The Computer Blog

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Apple’s New Offerings- First Impressions and What’s Next!

I haven’t run out to the local Apple Store yet to actually see if they have any of the new hardware, so what I’m going to say to you about it is based on what I’ve seen on the Net and on the news. The first thing I’m going to comment on is how irked Apple has to be that most of the media attention is focused on Apple’s smallest and cheapest product, i.e., the Magic Mouse! Sure, no one’s ever seen a 27 inch iMac before nor one with a quad-core CPU; but there’s a recession on and the media’s going to cover what everyone can afford….the new mouse!

In a true and basic irony, I’m going to say that the thing I most likely will buy is a Magic Mouse or two, depending on how my actual tryouts at the Apple Store go. I still think it will be a tough sell; after all, through the years Logitech has usually been my mouse supplier, with an exception for a few Microsoft mice and the McAlly Bluetooth Mouse I use with my MacBook Pro when on the road. But I’m always open to something new and if the Magic Mouse in any way makes my computing life easier, I’ll buy one for each Mac I own, which is currently two.

Speaking of that, my wife asked me if I would like one of the new 27 inch iMacs. That’s kind of like asking an alcoholic if he’d like another beer, and I acknowledge the parallel. Frankly, though, I’d have to give up my 8 core Mac Pro to justify that; and as sweet machine as the new, big iMac is, that’s not something I want to do. The Mac Pro’s power and expandability still holds an edge even over the top of the line iMac, though the distinction might not hold much margin in it. Still, I’ve always professed my love for iMacs and I can’t wait to at least see the new machines in the Apple Store. There’s just no way our budget could handle a $2000 hit, which is what it would pan out to be since I’d want the Core i5 powered beauty with an ATI Radeon 4850 GPU.

Amazingly enough, the new Mac we probably will buy is the new MacBook. We’ve been looking for a portable machine we can throw into the back of our small airplane and haul around with us when we travel in it, and I wanted it to not be my current MacBook Pro because of all the personal information it contains. My wife bought me a Lenovo netbook to fill the airplane companion role; and while it works for that, its screen is too small to work comfortably with the graphical, web-based flight planner I use. And having experienced the funkiness of even old reliable Windows XP on my last trip, I want to go back to using a Mac because…and here it comes….it just works! The new MacBook will work with the 24 inch LED Cinema Displays we both own and the only info on it would be from stuff we either loaded up just before our trips or made during. Yes, a MacBook Air would be a better fit and save us about two more pounds of weight; but I’m not sure I want to spend even $100 more for a machine we can’t hook up to our displays without an adapter. It’s just too appealing a thought that we could finish up any on-the-road projects by simply plugging the MacBook into our set-ups and using it like a desktop.

And now that I’ve covered Apple’s current offerings, I’m going to make a prediction. The next new product we will see….other than the Apple tablet…will be the emergence of a 27 inch LED Cinema Display with a Mini-Display Port. I believe that Apple will eventually offer this as a replacement for the 30 inch Cinema Display just as they discontinued the 20 inch Cinema and replaced it with the 24 inch LED. It will cost less than the current 30 incher to make it more competitive but will, as Apple always seems to do, be priced higher than a competing 27 inch display. It will include the standard USB-based iChat camera and extra USB ports but that is all.

Stay tuned. I talked to a salesman at our local Apple Store last night and he told me they already had the new MacBooks and were putting the new iMacs on the floor today. That would mean I could play with a Magic Mouse even if they don’t have any retail versions for sale. I’ll post some kind of review on the mouse whether I buy one or not. My wife is already hot for one, sight unseen.

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