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Apple plans upgrades for iMac, PowerMac lines

The computer maker apparently plans to announce at the Macworld trade show that it has selected ATI to provide graphics chips for new iMac and PowerMac models, according to a PR document.

Apple Computer plans to announce upgrades to its iMac and PowerMac lines at the Macworld trade show tomorrow, according to a press release.

Apple's product plans have been the subject of speculation for weeks. Today's news came in a document issued early this morning by BusinessWire, a press-release distribution service. The release provided quick summaries on what companies plan to announce at Macworld, which begins in New York tomorrow with a keynote by Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

One subsection of the document says that graphics chip company ATI will announce that it has been selected to provide graphics chips for three new Apple computers.

Apple executives could not be reached for comment.

The release stated: "In a keynote, wait for Apple to announce three new systems with ATI graphics in them. One will be an iMac with the RAGE 4XL chip, the remaining two are PowerMacs, which will ship with RAGE 128 PRO standard and RADEON."

BusinessWire vice president Tom Becktold said the release was compiled from the companies mentioned and their PR agencies. ATI executives said they were unsure where that information came from, however.

"We've not said anything official," said ATI spokesman Rick Hall.

One PR executive who has dealt with BusinessWire for years said the organization only distributes information gleaned from its clients. The PR executive said the original source of the material would have to have been the company itself.

"Somebody must have (messed) up at the company," the PR person said.

An upgrade to the iMac was expected to be announced, according to a number of sources. In addition, many have said that Apple might hint at new PowerMacs at Macworld, but that they were not likely to be unveiled until a later date.

In a conference call to discuss Apple's third-quarter earnings, chief financial officer Fred Anderson said Apple should see higher sales and unit shipments should rise sequentially in the current quarter "due to planned product introductions."

"It's been about nine months since we have had any major product intoductions," he said. "We're going to change that tomoroow and we think you will be impressed."