Updated from 12:22 p.m. EDTApple Computer's ( AAPL) Macintosh line has been running only on Intel ( INTC) processors for eight months, but the company has already started to upgrade them. Apple announced on Wednesday that it is replacing the Core Duo chips within its iMac line of consumer desktops with Intel's
The new low-end iMac includes the 1.83GHz processor, a 17-inch screen, a 160GB hard drive and 512MB of memory. The model appears to replace the education iMac that Apple
briefly offered to students and teachers in July. Although the company is selling the model for $999 to retail customers, students and teachers can get it for $899, the same price for which it sold the previous version. Apple discontinued that offer after just a week, barring sales of the education version to individuals, instead restricting them to institutions. Apple slashed the price on its two mid-line models by $100 and $200, respectively. The 17-inch version with a 2GHz processor now sells for $1,199; the comparable version with the older chips sold for $1,299. The 20-inch model with a 2.16GHz chip sells for $1,499. Its predecessor cost $1,699. The price cuts and speed boosts seem to be in line with what analysts expected when Apple announced last year that it would be switching over to Intel chips. Previously, the company relied on PowerPC processors made by IBM ( IBM) and Freescale ( FSL). One of the reasons Apple cited for the architecture change was the more robust road map for Intel's processors as compared with that of the PowerPC line. Analysts had predicted that the switch to Intel would allow Apple to make its computers more price- and performance-competitive with PC rivals.
announced in January that it was updating the iMac line to include Intel chips, making it the first Macintosh model to switch underlying architecture from the PowerPC processors. The company has now moved over its entire Macintosh line to Intel processors. The move to Intel seems to boosting the company's computer sales. On a unit basis, Apple's computer sales were up 12% in its most recent quarter from the same period a year earlier, even though it had only limited quantities of some of its new Intel-based models during the period and had yet to update its line of professional desktop computers. In recent trading, Apple's stock was up 17 cents, or 0.2%, to $71.65.