Apple's online store went down last night, a signal that new (updated) products are rolling off the assembly lines. They've beefed up the Mac Pro line of desktops, iMacs, and the Cinema Display, and introduced their mildly-anticipated, Magic Trackpad.
The Mac Pro's upgrade is long overdue and Apple certainly didn't scrimp on the goods. The biggest boost comes from the new line of Intel Xeon chips. All Pro's come with the server-class processors in either quad core or six core flavors. The entry level Pro comes with the single chip, quad-core setup, at the traditional entry-level price of $2,499. The eight-core, dual-CPU setup will cost $3,499, and the grand-daddy of Mac Pros, the 12-core system, can be yours for the low, low, price of $4,999. All of these processors range in speeds from 2.26 GHz to 3.33 GHz, and are based on a single die design for increased efficiency and speed.
The now dated 24'' Apple Cinema Display will have to live in the shadow of its new 27'' companion, boasting a 2560 x 1440 resolution (16:9), but with a $999 price tag, they might sit on the shelves for a while.
The iMac update brings the option of Core i3, i5, and i7 processors to the table, as well as options for a ATI Radeon HD GPU. Each model has two options for graphics cards. The 21.5'' models can come equipped with a Radeon HD 4670 (256MB GDDR3) or a 5670 (512MB GDDR3) and the 27'' version is available with the 5670 and the Radeon HD 5750 with a generous 1GB of GDDR3 memory. Users can also integrate solid-state drives or a traditional drive up to 2TB in size. Finally, we have Apple's new Magic Trackpad. Simply put, it is a wireless trackpad like the one found on your laptop. At $69, the device could be an inexpensive and stylish way to take control of your media center or computer for afar. Is it practical? Sort of. It is intuitive, and useful, but least of all necessary. There are cheaper options out there, such as wireless mice, or for iPhone owners, Logitech's free app, Touch Mouse. It will undoubtedly have a place in many an Apple fan's home, but it isn't expected to revolutionize the way we use our devices.
There you have it. Apple has quietly churned out new models of their traditional line of machines and everything is currently available from their online store. With the exception of the Radeon HD cards in the iMacs and the insane Xeon CPU rigs in the Pro line, Apple's upgrades seem like no brainers. The MacPro and Cinema Display seem to be out of the range for most consumers, but in a world where mobile devices and laptops are king, I can already hear the stampede of production/design studios clamoring to get their hands on one of the perforated, aluminum beasts.