Today, Apple pulled a rabbit out of their hats. What was initially expected to be a simple iPad Mini unveiling turned into almost complete refresh of their product lineup with the Mac Mini, iMac and MacBook Pro all receiving facelifts. Some of the revisions are minimal at best, yet there should be enough changes here to keep Apple’s PC competitors fresh and up to date.
The New 13” MacBook Pro w/ Retina Display
Apple’s wildly successful 13” MacBook Pro has undergone a ground up facelift with a new unibody which is just three-quarters of an inch thick. The notebook’s weight has been reduced as well to just 3.5 lbs and it boasts a Retina Display with a resolution of 2560 x 1600. Most importantly for professionals and on-the-go users, Apple has announced that they are significantly cutting the reflections thrown off from this stunning IPS panel.
As with other MacBook Pros, the refreshed model will feature a backlit keyboard and Facetime HD camera. Connectivity is handled through through multiple ports: Thunderbolt, USB 3.0 and HDMI. An SD card slot is included, but a standard DVD drive has not been included due to space constraints. Unfortunately, the battery within the Pro’s unibody shell isn’t user replaceable but it is supposed to last up to 7 hours before a recharge is required.
Changes run internally too with processor upgrades to dual core Ivy Bridge processors but unfortunately, Apple has cut costs by using the integrated Intel HD4000 graphics rather than a more capable discrete stand-alone GPU. Meanwhile, 8GB of memory comes standard and traditional spindle-based hard drives have been thrown to the curb in favor of solid state storage. Unfortunately, moving to an all-flash storage system has necessitated a storage space reduction so the largest capacity available on the new MacBook Pro will be just 768GB.
As expected, pricing is in the nose-bleed section with the lowest end Pro (equipped with 128GB of storage and a 2.5GHz i5 processor) going for $1700. Luckily, the slightly older, less expensive MacBook Pro without the Retina Display will stick around for the time being and start at just $1199.
Many seem to forget the compact Mac Mini’s presence within the market. It actually represents something of an oddity since it is the only mass market product from Apple that is user upgradeable. This also happens to be one of the smallest, most stylish computers currently on the market but its hardware was in desperate need of an upgrade.
The changes Apple instituted with this product are completely internal with the inclusion of mobile Ivy Bridge processors and integrated graphics. The popular minimalist design and dimensions of the previous model have been retained.
As before, the Mini will be available in two flavors: standard and as well as a “server” version with higher specifications. This latter model receives a 2.3GHz quad core Ivy Bridge processor, two 1TB hard drives (or an SSD option) and 4GB of memory for $999. Meanwhile, the standard Mac Mini now comes with a 2.5GHz dual core Ivy Bridge processor, 4GB memory and a 500GB while retailing for $599. This option is customizable with up to 16GB of memory and both hard drive and SSD upgrades. Since the Mini uses Intel’s mobile processors, it is expected to only consume about 11W when idling and less than 30W under typical load conditions.
After seven generations, Apple’s ubiquitous iMac continues to evolve with a new 2012 model that’s thinner, faster and better looking than ever before. While the optical drive has been ditched, it now boasts a stunning 5 millimetre thick edge design and some of the best screen options to ever be available on an all-in-one computer.
The iMac now features two screen options: a standard 21.5 inch 1920×1080 layout or an awe-inspiring 27 inch 2560×1440 design. Each of these boasts IPS technology for excellent color reproduction, 300 nits of brightness and factory calibration to ensure RGB standards are met right out of the box. Apple has also included a proprietary anti reflection coating in order to cut down on screen glare and eye fatigue in high light environments.
Much like the other products mentioned above, the iMac receives some significant hardware upgrades by way of quad core Ivy Bridge CPUs and mobile graphics cards featuring NVIDIA’s Kepler architecture. There’s also space for up to 32GB of memory and 768GB of flash storage instead of the default hard drive. I/O options include Thunderbolt, USB 3.0 and an SD card reader.
If storage capacity is a concern, Apple will be offering traditional HDD configurations of up to 3TB. The hard drive configs come with Apple’s Fusion Drive which incorporates 128GB of flash storage alongside the hard drive for improved application boot times. For those wondering, Fusion Drive is the Mac equivalent of SSC caching.