Apple Inc. unveiled the latest update to its line of desktop computers Tuesday, promising faster speeds and offering the option of multi-touch controls similar to those used on the iPhone.
Apple said its new line of iMac desktops, with new processors from Intel Corp. and new graphics chips, are the company's fastest ever. The iMacs, which tuck the inner workings of the computer behind the flat-screen monitor, cost $1,199 to $1,999 based on speed and screen size.
Windows computer makers such as Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. have turned their similar all-in-one desktop computers into touch-screen media centers where families can, for example, browse through photos and play music.
Apple, however, has maintained that while touch screens work well on the iPhone and the iPad, they don't make sense on a Mac. Its MacBook laptops have track pads that respond to the two-finger pinch and pull controls of the iPhone, and before the holidays Apple introduced a touch-sensitive mouse that responds to the same gestures.
Now, Mac buyers can also pay an extra $69 for what Apple calls the Magic Trackpad, a sleek glass-topped aluminum touch pad that connects to Apple computers using Bluetooth. The device works with all of Apple's computers and runs on two AA batteries.
Apple also released a new line of Mac Pro desktops, which resemble a traditional boxy PC and require a separate monitor. Like the new iMacs, Apple says the latest Pro computers carry faster processors - the brains of a computer - as well as new graphics chips that produce a sharper display.
The company released a new stand-alone 27-inch LED screen for $999, which can be hooked up to a laptop or desktop. It says the display is 60 percent bigger than Apple's 24-inch LED display.
Apple shares rose $4.14, or 1.6 percent, to $263.42 in midday trading Tuesday.
The iMac ships with Apple's Magic Mouse, but the company's just-released Magic Trackpad, which gives the desktop computer the same multi-touch trackpad available on MacBooks, must be purchased separately.