Apple Take Excitement to the Macs – New Ivy Bridge iMacs, Mac Mini, 13” Retina MacBook Pro

Apple Take Excitement to the Macs – New Ivy Bridge iMacs, Mac Mini, 13” Retina MacBook Pro

Apple have unveiled a slew of new and updated products in a special media event in San Francisco. Aside from the iPad Mini and 4th-generation iPad discussed in an earlier post, most notable among the new arrivals was the new 13” Retina MacBook Pro, while the hotly-anticipated Ivy Bridge iMacs and an upgraded Mac Mini also made their debuts today. Here’s a brief rundown of what was in store.

MacBook Pro
The incredibly thin new 13” Retina MacBook Pro is now just 0.75” thick and weighs just 3.5 pounds20% thinner and 1 pound lighter than before. As with the 15” Retina model, there’s no longer room for an optical drive, but at a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels – four times the number of the previous generation MBP – that Retina display with 75% reduced reflection and 178 degree viewing angle makes up for a lot. Also now sporting an HDMI out and flash storage capacity of up to 768GB, the 13” Retina MacBook Pro starts from £1449 for the base 2.5GHz dual-core i5 128GB model, rising to £1699 for the 256GB version. The new 13-incher is available from today, but for those not bothered about the Retina display, the current non-Retina models are still available at the same price as before.

iMac
The new iMac closely resembles its predecessor, at least from the front, retaining as it does the much-maligned ‘chin’ beneath the display. However, the display glass now runs all the way to the edge, and from the rear, it’s a totally different shape, a bulge at the centre of the back panel gradually tapering to a 5mm thickness at the edge where it meets the display. It looks stunning in the images, and promises to be even more so in the metal. The display is fully laminated to the glass, dispensing with the 2mm air gap that formed part of the construction of the previous model. This astonishing 80% reduction in thickness means that the vertical optical drive has finally bitten the dust, as it has in the Retina laptops.
Following much speculation that the new iMac would have a Retina display, consumers may or may not be disappointed with the standard, non-Retina LED displays that the new models sport. However, with IPS technology for a wide viewing angle and a special anti-reflective coating that’s 75% less reflective than before, they should still be pretty impressive. The 21.5” model offers the same 1920 x 1080 resolution as before, as does the 27” with its 2560 x 1440 spec. A 720p Facetime HD camera, dual microphones, stereo speakers, NVIDIA Kepler graphics and 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi round out the specifications.
You can get the new iMac configured with either a 1TB or 3TB HDD or up to 768GB of flash SSD storage, but a third option is to go for Apple’s new Fusion Drive, which is essentially similar to a hybrid drive such as Seagate’s Momentus XT. A combination of a 128GB SSD and a 1 or 3TB HDD, this comes pre-configured with Mountain Lion and all Apple’s native apps on the flash partition, leaving you ample room for storage on the HD partition. This promises lightning-fast performance from the apps you use most day-to-day, coupled with the kind of storage capacity not yet achievable via an SSD alone. It’ll be interesting to see how much this sets you back as a CTO option.

Bundled, as before, with Apple’s wireless keyboard and magic mouse, the new 21.5” iMac will start at £1099 for the base 2.7GHz i5 1TB 8GB model when it ships in November, rising to £1249 for the 2.9GHz model. The base 27” 2.9GHz i5 1TB 8GB will be available in December for £1499, with the 3.2GHz i5 1TB 8GB version coming out at £1699. Quad-core i7 processors will be available as a CTO option on the higher-priced 21.5 and 27” versions.

Mac Mini
The smallest, most affordable Mac also gets a much-needed Ivy Bridge refresh, starting at £499 for the 2.5GHz dual-core i5 version, rising to £679 for the 2.3GHz quad-core i7 model. There’s also a server version available with twin 1TB hard drives for £849. All models ship with 4GB RAM and Intel HD Graphics 4000.

Mac Tips, Tricks & Hacks Vol.1 On Sale Today

Another Imagine Bookazine breaks cover today. Mac Tips, Tricks & Hacks Vol.1 is a weighty compendium of tips, hidden features, secret shortcuts and step-by-step guides to some of the more common hardware modifications faced by Mac owners. This was a bit of a labour of love for me, as I contributed a total of 18 pages to this inaugural volume, over a set of 6 tutorial articles.
Contributions from me include guides on how to install extra RAM and hard drives into a Mac Pro, use a Mac Mini as either a Time Capsule or a web server, replace the hard drive in a Mac Mini, replace the battery in a MacBook Air and replace the optical drive in a MacBook Pro.
Packed to the gills with a lot of other useful stuff that wasn’t written by me, you should be able to find the book in WHSmiths, but if not, it’s available online for £12.99 at http://www.imagineshop.co.uk/bookazines.