Apple did on Tuesday what many thought the company would do in January: It unveiled updates to its desktop Macs and introduced a new Mac Pro. The new products focus on value in a tight economy.
The new desktop machines include a 24-inch iMac at a rock-bottom Apple price and a Mac mini with new integrated graphics. The new iMac sells for $1,499 -- the price of a 20-inch model in the previous generation. But the new model comes with a 30 percent larger display, twice the memory, and twice the storage of the older 20-inch iMac. Meanwhile, the new Mac mini offers five times better graphics performance via Nvidia GeForce 9400M graphics.
All iMac and Mac mini systems come with Mac OS X Leopard and iLife '09, Apple's suite of consumer applications for managing and organizing photos, making movies, and creating and learning to play music. Every iMac also features a glossy display with a built-in iSight video camera, microphone and speakers in a thin aluminum and glass design.
"Our flagship 24-inch iMac with twice the memory and twice the storage is now available for just $1,499," said Tim Cook, Apple's COO. "The Mac mini is not only our most affordable Mac, it's also the world's most energy-efficient desktop computer."
Big Things, Little Packages
At the bottom of the iMac lineup is a 20-inch model that sells for $1,199 with a 2.66-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of 1066-MHz DDR3 memory, a 320GB serial ATA hard drive and Nvidia GeForce 9400M integrated graphics. By way of comparison, the 24-inch iMac includes up to a 3.06-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB of 1066-MHz DDR3 memory, and a 640GB or 1TB serial ATA hard drive.
Starting at $599, the Mac mini measures only 6.5x6.5x2 inches. It's available in two models and features a 2.0-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, up to 4GB of DDR3 1066-MHz memory, up to a 320GB serial ATA hard drive, five USB 2.0 ports, FireWire 800, and a SuperDrive. The mini can drive two Apple or third-party displays with Mini DisplayPort or DVI connections.
These new machines signal that Apple understands current market conditions pretty well, according to Michael Gartenberg, vice president of strategy and analysis at Interpret. He called the new lineup good refreshes at good values.
"At the end of the day I'm getting more computer for less money. That's going to be more important for Apple right now," Gartenberg said. "While it isn't going to necessarily be the cheapest computer you can get, it's not always about being the cheapest. It's about being the best value."
Faster, More Powerful
Apple also introduced the new Mac Pro using Intel Nehalem Xeon processors and a next-generation system architecture to deliver up to twice the performance of the previous-generation system. The new Mac Pro includes Intel Xeon processors running at speeds up to 2.93 GHz, each with an integrated memory controller with three channels of 1066-MHz DDR3 ECC memory that deliver up to 2.4 times the memory bandwidth while cutting memory latency up to 40 percent. The new model starts at $2,499.
"The new Mac Pro is a significant upgrade and starts at $300 less than before," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing. "The Mac Pro features an advanced system architecture, new faster processors and our best-ever graphics options to deliver a faster, more powerful system that our professional customers are going to love."