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The New iMac: Keeping Up With the Joneses

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Well, those late rumors of updated iMacs and Mac minis coming today proved to be true. The Apple Store went down for a while this morning, and when it came back, refreshed versions of all of Apple’s (s aapl) desktops, including the Mac Pro, had appeared.

Even though I just made an iMac purchase last year, and will be buying one of the new Mac minis, the iMac refresh does make the machine very appealing, even if there are very few surprises in the changes to the computer.

Not least among the iMac’s improvements is a lower price point for the entry-level model boasting the larger, 24-inch screen. The new price for that starts at $1,499, which is the same price point occupied by the older, premium 20-inch just yesterday.

Another new and notable feature common to every iMac offered is the inclusion of NVIDIA graphics hardware across the board. While the two less expensive machines come with the same NVIDIA GeForce 9400M that’s in the Macbook as a standard component, the two pricier models come with the NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 (256MB) and NVIDIA GeForce GT 130 (512 MB) respectively. Apple’s move to integrated graphics card in the two cheaper iMacs probably saved them some money, which could account for the boost in specs elsewhere. No graphics card upgrades are available for those two models. People who favor ATI hardware will have to get the optional upgrade available for both top-end iMacs, which switches the NVIDIA card out for an ATI Radeon HD 4850 with 512MB.

Other changes include the capacity of the hard drive included standard, which moves from 250GB to 320GB on the entry level model, doubles to 640GB on the two mid-priced machines, and jumps to 1TB for the top of the line iMac. 1TB upgrade options are available for all computers in the line-up.

All models except the base now come standard with 4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM, and you have the option to bump that up to a whopping 8GB, for the small one-time fee of an extra $1,000. Talk about an instance where getting aftermarket RAM is probably best. The support for double the RAM, along with the processor improvements (2.4 to 2.66GHz on the base, 2.8 to 2.93 and 3.06GHz remains the same at the top end), definitely make this a machine to contend with when fully maxed out with upgrades.

The new iMacs do away with the FireWire 400 port, as has been the trend with Apple’s latest releases. It does still provide FireWire 800 connectivity, along with four USB 2.0 ports. The Mini-DVI port has been replaced with a Mini DisplayPort, as is also now standard on Mac machines, and the optical digital audio out/in and headphone/microphone are still included.

Apple is also touting the environmental friendliness of their new machine, in keeping with their marketing surrounding their other products. It looks like it really is greener than ever, and I’m green with envy at friends who are purchasing one. Release day is always a bittersweet day, since your own hardware quickly becomes “the previous model.” Ah well, c’est la vie.

16 Responses to “The New iMac: Keeping Up With the Joneses”

  1. Kevin Cox

    I was informed of an upgrade about three or four days ago. I have dial -up and always go to my sister’s house to get my upgrades. When I got here and tried the ‘upgrades’ selection, it said I had ‘no upgrades’ at this time.
    Did I miss my opportunity? Did I hit the wrong button and screw myself out of that upgrade?
    Where could I find out what that upgrade was and try to retrieve it?

  2. Greentooth

    I have finally taken the plunge and ordered my 1st imac 24″ 2.93 as i have finally had enough of my 2 yr old pc. Always updating,not responding etc etc etc etc. It has to be worth the extra dosh!!!

  3. Save your money. Buy a $250 Dell Mini, buy OSX, and install it on the Dell Mini. Voila, cheaper even than Apple’s lowest price product, the Mac Mini. OSX runs perfect on Mac Mini.

    Plus you get a solid state drive, and a portable netbook to boot! Great savings and great utility!

  4. I don’t think I’d have the nerve to try but I was on a flight from JFK to the UK a while back and the guy in front came on with a brand new 20″ iMac.

    I’d much rather Apple simply sorted out their UK pricing structure though.

  5. Once again apple has told its customers “take it or leave it.” No more firewire 400 and no option fora matte screen. Microsoft may be the dark side, but Apple is getting darker by the minute.

  6. Justin V

    Good luck getting your new imac back from the US GaryJ. I recently attempted to go overseas with my 24 inch imac. Nightmare. would have cost me 300 bucks in extra flight charges even before buying a good protective case for it. I ended up buying a new macbook instead. I miss my imac :(

    I like the fact that they reduced the price of the lowest 24 inch imac though. Plus it got another USB something I’m always wrestling with. I don’t like the fact that my imac is now considered a generation old. but it happens.

  7. Personally I think Apple have shot themselves in the Foot with this upgrade.

    I would dearly love to replace my ageing PC with an iMac but the UK price of £1799 puts the high end machine out of most peoples budgets (especially given the current economic climate).

    What’s more gauling for me though is that the US price of $2199 actually equates to £1555.69 at todays exchange rates.

    Meaning that in the UK we’re expected to pay the equivalent of $2543.16 US for the same machine. Go figure?!?

    Anyone know where I can get cheap flights to the US?

  8. This is quite disappointing. As a 25-year Mac user, I’ve seen Apple do this over and over. They finally build some sales momentum, then instead of passing along any economies of scale to customers in the form of lower prices, they hold the line on prices or even raise them.

    Yes, the iMac/eMac lines once had an entry-level model at $799 here in the U.S. It’s really unfortunate they didn’t lower the entry-level iMac price this time around. The lowest-priced all-in-one is 50% higher than it used to be ($1,199)!

    I guess you could make the argument that with display prices dropping, the Mini is less, but it’s not that good a value. The all-in-one form factor has always represented the best overall value, and there Apple’s pricing themselves out of most of the market, especially in this economy.

  9. For all the arguments on margins and not getting into price wars and what-not, I still can’t get that $799 Indigo iMac out of my head from many years ago. If Apple could put out a new, stripped down affordable model then, it stands to reason that they could now. $1,199 for an entry level iMac (Mini notwithstanding) just seems a little too high.

    Just sayin.’