Apple gets ready for the holidays, Windows 7

Unibody white Macbook.Just two days before the Windows 7 launch, Apple made sweeping changes to its Mac lineup, adding a few new toys for holiday buyers along the way. Most notable among the update was the iMac overhaul and entry-level Macbook redesign. The Mac Mini also caught some upgrades, and Apple introduced the Magic Mouse, a touchpad and mouse blended into on sexy little device.

The first thing you’ll notice about the new iMac is size. It’s up to 21.5″ and 27″, both in a 16:9 aspect ratio. The computer also went from aluminum/polycarbonate to the unibody styling of the Macbook Pro line, adding an edge-to-edge glass display that looks really amazing. Apple also added the ability to use the 27″ iMac as a secondary display via an integrated Display Port.

As for internals, there are some nice upgrades but one big missing feature: Blu-ray support. Granted, the Display Port on the 27″ model gives you the option to watch your HD movies on a brilliant screen, but integrating Blu-ray would have been really nice. The iMac can now be purchased with Core i5/i7 chips, the newest chips from Intel.

The entry-level Macbook has been long overdue for a redesign and finally got one. Apple took it the Unibody route, though still in white polycarbonate. The touchpad now matches the Macbook Pro line and fully supports gestures, and the bottom has a non-slip finish added. Other than that things have remained essentially the same.

Magic Mouse
I’ve been looking for a mouse for my Macbook Pro for some time, but I never found anything I liked enough to give up on gestures. Apple’s Magic Mouse answers that problem by integrating a capacitive touchpad into the surface of the mouse. It’s a really fantastic design in my mind, giving you the control of a gliding mouse with the convenience of gestures for navigating webpages, zooming, and the like. The new mouse will run you $69.

The Rest
The rest of the updates were less interesting. You can now purchase a server version of the Mac Mini, which sort of killed the rumors that Apple would position it as an HTPC. Seems like there’s still some confusion about where that product will land in Apple’s lineup. There’s also a redesigned remote that now matches the iMac/Macbook Pro design aesthetic (instead of that glowing white plastic) for $16. Apple also announced upgrades for the Airport Extreme Base Station and the Time Capsule that are shipping now. There have been antenna redesigns and a couple software tweaks that supposedly reduce backup time and increase network range and reception.

All in all, Apple made some welcome changes to the Mac line, strengthening the all-in-one iMac and giving the Macbook a sorely need redesign. The Magic Mouse probably won’t be the runaway peripheral of the season, but it’s definitely cool and I really want one.


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