As was widely predicted this morning, Apple has updated its iMac, Mac Mini and Macbook ranges. Also new is the Magic Mouse, described as ‘the world’s first Multi-Touch mouse’. The new products feature:
- 21.5 or 27 inch LED backlit glossy display
- 3.06/3.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor or 2.66GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor or 2.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor
- 4GB of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM with four SO-DIMM slots supporting up to 16GB
- 256MB NVIDIA GeForce 9400M or 256MB ATI Radeon HD 4670 (21.5 inch model)
- 256MB ATI Radeon HD 4670 or 512MB ATI Radeon HD 4850 (27 inch model)
- 802.11n Wi-Fi wireless networking, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR and 10/100/Gigabit Ethernet
- Slot-loading 8x SuperDrive
- 1 or 2TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA hard drive
- From £949
- 2.26GHz, 2.53GHz, or 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 1066MHz frontside bus
- 2GB or 4GB of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM
- NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics processor with 256MB of shared DDR3 SDRAM
- 160GB, 320GB, or 500GB Serial ATA hard disk drive
- From £499
- Also available with two 500GB SATA hard drives and Snow Leopard Server for £799
- 13.3-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display with support for millions of colours
- 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 1066MHz frontside bus
- 2GB of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM with support up to 4GB
- NVIDIA GeForce 9400M with 256MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory
- 250, 320 or 500GB 5400-rpm Serial ATA hard disk drive
- 8x slot-loading SuperDrive
- New Unibody enclosure
- Up to 7 hour battery life
A new design with no buttons. Instead, the whole top of the mouse is a multi-touch surface that responds like the trackpad in the Macbook/Pro’s. Not cheap at £55 but certainly cutting edge.
Overall it’s a very strong line-up for the Christmas Market. I’m a bit surprised the Macbook is still just a single model at £799 but Apple have never been interested in the budget market. The iMacs now go from fast to ridiculously powerful, and while the 1920×1080 HD resolution screen appears to be becoming a standard, the 27 inch version offers an enormous 2560 by 1440 pixels. The Mac Mini is still expensive now has the server model leaked earlier this year. Could this become the perfect small office server?
Apple updated it’s non-laptop hardware this week, and the one thing that really struck me was the UK Mac Mini pricing. In January 2005 I bought a 1.42Ghz Mac Mini G4 from the Apple UK store for £441. At the time this was a good spec with 512Mb of ram and an 80Gb hard drive. The top Mac Mini model in March 2009 is now £649. Hardly an entry level computer any more.
The spec is greatly improved, but nowhere near current average desktop specs. The lower Mac Mini model has the same processor and less Ram/Hard drive space for £500. A catalog from Dell turned up in the post this week, and for £400 I could buy a mini tower with a Core2Duo E7400, 2Gb Ram, 250Gb Hard Drive, DVDrw and a 19″ widescreen monitor. Thats a lot of computer for the price. While I understand the exchange rate is not favourable in the UK at the moment, how does Apple expect to sell at these prices? Apart from the size and software I can’t see what the Mac Mini can offer at the moment. And why does it still look the same as three years ago?
Yesterday’s Apple quarterly financial results sounded much like the previous few. Best yet results for the quarter, with sales of just about everything up considerably from this time last year. At a time when the credit crunch is having a negative impact on most markets Apple is seeing record growth.
One thing to put a damper on shareholders dividends is the announcement that profits will be lower next quarter due to a ‘key product transition’ that undercuts rivals, due by the end of September. No details on what the new product will be, but with the Macbook, iPod Touch and Mac Mini rumoured to be expecting an update there’s plenty to pick from. That’s without the possibility of a Mac tablet or ‘bigger than iPod Touch’ PDA/handheld device. Looks like interesting times are ahead.
It’s the time of year when I take a look at my computer and ask if I want to upgrade anything. My Macbook (first generation 1.83Ghz) has been fairly solid for the year and a half since I got it. Sudden shutdowns were the biggest problem, and after six weeks of use it was off to Apple for a mystery repair. Apple said they replaced a cable and a bracket but the machine came back with a different hard drive as well. Around six months ago the dying battery was replaced for free, but then half the world seems to have suffered from defective batteries.
The source of this latest round of upgrade angst is Geekbench. It’s a processor benchmarking program that lets you compare processor performance in any supported operating system. I tested the VideoPC (Windows XP, Dual Xeon 2.4Ghz) and got a result of 1560. The Macbook was a surprise (Mac OS 10.5.1, Core Duo 1.83Ghz) returning 2304. I still use the VideoPC for a range of video editing tasks, but it’s a noisy power hungry beast. If the Macbook is 50% faster I would be better served moving all my work to the Macbook. especially since UK energy prices are going through the roof.
Lets get the big rant out of the way first.
20 DOLLARS TO UPGRADE THE IPOD TOUCH WITH FIVE APPS ALREADY AVAILABLE ON THE IPHONE AND EVERY JAILBROKEN TOUCH IS A JOKE.
Normal non-shouty blog resumes. I can understand the Mail, Maps, Stocks, Notes and Weather apps not being on the original iPod touch. It was an iPod, so did what the previous iPod did when it came to PIM. Not being able to add calendar events was a mistake that was rectified. But this is just taking the piss. All the early adopters that helped make the Christmas quarter such a huge success get shafted. Buy an iPod touch today and get the software for free. How can the company which styles itself as the cool guy fighting Microsoft’s corporation crap on its users like this? Leaves an unpleasant taste after all the other good things that were announced.