Apple refreshes iMac, MacBook, Mac mini systems


— 2:10 PM on October 20, 2009

On the heels of its record-breaking financial results, Apple has revamped its consumer Mac line with new, larger-screened iMacs, a polycarbonate unibody MacBook, and a faster Mac mini. Despite all the rumors, though, starting prices haven't gone down a dime—perhaps last quarter's 17% increase in Mac unit sales had something to do with that.

The new iMacs might not be any cheaper, but they definitely deliver a lot more for your money. Priced at $1,199, the base iMac now features a 21.5" 1920x1080 display, a 3.06GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive—better in every respect than the previous generation.

Apple also offers a 27" model with a 2560x1440 display resolution, $1,699 starting price tag, and Radeon HD 4670 graphics. If you have $1,999 to spare, you can step up to a 27" iMac with a 2.66GHz Intel Core i5 processor and a Radeon HD 4850 graphics processor. Cheaper iMac models are only available with Core 2 CPUs, though, so don't think you can customize the base model with some Nehalem goodness and skip the premium.

Apple also ships the new iMacs with a new Bluetooth multi-touch mouse dubbed the Magic Mouse. You can see images of it in the gallery below, but here's how Apple describes it:

In addition to its smooth, seamless top-shell design that acts as one button or two, Magic Mouse features a Multi-Touch surface with gesture support. Scroll vertically, horizontally, and diagonally — a full 360 degrees — simply by touching anywhere on the top surface. With a greater surface area for scrolling, you can get around a long timeline in iMovie, through a lengthy web page in Safari, or around a set of images in iPhoto more efficiently. You can also swipe through pages in Safari or photos in iPhoto with two fingers.

The Magic Mouse can be bought separately for $69. You should be able to use it on previous Macs running OS X 10.5.8 or later, although Windows users will probably need to wait for new Boot Camp drivers.

Moving on, the new-and-improved MacBook conserves its trademark white plastic and $999 price tag, but Apple now builds it using a polycarbonate unibody design. The company has also thrown in an LED-backlit display, a seven-hour battery, a 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo, and a 250GB hard drive—again, stark improvements over the previous model. Even the weight has gone done from 5 to 4.7 lbs for the new MacBook.

Finally, the Mac mini has gotten a faster CPU, more RAM, and more storage capacity, but it looks the same and has the same $599 price as before. Apple has, however, added a $999 variant dubbed the Mac mini with Snow Leopard server, which comes with dual 500GB hard drives and no optical drive. Perhaps this is Apple's answer to Windows Home Server systems, although it's a pricey one if so.

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