When the world's Apple Stores came back on line a few minutes ago we saw the much-rumoured new range of iMacs for the first time. There also a brand new MacBook with LED display and seven-hour battery, a range of new Mac Minis and an all-new magic mouse. I'll be first in line for the mouse, since I've never been wholly satisfied with the current Mighty Mouse offering.
After the recent upgrades to the MacBook Pro line, Apple now go into 2010 with a completely new offering in all categories. Even the venerable Mac Pro, very much a niche seller, has had a recent makeover.
The iMac, which for many is the ideal desktop computer, now comes with either 21.5in or 27in widescreen LED-backlit displays, a new edge-to-edge glass design, a la MacBook Pro, and an all-aluminium enclosure. The Intel Core 2 Due processors start at 3.06 GHz, a big hike from the current range. There are also Core i5 and i7 quad-core processors for even more performance. All new iMacs come with a wireless keyboard and the new multi-touch mouse. The 3.05 GHz 21.5in model starts at £949 while the 27in i5 2.66 GHz is £1,599. I can see a 27in model gracing MacOldie Towers before the end of the year.
The new MacBook has a white polycarbonate unibody construction and runs a 2.26 GHz Core 2 processor, 2GB RAM (standard) and a 250GB disk. It's a lovely, svelte curve of a laptop that's destined for stardom with a price tag of £799. At 2.13 kg it is slightly heavier than the aluminium MacBook Pro. I'll be down to the Apple Store tomorrow to get a first glimpse of this latest model. The old MacBook was a good machine and there will be offers for those wanting an even cheaper entry-level machine.
Arguably the most interesting newcomer is the new wireless mouse, the multi-touch Magic Mouse. The top shell acts as one button or two and allows gestures and scrolling in the same way that you use a trackpad on a MacBook Pro. This I've got to have, even at £55 a pop.
I have a soft spot for the Mac Mini, the last of the new line-up. It was my first Mac and I am sure it was one of Apple's most successful recruiting agents before the iPhone came along. But they are no longer cheap. The basic 2.26 GHz/160GB Mini costs a whopping £500 while the faster 2.53 GHz with a 320 GB disk runs to £649. That's into iMac territory, even before you add in the screen, keyboard and mouse that come as standard with the desktop models.
There is just one glaring omission from today's announcements: The Mac Tablet or whatever it is to be called. That is likely to come in January, probably for announcement at the WDC. Apple will then have a full house of products to add more muscle to the current booming sales.