Computer recipients will be required to sign up for a three-year contract, at $20 a month, to the Internet-service provider selected by the company, FreeMac.com, as well as take out a credit card.
The deal is one of a growing number of "free" computer giveaways arranged by companies that hope to profit from monthly Internet connection payments, as well as from advertising and electronic commerce targeted at the machines' owners. Apple isn't associated with the iMac offer. The iMac will come with 32 megabytes of internal memory and a six gigabyte hard drive. Basic hardware upgrades can be purchased at the time of ordering.
FreeMac.com is allowing people interested in the offer to register at its Web site, and said it will e-mail final details of the offer next month.