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Tuesday, 15 January, 2002, 10:17 GMT
Flat-screen iMac wows design guru
Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveils the iMac, Apple
Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveils the new iMac
Alfred Hermida

Apple's new iMac has won the endorsement of the influential computer design guru Don Norman.

"I searched it thoroughly and studied it carefully looking for problems or flaws," he said. "I couldn't find anything. It is brilliant design," he told the BBC World Service programme Go Digital.

The new iMac, unveiled last week after two years in development, combines innovative design with powerful multimedia features.

The new model has been likened to an Anglepoise lamp, with the flat panel attached to the dome-shaped base via a pivoting arm.

'It's very impressive'

"When I first saw the machine, I thought it was going to be hard to connect to it, hard to expand," said Dr Norman.

Dr Don Norman
Don Norman: Impressed
"When you first look at the machine, it doesn't even look like it has a CD drive. But if you look in detail, it's very impressive, it's all there."

Apple is hoping the new iMac will appeal broadly to consumers and prompt existing iMac owners to buy a new one.

Public reaction has been mixed, with some viewing the new iMac as rather odd.

The new iMac
15" flat screen
700 or 800MHz G4 processor
40GB or 60GB hard drive
Optional CD/DVD writer
2 Firewire and 3 USB ports
But Dr Norman argues this is not something that should worry Apple.

"Some people may dislike it. But that's a sign of good design," he said. "If you don't provoke strong opinions, you haven't done your job."

Three all-white models will be available, at $1,299, $1,499 and $1,799. Apple expects to ship the top-of-the-line iMac by the end of the month.

The midrange model is expected to be available in February and the entry-level iMac in March.

Apple has 5% of the PC market in the US and 3% worldwide. But historically its designs have influenced developments in the PC market.

Invisible computers

Dr Norman sees the new iMac as an example of technology designed to be simple and easy to use.

Apple iMac, Apple
Some may dislike the design
He is annoyed by the unnecessary complexity of many of today's products.

His ultimate aim is to have technology like computers disappear from sight and be replaced by a family of information appliances communicating wirelessly with each other.

"What you really want in the home is a modular system scattered throughout the house, all powered by a central computer, just like you have a furnace or a hot water heater in a closet," he explains.

"Apple is the best company in the world to make this because Apple understands consumers, understands design and understands computers.

Dr Norman is professor of computer science at Northwestern University in the US and is a former vice president of the Advanced Technology Group at Apple Computer.

He is the author or co-author of 13 books, with translations into twelve languages, including The Design of Everyday Things and The Invisible Computer.

See also:

27 Nov 01 | Business
Apple risks fresh Microsoft feud
21 Jul 00 | Business
The cult of the Mac
24 Oct 01 | New Media
Apple unveils digital music device
17 Oct 01 | Business
Apple beats tech gloom
18 Jul 01 | Business
Apple warns of trouble ahead
03 Jul 01 | Business
'Coolest ever' computer put on ice
08 Jan 02 | Business
Apple's flat-screen hopes
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