Although it arrived a little late to the back-to-school party, Apple Computer's (NASDAQ:AAPL) new iMac has made its debut. Competitors such as Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), and Gateway (NYSE:GTW) don't necessarily need to quake in their boots at such news (well, then again, maybe Gateway is arguable, as it has a few reasons to quake in its boots these days), but you can bet those companies are watching and evaluating as part of their fiduciary due diligence.

You can read about all of the glorious specs of the upgraded iMac G5 in this press release; the desktop is designed with multimedia functions in mind, such as movie editing and music creation. The G5 technology is courtesy IBM (NYSE:IBM).

As we all know, Apple has made a huge mark for itself with its iPod device. Apple is hoping to leverage the loyalty for that brand and use it to drive sales of its PC inventory. I really can't see the iMac reaching a critical-mass level where its computers suddenly threaten the benign monopoly (benign in my opinion, anyway) Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) holds over the operating-system market, but this release should nevertheless have a positive impact on sales revenues in future quarters.

As Seth Jayson reported back in July, the iMac portion of the company's products portfolio has been a drag on performance; sales declined 20% in the year's first half. He also discussed the delay that was announced for the new iMac; this event put the shares on sale temporarily, and they have since recovered. When I read about the delay, I wasn't thrilled at all, and I believe the market appropriately punished the company at the time; missing the aforementioned back-to-school momentum is indicative of lousy timing. But the company did what it needed to do, and the release for the desktop is now on for mid-September.

Investors looking for a long-term holding in the consumer PC sector should probably consider Dell instead. It has a great brand, a wonderfully focused business model, and a great return on both equity and assets in relation to Apple. Yet owning Apple in addition to Dell might not be such an odd concept; after all, the company has proven that it can survive in the harsh world of Windows, and it does generate some innovative products that boost business. Owning both would be like covering more than one base, which isn't a bad investing idea.

If you're in the mood for some more Apple picking, check out the following:

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Fool contributor Steven Mallas owns none of the companies mentioned.