intel iMac's performance
Seems to me "the press" is just looking
for ways to bash the new iMac. "Only 1/4 times faster, not four times" could be read at several places in the last couple of days, completely forgetting that the "4-5 times as fast" claim was about the MacBook Pro vs. PowerBook G4, not the iMac. Apple clearly said the new iMac's chip
(i.e. the intel core duo processor) is twice as fast (not two times faster, actually, Steve Jobs seems to mix those things sometimes...) as the single core G5 used in the previous version. This
statement is still true, although real-world tasks might see only about a 25% performance increase. The SPEC benchmarks don't lie, they're just irrelevant.
Add to that Rosetta's performance hit for PPC software, and the iMac Core Duo just doesn't look as good as Steve Jobs has made it look at MWSF at the beginning of the month. But: Non-universal binaries are only a short-term problem. Since you buy an iMac for at least one year of use, I'd say, it's still the much better choice now. Not only will
it give you roughly 25% more oomph (that's quite a bit, actually) for native applications, but more importantly, it'll keep its value longer. If you want to sell your iMac in, say, two years, the intel iMac will still be a nice machine, whereas the iMac G5 might have some nostalgic value, but will otherwise be looked at as an oddity from the past.
So if you're about to buy a Mac this year, I'll advise you to buy the intel version whenever possible. The only exceptions to this rule for me are the Mac mini and the iBook. The Mac mini is cheap enough to be looked at as a "disposable computer". Buy it for 499 USD, sell it a year later for 300 and pay another 200 to get a new, shiny intel Mac mini. That's a nice upgrade path in my opinion, that'll keep you more or less up-to-date. The iBook, although still using that "old, power-hungry G4 processor", is a very nice entry-level notebook that gives you 5-6 hours of battery life per charge. They're nice little fellas that, for the money, give you a lot in their life-time.