Apple quietly introduces new hardware

In an uncharacteristically low-key manner, the Apple crew released several new products this week including updated iMacs, a stand-alone track pad as well as announcing the specs on the updated Mac Pro line due and new 27″ Cinema Display out in August. The new iMacs look like sweet machines… with faster processors, improved graphics and a slew of options allowing you to configure everything from a budget machine to image processing workhorse — check out the specs here. Probably the most impressive feature of the iMac is the crystal-clear screen. If you’ve ever seen one, you’ll know what I mean… they are stunning.

Also announced was the new Magic Trackpad input device. The jury is out on how useful this thing is. Personally, I’m a mouse guy and really don’t use the trackpad on my MacBook Pro all that much. But, at $69 the trackpad provides me with a relatively inexpensive escape from the Apple store (my impulse purchases can easily top that)! Anyways, like the iMacs the trackpad shows immediate availability on the online Apple Store.

The improvements to the Mac Pro line are welcome, though incremental and many are suggesting the entire line is in need of a cosmetic overhaul. Apple has stuck with this industrial looking design since the G5 towers and frankly it’s getting a little long in the tooth. However, the target demographic for this kind of horsepower likely doesn’t care what the box looks like. The Mac Pro moved past of the average consumer’s needs a few iterations ago.

Like the iMac display, Apple’s Cinema Displays have long been considered to be top-of-the-line in the monitor world. The new 27″ Cinema Display (coming in September) bests the current 24″ offering for only $100 more (US prices). Besides showing pretty pictures, the Display also has only one cable (with three ends) that provides power to your MacBook, access to a 3-port USB hub as well as the Mini-DV display input. As a MacBook Pro user I’d love one of these things, but I’d be hard-pressed to justify spending a grand on it. I use a calibrated 24″ LG monitor on the desktop that I bought for less than $200.

If you go the budget route, you can spend the difference on one of the new unlocked iPhone 4 models that goes on sale the Friday (July 30) in 17 more countries (including Canada). Pricing and availability have not yet been posted to the Canadian Apple website, so stay tuned.

(Sigh) this could be an expensive week…

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