Apple will begin shipping its new iMac G5 desktop computer worldwide in mid-September, the company's top marketing executive said today.

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Philip Schiller, Apple

Three models will be available. The top-of-the-range model has a 20-inch LCD screen with a resolution of 1,680-x-1,050 pixels. It contains a 160GB hard disk drive, an optical drive for burning DVDs and a 1.8GHz G5 processor, and will sell for £1,148 plus VAT.

The new machines have two FireWire 400 ports, three USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports, audio line-in, optical audio-out, video out, modem and Ethernet connections at the back of the screen. The speaker grills are concealed in the base of the screen and bounce sound off the desktop up to the user.

The other two models have 17-inch screens, 80G byte hard-disk drives and optical drives that can burn CDs and read DVDs. The 1.6GHz model will sell for £782 and the 1.8 GHz model for £893, both plus VAT.

"It really is a breakthrough in personal computing," Schiller told the Apple Expo crowd. "I think that's what Apple is all about."