Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Apple Updates Almost Everything; Settles Rumor Mill Down
Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple News" @ 08:00 AM
Well, suprisingly, the rumor mill did very well. While they didn't get the timing right, they definitely got the updates right. Apple refreshed a bunch of hardware yesterday, and here are a few of the highlights.
The New iMacs
The new iMacs are a solid deal. The 20" inch model is nicely priced now at $1,199 and the 24" monster is perfect for power users at $2,199. While I'm not convinced there's a big market for desktop computers any more, if you are a Mac user and want some oomph on your desk, this is the place to get it. Another notable is that even the base configuration now has 2 gigs, and most of the desktops have 4. That's definitely in preparation for Snow Leopard.e
Cosmetically, nothing's changed aside from the keyboard, which is utterly baffling to me. Apple seems to be phasing out numeric keypads, now, and even the wired one now doesn't have a numeric keypad. I wanted the Bluetooth wireless keyboard really badly for my MBP so I sucked it up and tolerated the fact that it didn't have the keypad, but I just don't get this move at all. In some ways, this adds fuel to the fire of people who hate Apple and their "our way or the highway" approach to computer design.
The New Mac Pros
Every Mac owner's dream machine, the Mac Pro is just a freakin' monster. I'll never have the disposable income for this one so I won't even bother trying to get my hands on one even though I know I would beat the stuffing out of it every single day. These machines just scream fast, and despite their lofty price, you can bet the professionals who have been waiting for a product line refresh will be ordering theirs immediately.
The New Mac Minis
The rumor mill got this one pretty much right and a lot of the product and packaging shots floating around the internet for the past few weeks have proven to be true. The only problem is that they didn't account for the insane price! Come on Apple, do you really expect people to shell out $799 for a system that doesn't even have a keyboard, mouse, or monitor? And honestly, why make the $599 model at all? This one is a true puzzler as far as I'm concerned, so I would welcome any input you guys might have. Maybe I'm just disappointed that Apple didn't go more competitve, but I guess the reality is they'll never try and compete on price. Big opportunity missed here.
The New MacBook Pros
Nothing really spectacular here; just a speed bump for the 15" models. Of course, the big buzz is about the new BTO option: a honkin' fast 2.93 Ghz Core 2 Duo processor for an additional $300! No need to update to this one for folks like me who sprung for the 15.4" when it came out; that's pretty much the same machine.
New Time Capsule and Airport Extreme
The new Airport Extreme Base Station has the one feature that made me get a Cisco 610N instead of an Airport in January: dual band radios. If you were to add a G device to an N network, the N network would slow down to G speeds. With a dual band radio, you can have a 2.4 Ghz G network and a 5.8 Ghz N network acting independently of each other and adding a G device won't slow it down. For me, that was the deal maker for the Cisco 610N because my wife still has a first gen BlackBook and I still have plenty of devices (phones, and gaming consoles, for example) that haven't adopted the N standard yet. Apple also added something they call "Guest Networking" which they define thusly:
"Now you can set up a separate Wi-Fi network with a separate password for your visitors. Simply enable the new guest networking feature, and your guests can use the Internet but can't access other parts of your private network, such as your computers, printers, and attached hard drives."
Excellent idea. Honestly, even though the Airport Extreme Base Station has always been overpriced, the dual band option now puts the price in line with other offerings like the Cisco 610N which runs at around $149 on Amazon and $189 at Best Buy.
The Time Capsule also got the dual band radios and guest networking feature, and is still priced at $499 for 1 Terrabyte and $299 for 500 GBs. Still, in my opinion, a hair overpriced, but you're paying for convenience, I guess.
Now it's your turn
So here's the question. What do you guys think of the new updates?
Me? I'm okay with them. I won't be running out to the store to get anything they announced, but they're nice updates. I'm happy with my MBP and I may consider the Mini even though I think it's grossly overpriced because the Laptop as a Desktop experiment isn't working so well now that I have to take my Laptop to work every day and I have to set it back up at home no matter what so I can bring you all the latest and greatest Apple news!
Seriously, though. Anyone ordering? Now that we know nothing is in the pipeline (except for maybe a new iPhone and some refreshes to the iPod line) did this refresh put you over the top and make you take out the card and order something you were holding off on?