Apple updates its desktop and wireless products

Apple, this morning, updated it desktop and wireless product line.  Nothing revolutionary, unfortunately, but they did bring all of their components in line with Mini DisplayPort technology as well as up to the latest and greatest in terms of processor performance.

The Mac Minis saw upgrades to the backside, adding a USB port, upgrading to Firewire 800 from 400 and adding Apple's integrated Mini DisplayPort.

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There is a $599 version: 2.0GHz Mac mini. 1GB 1066 MHz DDR SDRAM, GeForce 9400M integrated graphics, 120GB HD, 8x SuperDrive. 

The high end version is priced at $799 and features: 2.0GHz Core2Duo 2GB 1066 MHz DDR SDRAM, GeForce 9400M integrated graphics, 320GB HD and  8x SuperDrive

The iMacs saw similar updates also getting a Mini DisplayPort video out. Notably the $1499 price point now includes a 24 inch display, 4GB of RAM and a 640GB hard drive.  That compares to the previous price point of 20-inch display, 2Gb of RAM and 32GB hard drive.  Full Matrix:

$1199. 20-inch 2.66 GHz iMac. 2GB RAM. NVIDIA GeForce 9400M Integrated graphics. 320GB HD. Mini Display Port

$1499. 24-inch 2.66 GHz iMac. 4GB RAM. NVIDIA GeForce 9400M Integrated graphics. 640GB HD. Mini Display Port

$1799. 24-inch 2.93 GHz iMac. 4GB RAM. NVIDIA GeForce GT 120. 640GB HD. Mini Display Port

$2199. 24-inch 3.06 GHz iMac. 4GB RAM. NVIDIA GeForce GT 130. 1TB HD. Mini Display Port

The biggest upgrades were saved for the Mac Pro line which saw a slightly redesigned case and enclosure.  The starting price point also dropped $300 which could be significant in this economy.

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From Apple's PR:

“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.”

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 delivers up to 2.4 times the memory bandwidth while cutting memory latency up to 40 percent.** Every Mac Pro comes standard with the NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 512MB of GDDR3 memory, a high-performance graphics card with nearly three times greater performance when compared to the previous generation system.*** An optional ATI Radeon HD 4870 is available for even more performance. With both a Mini DisplayPort and DVI port, the new Mac Pro provides out-of-the-box support for the 24-inch Apple LED Cinema Display, the 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Display, or other DVI based displays.

The two models Apple offers:

$2499. One 2.66GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon 3500 Processor. 3GB of RAM. NVIDIA GeForce GT 120. 640GB HD.

$3299. Two 2.26GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5500 Processor. 6GB of RAM. NVIDIA GeForce GT 120. 640GB HD.

Apple also updated their wireless units with dual band technology.  Apple describes this technology...

Some Wi-Fi devices use the 2.4GHz wireless band, including iPhone, iPod touch, and devices using 802.11b/g. Other devices can use either 2.4GHz or the higher-speed 5GHz band, such as the latest 802.11n-based Mac computers and Apple TV. Instead of choosing one of the bands, AirPort Extreme now operates simultaneously on both bands, and your multiband devices automatically use the best available band. This means all your Wi-Fi devices get the fastest possible wireless performance and the best possible range.

This is exciting because Apple has ventured into the world of creating Virtual LANs on its consumer (prosumer?) wireless equipment.

Although everyone wanted to see tablets/netbooks and new form factors, this is a solid update for Apple and will appease the many people who've been waiting forever to purchase a new desktop Mac. It also lends credibility to the idea that Apple has moved to yearly update cycles.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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