Apple iMac i7, 12 Core Mac Pro, And The End Of Mice

Posted on July 27, 2010

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It’s not like I haven’t been hearing the rumors that have been steadily building up this week, I just haven’t cared. But this morning Apple announced three things that, surprisingly, I did care about. Now, to Apple fans every announcement might be a huge deal. But to me — a Windows user — these little announcements (like refinements to their computer lineup) aren’t worth writing about most of the time.

Most of the time.

The first thing that Apple did this morning was announce new and improved iMacs, available at the Apple Store. The refreshed family now contains all of the Intel “i” processors; the i3 at the low end, followed by the midsize i5 and the top of the line i7. Sounds like a BMW commercial.

All of these cars have a lowercase "i" in their name

Expensive vehicles aside, the refreshed iMac doesn’t stop there, packing discrete ATI Radeon HD GPU options, IPS panels in the display (the same type used in the iPad), and a built-in SD slot (finally!).

One sweet (and welcome) addition to the line is the option to include both a regular HDD and add an SDD drive to the mix. Only available on the 27 inch flavor of the iMac, the SSD doesn’t come cheap; a 1TB HDD plus a 256GB SSD is a $750 CTO option, while the 2TB HDD in that combo makes it a $900 option, but at least there’s room inside for upgrading, which was almost impossible on previous models.

“We took the world’s best all-in-one and made it even better,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “With the latest processors, high-performance graphics and signature aluminum and glass design, customers are going to love the latest iMac.”

Here’s a specs sheet, for your pleasure:

  • The low-end $1,199 unit boasts a 21.5-inch display (1,920 x 1,080), a 3.06GHz Core i3 CPU, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, ATI’s Radeon HD 4670 GPU (256MB) and a 500GB hard drive. There’s also an 8x slot-loading SuperDrive with dual-layer support, Mini DisplayPort, AirPort Extreme 802.11n, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, iSight webcam, gigabit Ethernet, a foursome of USB 2.0 sockets, a single FireWire 800 port and a bundled wireless Apple Keyboard and Magic Mouse.
  • There’s a new $1,499 21.5-inch model that includes a 3.20GHz Core i3, ATI Radeon HD 5670 GPU (512MB), a 1TB hard drive and 4GB of DDR3 memory (along with the usual suspects mentioned above).
  • The $1,699 model is a 27-incher with a 2,560 x 1,440 LED-backlit display, 3.20GHz Core i3 CPU, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, ATI’s Radeon HD 5670 (512MB), a 1TB hard drive and available CTO options that include a 3.6GHz Core i5, 2TB HDD, 256GB SSD and up to 16GB of RAM.
  • The flagship $1,999 flavor (27-inch) packs a 2.8GHz quad-core Core i5 with 8MB of shared L3 cache, 4GB of DDR3 memory, ATI’s Radeon HD 5750 GPU (1GB), a 1TB hard drive and available CTO options that include a 2.93GHz Core i7 CPU, 2TB hard drive, 256GB SSD and up to 16GB of memory.

But the iMac is only the tip of the iceberg.

So there is a god...

If the iMac was a BMW, the new five thousand dollar twelve core Mac Pro would be an exclusive, hand-crafted Aston Martin.

Not pictured: the gaping hole in your wallet

Apple apparently wasn’t screwing around when they announced a refresh of their powerhouse Mac Pro. The base model — a quad core model that could still beat the hell out of any Alienware — costs a measly $2,500. Going up the ladder takes you to an 8 core monster, which will set you back about $1,000 more, and after that…well…not too long ago there wasn’t anything after that, but now Apple has taken Intel’s server-class Xeon 12-core 3.33 GHz monsters and put them into the new Mac Pro; making it the fastest computer Apple has ever produced.

“The new Mac Pro is the most powerful and configurable Mac we’ve ever made,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “With up to 12 cores, the new Mac Pro outperforms our previous top-of-the-line system by up to 50 percent, and with over a billion possible configurations, our customers can create exactly the system they want.”

Perhaps the most welcome upgrade is on the graphical front, where the Radeon HD 5770 takes up the mantle of default GPU, with additional options for a pair of such cards or a step up to a 1GB HD 5870 alternative if you’re keen on maxing out those frame rates. Memory isn’t neglected either, with choices ranging all the way up to 32GB of RAM, 4TB of conventional HDD storage, or an array of four 512GB SSDs — though you probably don’t want to know how much a maxed out system will cost you.

But what good is a computer that costs more than a Corvette when you’re using a crappy display? This is where Apple’s new 27 inch Cinema display comes in.

The new display sports an incredible resolution of 2560 x 1440, running at a crisp 16:9 aspect ratio — the same used in HD 1080p displays. The price? Only $999, which is actually a good price if you consider a similar model by Dell costs about $100 more. Included in the price is an iSight camera, three USB sockets, and a MagSafe adapter for charging your MacBook. The big brother to Apple’s older 24 inch display is the perfect companion to your MacBook or Mac Pro.

“With built-in MagSafe charging, iSight camera, speakers, and USB ports, the LED Cinema Display is ideal for MacBook and MacBook Pro users,”said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “With its massive 2560 x 1440 resolution, the new 27-inch LED Cinema Display is a perfect fit with our powerful new Mac Pro, and it gives iMac users an easy way to double their screen real estate.”

But the show isn’t over yet. The star of the show today isn’t a bigger or better screen, or a speedier computer, it is a whole new product, out of the blue, that nobody would have ever though they needed.

Meet the Magic Trackpad.

Yes, I’m serious.

After the massive success of Apple’s new all-glass trackpads released with the unibody MacBooks, coupled with the success of Apple’s gesture recognition software built in to Snow Leopard (a feature that lets you do things like scrolling down a webpage or resizing an image with simple finger gestures), Apple decided to move that to the desktop market, which leads us to the magic Trackpad.

What is it, you say? Well, it’s a trackpad for desktops!

It allows you do to everything you already do with your mouse, plus everything you want to do with gestures, magic!

The Magic Trackpad will be released in September (along with everything else in this list) for a price of $70, and you’ll never need to buy a mouse again.

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Posted in: Apple