Coming soon: The Big Apple

About six months after it began selling the revamped iMac, Apple will release a new version of the all-in-one PC sporting a 17-inch LCD monitor, CNET’s reports. Apple hopes the new machine will spur consumer interest at a time when the entire PC industry is experiencing seriously sluggish sales. “The back-to-school market, which usually helps the September quarter, has not materialized to a great degree the past two years and may disappoint this year once again,” wrote Merrill Lynch analyst Steven Fortuna in a recent report. Apple is mum on the machine, declining to acknowledge it, let alone what it will cost. But one analyst quoted by CNET says it can’t be dramatically more than current iMacs, or buyers will stay away. “When the price is right, consumers are saying, ‘For a $600 or $700 difference, I’m not going to move, but for $200 it’s worth stepping up.'”