What Flavor Is Your Mac?

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Steve Jobs, acting-CEO-for-life of the resurgent Apple Computer, said last week of his new fruit-colored desktops, "We knew we had to name them after things you eat, because you just want to walk up and lick them."

Well, some of us do, anyway. Nearly two decades after the original Macintosh all but invented the home-computer market, Apple finally has another hit. The product is the new iMac, and the five refreshing "flavors" announced by Jobs at last week's MacWorld show in San Francisco are blueberry, grape, lime, strawberry and tangerine.

The original iMac, released last August in translucent blue, sold 800,000 units through mid-December (45% to first-time Mac users). It was, according to PC Data, the top-selling computer in November, the latest month for which figures are available.

Is the iMac right for you? Most business users still need the PC's applications compatibilities, and a peek into any software store makes clear that hard-core gamers won't be seduced away from Windows just yet (though the iMac's success is apparently encouraging software developers to create more games and other programs for it).

But if you spend most of your time online these days, the iMac is truly a marvel of simplicity: pull it from the box, plug in the power and phone lines, click a button, and you're on the Net. That ease of use may prove as strong a draw as the chance to buy a machine that matches your decor.