The new Apple iMac design lends itself more towards use as central part of a home entertainment centre, as well as boasting top-end performance.
iMac media centre
Apple also added a Mini DisplayPort that can be used to hook up another display - though I can't imagine why you'd need to - or, more important, use the iMac as a display itself.
And that's where the office-vs-living-room debate arises. The screen size allows you to have numerous windows open at one time - perfect for word processing, digital photo work or any kind of graphics endeavours.
It also allows you to watch HD video in amazing clarity and with vibrant colour saturation. Given the top-notch industrial design for which Apple is known, this iMac would look as appropriate in the living room as it does on a desk.
The wireless keyboard and mouse make it easy to set up the iMac as a media centre, since you can pretty much fire up iTunes and watch DVDs from a distance without having to worry about cords.
And if you have a digital camera that uses SD cards, you can now slip them right into the built-in SD card slot on the right side of the iMac (next to the CD/DVD slot). With Apple's iPhoto application, you've got an instant slide show.
The only thing missing from this would-be multimedia showpiece is a Blu-Ray player. For whatever reason, Apple has been reluctant to add Blu-Ray drives to any of its hardware, and this iMac really cries out for it.
Regular DVDs look a little soft and can show digital artifacts, but if the HD movie trailers I viewed are any measure, Blu-Ray would be flat-out awesome. Of course, then you might be less inclined to buy or rent HD movies through iTunes.
(According to Apple, it's possible to connect up an external Blu-Ray player - but an adaptor will be needed to convert the HDMI signal coming from the player to the MiniDisplay Port on the iMac. And a scaler would be needed because of the screen's high resolution. Apple doesn't sell those, though, so it'll be up to another company to come up with a solution.)
iMac or Cinema Display
I do wonder what this iMac's introduction means for Apple's beautiful, but now aging, 30-inch Cinema Display monitor.
Sure, it has a slightly higher resolution because of its 16x10 aspect ratio. But it costs just £175 less than the 27-inch iMac and it's just a display.
With the iMac, you get 90 percent of the Cinema Display's screen real estate, and a high-powered computer built in. You'd have to really need that 30-inch screen to justify the expense.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Apple update the Cinema Display soon, either by bumping up its resolution or by downsizing it to 27 inches and cutting the price. That's just speculation; Apple doesn't talk about future product plans.
Speaking of cost, it's important to note that the 27-inch £1,599 quad-core model costs £200 less than the old top-end iMac. Apple has been bashed for too often holding the line on prices, so the price drop is noteworthy in these recessionary times.