Computing giant Apple has launched its next-generation iMac all-in-one desktops featuring the latest Intel quad-core Core i5-series CPUs and its new Thunderbolt serial I/O technology.

The company has announced four new models, two each based on 21.5-inch and 27-inch widescreen LCD panels.

The cheapest unit is price at $AUD1399 and features Intel’s 2.5GHz Core i5 processor with 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive and AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics. A higher-performance model delivers the 2.7GHz version of the Core i5 along with a 1000GB hard drive and Radeon HD 6770M graphics.

The two 27-inch models start at $1949 with the 2.7GHz Core i5 processor and the same graphics, hard drive and memory as the second 21.5-inch model. The 27-inch panel delivers 2560×1440-pixel resolution. The top of the range unit comes with a 3.1GHz Core i5 processor, 1000GB hard drive and Radeon HD 6970M graphics.

All units feature stereo 17-watt audio speakers with analog and digital optical in and out ports.

Peripheral connectivity includes four USB2.0 ports, a Firewire-800 port plus a new 10Gbps Thunderbolt port. The 27-inch versions get two Thunderbolt ports. Each unit also has a slot-loading 8X single-layer 4X-double-layer DVD burner in the side.

Networking includes 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth along with a wired Gigabit Ethernet port.

All four units are now available on the Apple store with shipping nominated within 24 hours.

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