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Expect a revolution says Apple

Apple Computer has said it will unveil a new "innovative, revolutionary and different" device, fuelling speculation that the company will introduce flat panel iMacs.

Apple announced that chief executive Steve Jobs would unveil a new consumer product during the Macworld Expo conference and exhibition in San Francisco on 7 January 2002.

Apple said the "powerful, user-friendly and eye-catching" product will be launched worldwide and is expected to have an "enormous impact".

"We have already been too open, judging by the interest this is generating," said Ton van Garderen, general manager for Apple in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Analysts said that Apple placed a large order for 15-in flat-panel Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) for its all-in-one PC. Taiwanese laptop manufacturer Quanta Computer claimed to have won a contract to manufacture the new iMac.

Earlier this year Apple said it would only ship its computers with LCDs, but didn't specify the iMac at that time. The iMac has not had a major makeover since its launch in 1998.

Van Garderen would not confirm the flat-panel order and declined to say whether Apple feels the iMac is ready for a new look.

Sales of the iMac have been declining, bringing calls for a refreshed product. In its fourth quarter, ended 29 September, Apple said it shipped 294,000 units, slightly down from 306,000 in the third quarter and a significant drop from 571,000 in Apple's last quarter of 2000.

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