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#725: New Apple Product Announcements: Mac Pros, iMacs, Magic Trackpad and more...


Happy Tuesday,

We are full speed ahead preparing our newest store in the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester, NH, for our most important asset—you, our customers. Katie sent a report to the company with a near-final layout, and I’m getting ready to order repair benches, electrostatic discharge (ESD) equipment to keep your iStuff safe in repair, cabinets, tools, chairs, software, shelving, and everything needed to ensure our new store has an efficient facility for our customers. Kerry has been a huge help in coordinating these interviews around everyone’s schedules.

Our experience honing our second store, in South Burlington, VT, is informing the decisions we’re making in this new location. There is a ton to figure out logistically, and I can’t wait to meet with the best applicants to Manchester technical positions in the coming week. It’s hard to believe the South Burlington store opened almost four years ago; we’ve all learned so much and continue to learn every day.

Apple announced refreshed iMacs, Mac Pros, a new trackpad, a revolutionary battery charger, and a gigantic 27-inch Cinema Display. If you were tiring of your year-old Mac Pro, take comfort that the new models are available with up to 12 cores and are good for 50% higher performance than the last generation. Solid state drives are now available in the Mac Pro as well as in the iMac. Now is a great time to think about trading in your old computer!

As always, thanks for reading, and keep in touch.


  New iMacs Updated Today  

Earlier this morning, Apple released significant updates to the iMac line. Largely performance-oriented, the update introduced Intel Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 processors across the line. Previously reserved for the highest tiered 27-inch iMac as well as CTO machines, the standard inclusion of “Core i” processors will undoubtedly give all of the machines a well-deserved speed boost.

The second most significant enhancement is the addition of discreet graphics to every iMac. While the base model 21.5-inch machine previously relied on the integrated 9400M graphics card, all models have now been upgraded with dedicated ATI Radeon cards. At the base level, the 21.5-inch machine includes the ATI Radeon HD 4670 with 256MB GDDR3 SDRAM.

The mid-range 21.5-inch and 27-inch machines feature the Radeon HD 5670 with 512MB GDDR3, and the highest end 27-inch features the blazing fast HD 5750 with a whopping 1GB of GDDR5 SDRAM! These discreet cards have more than enough horsepower to drive the latest creative software and 3D games, and are optimized to deliver crisp and vivid HD video playback.

Although more minor in stature, Apple has touched on many of the other components of the iMac as well. The LED backlit displays feature IPS technology to deliver an unprecedented viewing angle, and the SD card reader now supports the SDXC format which enables compatibility with the highest-capacity SD cards.

Apple has also included the option for a secondary solid state drive in the 27-inch machines. Users can select a 256GB SSD as their primary drive or they can supplement it with a high capacity SATA drive. Among the many benefits of a SSD are better reliability and faster startup/application launch times.

Though all four standard configurations of the iMac still include Apple’s revolutionary Magic Mouse and Bluetooth Keyboard, for an additional $69 users can add on the brand new Magic Trackpad (more on this below). This new product brings the gesture-based functionality that notebook Mac users have enjoyed since late 2008 to the desktop realm.

While the new iMac models preserve the same design introduced in October of last year, their updated components bring a welcome refresh to the line. With dual-core and quad-core configurations available, the iMac continues to blur the lines in between a consumer and professional workstation. For those on the fence deciding if an iMac would meet their professional needs, today’s update makes the ultra stylish all-in-one a more viable solution than ever.

iMac 21.5in 3.06GHz i3 – $1199.99
iMac 21.5in 3.20GHz i3 – $1499.99
iMac 27in 3.20GHz i3 – $1699.99
iMac 27in 2.8GHz i5 – $1999.99

See all iMacs here!

  New Mac Pros Take It To the Limit: 12-Cores  

With virtually no fanfare (save for the persistent rumors), Apple announced new Mac Pros today, much to the delight of creative professionals everywhere.

The updated Mac Pro now features up to 12 processing cores and “up to 50% greater performance than the previous generation,” Apple states. The latest quad-core and 6-core Intel Xeon processors can be found inside the new machines, giving them a long-awaited boost of power.

The Mac Pros also include all-new ATI graphics and an option for up to four 512GB solid state drives (pricey, but worthwhile to have the choice, yes?). There are also options to upgrade the graphics to a pair of video cards or to go all out with a 1GB HD 5870 card as Engadget puts it, “if you’re keen on maxing out those frame rates.”

The enclosure looks to be almost identical to the end-user, since Apple has found a way to make expansion easy and look incredibly sleek (though you might want to bulk up before you plan on moving it around). The hard drive bays are still located in the same section of the tower, and are expandable to 8TB (yep, terabytes), by the way.

The Mac Pro has also expanded its display options. There are now two Mini DisplayPorts and one dual-link DVI port located on the back. The addition of the second Mini DisplayPort output allows customers to connect two LED Cinema Displays without an additional graphics card or adapter. The dual-link DVI port supports legacy DVI-based displays with a resolution up to 2560 × 1600 pixels. 

Of course, Apple has continued to accelerate their environmental efforts as well. The Mac Pro is BFR-free (brominated flame retardant-free) and all internal cables are PVC-free. Again, the enclosure has stayed solid aluminum, which is highly recyclable. It is rated EPEAT Gold and standard configurations meet ENERGY STAR 5.0 requirements.*

With all of these changes, the Mac Pro becomes the solid winner as a pro machine again, as the name should imply. The iMac kept coming so close in recent years that for the money, many people chose that instead. No more. The Mac Pro, with all of its expandability, power and connectivity features, is the Mac to choose for longevity and demanding professional work.

Quad-Core Mac Pro: from $2499.99
8-Core Mac Pro: from $3299.99

12-Core Mac Pros look to start at $4999.99.

Click here to view all Mac Pros!

*Only Mac Pros configured with a Mac Pro RAID Card or Fibre Channel card do not meet ENERGY STAR and EPEAT requirements.

  Get Your Red Hot Pixels! New 27-inch Apple Display Unveiled  

Apple has announced an brand new, 27-inch version of its popular LED Cinema Display. The 27-inch Cinema Display will replace the older 24-inch model when it goes on sale in September. The 24-inch Cinema Display is now on $100 off, on sale for $799.99.

The new 27-inch LED Cinema Display has a stunning 2560 × 1440 resolution and 60 percent more screen real estate than the 24-inch model. The new Cinema Display has a 16×9 edge-to-edge glass display with vivid colors and exceptionally high contrast. It uses a premium display technology called in-plane switching (IPS) to provide a brilliant image across an ultra-wide 178 degree viewing angle.

Designed as a companion for any Mac notebook or desktop, the 27-inch display includes a built-in iSight video camera for video conferencing, an integrated MagSafe charger to keep Mac notebooks charged, built-in Mini DisplayPort connectivity for video and audio input and a powered three-port USB 2.0 hub to keep iPhone or iPod synced and charged.

The new LED Cinema Display has some green features as well. It now includes a new ambient light sensor which automatically adjusts the display brightness based on external lighting conditions and uses only as much energy as necessary. Made with mercury-free LED technology, arsenic-free glass and highly recyclable materials, the LED Cinema Display meets stringent Energy Star 5.0 requirements and achieves EPEAT Gold status. The new display contains no brominated flame retardants and all cables and components are PVC-free.

Again, the new LED Cinema Display will be available in September for $999.99. The LED Cinema Display requires a Mac with Mini DisplayPort. As of press time, a product description wasn’t available yet, so keep checking back here for updates!

  Apple Introduces Magic Trackpad  

Do you enjoy using Multi-Touch gestures on your iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad to scroll, swipe, pinch, and zoom through photos, songs, documents and other content? Like the idea of a Multi-Touch trackpad for your desktop Mac, similar to the trackpad used on the MacBook and MacBook Pro? Do you enjoy the Magic Mouse but wish it supported more Multi-Touch gestures? Well, your moment has arrived in the form of the brand-new (and much rumored) Magic Trackpad.

Introduced early Tuesday morning, the Magic Trackpad is the first Multi-Touch trackpad designed to work with your Mac desktop computer. It’s also the largest Multi-Touch trackpad ever, nearly 80 percent larger than the built-in trackpad on the MacBook Pro. Its large size provides plenty of room to perform gestures. Speaking of gestures, Magic Trackpad supports a full set of them, giving you a whole new way to control and interact with what’s on your screen. Swiping through pages online is reputed to feel just like flipping through pages in a book or magazine. Inertial scrolling makes moving up and down a page more natural than ever. Because the entire surface of Magic Trackpad is a button, you can click on objects just as you would using a traditional mouse.

Magic Trackpad connects to your Mac via Bluetooth wireless technology, and can be used in place of a mouse or in conjunction with one. Go from typing to gesturing in one motion, or do both at the same time. Magic Trackpad sits at the same height and angle as the Apple Wireless Keyboard, so you can go from trackpad to keyboard in one seamless motion.

I was at Macworld when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone in 2007. I remember how people were already hoping that the then revolutionary Multi-Touch gestures would somehow make their way to notebook and desktop Macs. They day is now here. Not quite to the level of the iPhone—with on-screen gestures—but close.

Magic Trackpad requires a Mac with Bluetooth wireless technology (most Macs shipping since 2005 have this), Mac OS X v10.6.4 or later, and Latest Magic Trackpad software update. It requires two AA batteries (included) to operate. Apple recommends using rechargeable AA batteries, and is actually now offering a Apple Battery Charger for this purpose. For more on that, click here to read the info on the blog, Barkings!

  Tech Tails TV: Take 2.0!  

Here’s some entertainment news you won’t read in Variety Magazine. A few months ago we experimented with hosting our bi-weekly Tech Tails TV web show on Tech Tails TV is our live web show where we repair and troubleshoot Macs, gossip about industry news, and answer all of your Apple-related questions. While this was a fairly successful endeavor, we struggled a little with broadcast quality (particularly audio) as well as timing issues. Because of that, Tech Tails TV is moving to a different network and a different broadcast time.

Forget “same bat-time, same bat-location”: Tech Tails TV will now broadcast every other Monday at 2:00 PM EST, starting Monday August 2.

The brilliant and captivating Apple technician Rebecca Kraemer. will be hosting most episodes of Tech Tails TV. She’ll be joined by other techs from Small Dog Electronics, as well as a rotating roster of special guests.

To watch the all-new version of Tech Tails TV, visit our channel at at Monday, August 2 at 2:00 PM EST. Click here to subscribe to the Tech Tails TV broadcast calendar in your iCal calendar.

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