Apple Pins Hopes On iMac Appeal

In a world of beige, boxy computers, Apple is banking its future on the charm of a sleek, see-through model called the iMac.

"I'm not a computer geek at all by my age obviously, but it's gorgeous," said customer Francis Troy.

With 150,000 advance orders -- the company that likes to say it launched the personal computer revolution -- is hoping iMac will bring Apple back.

"iMac is our consumer desktop. It's apple's re-entry into the consumer business which Apple really pioneered," Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

For about $1,300, customers can take an iMac home, open the box and be on the internet in under ten minutes.

"It's not the fastest thing out there but it smokes most PCs," said Tom Megrino, a contributing editor to Macworld. "I think the iMac is going to be a homerun."

As some industry analysts say, Apple could sell half a million or even a million iMacs by the end of the year mostly to current Macintosh owners. But the real question is: can iMac lure in the first-time computer buyer?

"This is not the perfect computer," said one iMac critic, Mike Langberg, a writer for the San Jose Mercury News.

Langberg points out that the iMac doesn't have a floppy disc drive and it could be months before printers and scanners come out that work easily with the iMac.

"It's very typical of Apple to come up with a lot of nice features in the product but to make one or two mistakes to keep them from reaching a broader market," Langberg said.

If they miss that market there could be trouble. The iMac is seen as a do-or-die product for the company. If it sells, Apple's future could be assured. If it fails, so could Apple.

By Vince Gonzales