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Apple has admitted that its hugely successful iMac is not a functioning computer. According to spokeswoman Niamh Brindley, the iMac is just a prop for ads, achingly ironic sit-coms, Ikea showrooms and anywhere else where a "computer" needs to be represented. Tapping the mouthwateringly beautiful plastic case (model: Indigo) she said "Listen to that. Hollow as you like. No fancy microprocessors or motherboards spoiling the aesthetic."

The groundbreaking design of the iMac saw sales of almost 10 million "units" worldwide.The faux-computer is so popular it has spawned a new Hollywood convention - all representations of computers must appear to be an iMac. "Even Doonesbury has one on his desk," chuckled Brindley. "And of course, when the Simpsons go to an Internet cafe - well, I don't need to tell you what "computers" they used. Yes, just like the fictional "555" phone number everyone dials in films, the iMac is a completely harmless, fictionalised computer.

Brindley feels limited sympathy for those who have been fooled by the amazing resemblance between an iMac and an actual computer. "Sure, at first glance it looks like it could be some sort of computer. But for God's sake, it doesn't have a CPU. That's your first giveaway. And have you ever seen a plug attached to one? No, of course you haven't. And if you think you did, your mind was just playing tricks on you. That's how good this baby is."

And Apple's latest runaway success, the iPod? "Magnificent. What is it? Well the name says it all really. Try to think of it as a little jewelled music box, because that's what it is. Just open it up - there's a little ballerina inside that dances to Swan Lake.




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