce the new iMac G5 as early as Monday's World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC), where CEO Steve Jobs may choose to showcase the computer.

Sources have also said to expect iPod related announcements from Apple in the near future, citing the WWDC event as a potential time and place.

Apple last refreshed the iMac product-line in September of 2003, adding a 20-inch configuration two months later.