On the heels of announcing blockbuster earnings for the past quarter, Apple unveils a slew of new products, including a pair of iMacs with razor-sharp, 16:9 displays, a redesigned plastic MacBook, and a new mouse that you can swipe with your fingertip, à la the iPhone.
First up: Meet the “Magic Mouse,” a touch-enabled successor to the tepid, trackball-toting Mighty Mouse. A sleek, smooth sliver of plastic, the wireless Magic Mouse comes without dedicated buttons or wheels; instead, you perform simple multi-touch gestures (like tapping, swiping, and “zooming” on the iPhone) on the mouse’s curved surface to select, rotate, or otherwise manipulate items on the screen. Lefties and righties can also configure the Magic Mouse as they see fit, according to Apple. I’ve yet to try the new Magic Mouse in person, but Engadget says that the new peripheral “feels much thinner than its predecessor,” and that “the whole front of the unit provides a satisfying, unified click.” Interesting. The price tag: $69.
Next: the new iMacs, including a 27-incher and a 21.5-inch model. Both retain the basic, all-in-one iMac design, but the upgraded models arrive with what look to be gorgeous new LED-backlit displays, complete with 16:9 aspect ratios ideal for movie fanatics. The new 21.5-inch iMac boasts a 1920 by 1080-pixel display, same as on your standard 1080p flatscreen, while the 27-inch model comes with a whopping 2560 by 1440 pixels … or in other words, 1440p. Nice.
The two new iMacs also deliver upgraded graphics chipsets, with the choice of integrated Nvidia GeForce 9400M or dedicated ATI Radeon HD 4670 graphics in the 21.5-inch model, or discrete ATI Radeon HD 4670 or 8850 graphics in the 27-inch iMac.
As usual, the new iMacs don’t come cheap, but even the priciest 27-inch model starts south of $2,000, with the 3.06GHz, 4GB 21.5-inch iMac (with a 500GB hard drive) beginning at $1,199, while the cheaper of two 27-inch configurations (with a 3.06GHz processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive) starts at $1,699. Not included in the mix: Blu-ray support.
Moving right along, we’ve got a redesigned white plastic MacBook, which now takes on the “unibody” design of its bigger MacBook Pro brothers. The MacBook’s new polycarbonate shell weighs in at about 4.7 ounces and measures 1.8 inches thick, and it also comes with a non-replacable seven-hour battery—again, same as with the updated MacBook Pro line. Other improvements include an LED-backlit display and a bigger multi-touch glass trackpad. Prices still start at $999, though (for the 2.26GHz model with 2GB of RAM and a 250GB hard drive).
Last but not least: an upgraded Mac Mini, now with a faster processor (up to 2.66GHz) and more memory (up to 4GB), with prices starting at $599. Power users can also snap up a 2.53GHz Mini with dual 500GB hard drives and Mac OS X Server Snow Leopard pre-installed, for $999.
So, what do you think: Ready for the touch-sensitive Magic Mouse? How about the new, cinema-ready iMacs? Still chafing at Apple’s high prices, or do the new price points sound reasonable?
By Ben Patterson