Apple Pumps Up the Mini and Revamps iMacs

Posted on March 4, 2009. Filed under: Apple | Tags: , , , |

By Stephen Williams


The new version of Apple’s Mac Mini, which failed to appear two months ago at the Macworld Expo, emerged today, and while it’s billed as “faster” and “greener,” the Mini remains a small desktop computer with the soul of a laptop.

Apple has also upgraded the MacPro tower and the iMac line, which now offers a 24-inch display at the same price, $1,499 as the older 20-inch model. (The 20-inch remains, and now costs $1,199.)

With a starting price of $599, the Mini is deeply indebted to the parts bin at Apple: As with the revamped aluminum-body MacBooks released last fall, the new Mini has an Intel 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo chip and an Nvidia GeForce 9400M graphics card. There’s a slot-loading optical drive/burner, and — probably because the Mini has no monitor built-in and needs to be more flexible — Apple has put in a Mini-DVI video connector, as well as the new Mini DisplayPort (sorry about all those “mini”s). Wireless and Bluetooth come along as well.

What’s also new is five — count ‘em, five — U.S.B. connections packed onto the back panel of the Mini. Either Apple wants to put the U.S.B. hub-makers out of business, or it’s convinced that more is much better, U.S.B. port-wise.

The mini steps up to $799 if you opt to increase its hard-drive size from 120 gigabytes to 360, and double the memory to two gigabytes. As for being green, Apple claims the computer is super-efficient, using 45 percent less power at idle than its predecessor. My solution for saving energy at idle: shut down the computer.

As for the new 24-inch iMac at $1,499…well, it’s a deal-maker, I think, for those seeking an all-in-one, out-of-the-box computer (there’s also the loss-leader 20-inch iMac at $1,199, and the iMac range tops out at $2,199 with all the bells and whistles). Details on the new desktops are here.

All the new Macs include the current OS, Leopard, as well as the inventive iLife ’09 suite of software, including the revamped iPhoto app that my colleague Rik Fairlie wrote about in Gadgetwise a few weeks ago.

Today’s announcements, along with last week’s unveiling of the new Safari 4 Web browser and tweaks to the MacBook and MacPro notebook lines, pretty much complete the Macintosh upgrades across the board. What to watch for next: a smaller iPhone 3G, a new iPod to replace the classic. And the new operating system, Snow Leopard.



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