New From Apple: Recession Macs
The rumors were true. Well, partially true anyway. Apple was planning a sweeping refresh of its desktops–but it was one that didn’t merit a special-event rollout.
This morning Apple (AAPL) refreshed its desktop line, announcing a new Nehalem-based Mac Pro, a more robust Mac mini and four new iMacs, among them, three with 24-inch screens. All three lines boast fundamental enhancements, but also more affordable prices–a feature Apple touted in its marketing materials the way it would a new technology. Consider this pull quote from Apple COO Tim Cook: “Our flagship 24-inch iMac with twice the memory and twice the storage is now available for just $1,499. The Mac mini is not only our most affordable Mac, it’s also the world’s most energy efficient desktop computer.” And this one from Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing: “The new Mac Pro is a significant upgrade and starts at $300 less than before.”
An interesting change from Apple’s standard marketing language, which typically holds its new machines up as “the most incredible desktop computer we’ve ever made” or “our fastest, biggest and brightest” or “the workstation Mac users have been dreaming about.”
These days, Apple’s new Macs are not simply faster and shinier, they’re a bargain as well. “Insanely great!” has become “insanely affordable!” Anyway, on to the specs.
The new Mac Pro is priced at $2,499 for the quad-core version and at $3,299 for the eight-core version, with Nehalem Xeon processors running at 2.93GHz. All feature an updated system architecture that Apple says delivers twice the performance of the previous model.
The new iMac line starts with the 20-inch iMac for $1,199 with a 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 memory, a 320GB Serial ATA hard drive and Nvidia GeForce 9400M integrated graphics. Its 24-inch brethren features a 1920-by-1200-pixel widescreen display that offers 30 percent more screen real estate than the 20-inch model. It offers up to a 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and starts at $1,499–the same price as the previous generation 20-inch model.
The new Mac Mini has been outfitted with the same Nvidia GeForce 9400M integrated graphics as Apple’s new MacBooks, something the company says will improve its graphics performance as much as fivefold. Available in two models that start at $599, the mini features a 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, up to 4GB of DDR3 1066MHz memory, up to 320GB Serial ATA hard drive, five (!) USB 2.0 ports, FireWire 800 and a SuperDrive.
Also receiving a refresh today: Apple’s Time Capsule and AirPort Extreme, which now offer a “guest networking” feature that allows users to create a separate Wi-Fi network just for their friends and supports for simultaneous dual-band Wi-Fi. “For maximum range and compatibility, Time Capsule works simultaneously on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, allowing all the devices on the network to use the most efficient band automatically,” Apple explains. “And Time Capsule uses the latest 802.11n wireless technology so you can enjoy up to five times the performance and up to twice the range of 802.11g wireless networks.”