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Finally: Apple unveils new iMacs

At its iPad Mini event, the company shows off what it says is its thinnest desktop computer to date.

Now playing: Watch this: Up close with Apple's 21.5-inch iMac
See CNET's full coverage of Apple's iPad Mini event

Apple unveiled a thin new iMac today, refreshing the design and specs for its popular desktop computer.

"It is absolutely beautiful," Apple's Phil Schiller said during the introduction at an event in San Jose, Calif. "It is stunning from every side."

The new computer is the thinnest desktop Apple has made to date, Schiller said: a 5 millimeter edge, 80 percent thinner than the previous generation. It is 8 pounds lighter as well.

The computer also uses a new "Apple Fusion" drive, which blends a 128GB Flash memory drive with a standard hard drive that is either 1TB or 3TB in size. Schiller said using Flash memory for the computer's main functions, and the hard drive for large file storage, greatly improved performance on the machine.

It will ship without an optical drive, but Apple will sell a separate drive for customers who are "stuck in the past," Schiller said.

The computer starts at $1,299 for a 21.5-inch model and starts shipping in November. The 27-inch model starts at $1,799 and ships in December.

It had been 539 days since the last iMac update, according to the MacRumors buying guide. The average upgrade cycle is 273 days.

The Fusion Drive.
The Fusion Drive. CNET