Think different (ly)

The new iMac computer we told you about last week has hit the stores and is flying off the shelves across North America, despite its annoyingly ungrammatical ad slogan. The computer’s different look (it’s blue, not beige!) and all-in-one design are undoubtedly attracting a lot of attention, but what’s under the hood?

Early reviews are generally positive, especially regarding the machine’s style, low price, and ease of set-up, but it does have some serious drawbacks that could be a concern to many users. The iMac lacks things that many of us take for granted, such as a floppy drive, parallel port, serial port, and internal card slots. On the positive side, the iMac has features most others lack, such as a built-in K56flex modem, two USB (universal serial bus) ports, a 10/100BaseT network connection, and an infrared port.

Reviewers at cNet, a major U.S. computer news service, question the iMac’s reliance on the USB connection, which means that users must have a compatible printer, and can’t simply hook up their new machine to an old one. Also, the lack of internal slots means you can’t install newer modems as they continue to evolve. They criticize the machine’s sound system tinny”) and conclude by saying ” if you want an affordable, somewhat slow, space-conscious Internet and network terminal, with a revolutionary eye toward style and future connectivity options, the iMac’s your machine.”

In other words, it still pays to do careful personal research before making a major purchase you’ll have to live with for years. Put an iMac through its paces (using applications you now use regularly) and make an informed buying decision. Think differently.