Newness in Appleland

Apple made new announcements yesterday. There were rumors over the last week that were absolutely all over the place about what would be included. As long as it wasn’t more stuff about the iPhone, I’d be happy! 🙂 After all, the iPhone has been in the way of the new OS, and has taken front stage for much of Apple’s public face over the last many months.

Well, the Kids from Cupertino came through, and the announcements yesterday were very Mac-centric. There was at least one surprise — a stay of execution for the MacMini, and its movement to a 64-bit processor — along with some expected changes. There were even some quiet announcements, like Gig-E on the Airport boxes, and a new RAID card for the MacPro. To me though, the most impressive was the new iMac.

Cased in anodized aluminum (like its bigger sibling, the MacPro), and sporting a glass-fronted LCD screen of either 20″ or 24″, this thing looks cool. Add to that up to 2.8Ghz Core 2 Extreme processor, up to 4GB RAM, up to 1TB internal drive and a nice video card, and suddenly you’ve got a box that I’d be happy to have on my desk. It’s even got a great looking new anodized aluminum keyboard to match the look of the new machine. As much as I thought the last iMac was a work of art, this new one far surpasses that design.

So what’s missing? Storage expansion. A second drive bay in the 24″ model would really be welcomed, and from what I can see on Apple’s site, it doesn’t have one. Having room for another internal drive at SATA speeds — or an eSATA connector, perhaps — is really key in selling this new iMac as a desktop machine for someone who doesn’t need the power of a MacPro, but needs plenty of storage. Someone like… oh, I dunno… maybe a fledgling pro photographer? 🙂 I don’t know what the inside looks like, but if there is an extra SATA connector somewhere, I suppose it’d be possible to retrofit the thing with either an eSATA connector in the case, or at least a SATA cable dangling from the thing. I’m sure someone in Appleland will do that research soon.

Now, there are some folks out there that don’t like the new look, saying it looks too much like a giant iPhone. I suppose it does a bit. Does that really make it a bad design? I don’t think so. It has a very modern look to it, and in a contemporary office setting, it’d fit right in. And since it can be arm mounted using a VESA mount, it’d be easy on your desk space, too.

I gotta admit, there’s a temptation to sell the Quad and put this on my desk…

  • At 24″, it’s more screen real estate than I currently have, although I could solve that with a new Apple display.
  • The power savings could be immense. The Quad chews through the kilowatts, and by comparison to the iMacs seems to be a competition-grade gastrointestinal competitor.
  • Then there’s the desk space. I could solve part of my desk space woes by putting my current monitor on an arm or pole — either of which I’d probably do with a shiny new iMac. However, not having the behemoth next to my desk would be nice.
  • My office currently sounds like an aircraft flight line from the fans in the Quad running all the time. Just the nature of the liquid-cooled beast. The new iMac is, I’m sure, much quieter, and that’d be a nice improvement.
  • I continue to question my need of the horsepower I have in the Quad. I’ve only seen all four cores exercised hard a couple of times, and the dual-coredness of my MacPro has so far done me well. And since the new iMac will go to 4GB RAM, there’s plenty of room for Photoshop (which in the CS2 version was limited to 3GB anyway — dunno about CS3). That’s my bread and butter at home, and although I use it a ton, I’ll probably never notice if a sharpening filter I run is done in five seconds or seven seconds… assuming there’s any performance difference at all with Photoshop between quad 2.4Ghz G5 cores and a pair of 2.8Ghz Core 2 Extreme cores.
  • I’m starting to get a bit of a green conscience (he says after driving his SUV!), and the fact that parts of the iMac are advertised as coming from recycled bits is appealing.

BTW, within hours of the announcement, there were already unpacking photos showing up on the net. What a hoot.

So there’s my take on part of the new crop of Apples from Cupertino. To my eyes, it looks like the crop’s doing well.