Apple issued a round of hardware updates this week targeting two of its most loyal and vital customer bases.
New versions of the iMac and Mac Pro refresh the Macintosh's desktop offerings, and update two machines that can trace a lineage back more than two decades to the earliest years of the Mac platform.
The iMac update continues a line of all-in-one models that have been synonymous with Apple ever since the first Mac models debuted in 1984. The update adds considerable muscle to the iMac, bringing Intel core i3, i5 and i7 chips with dual-core and quad-core configurations, along with new ATI graphics cards and display hardware.
The refresh will increase the appeal of the iMac as a home system for consumers, and for Apple's long-standing education market. The all-in-one systems have been a favourite with educational buyers for years and, with back-to-school buying about to hit in full force, Apple is expecting to build on what have already been record-setting educational sales.
The high-end Mac Pro tower has also been given an infusion of power. Much like the iMac, the updates overhaul a system and target market that go back to the 1980s and the days of the Mac II and the dawn of desktop publishing.
The new models use six-core Xeon processors, with single-core and dual-core options. Further turning up the speed dial is the inclusion of an option for 512GB solid state hard drives.
Apple is offering customers the ability to put together a system with 12 processing cores and more than 2TB of storage running at solid state speeds. When combined with ATI Radeon HD graphics cards and the new 27in LED cinema display, the line sports a performance ceiling that should make mouths water among graphics professionals who have long comprised the core of Apple's business market.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this week's rollout, however, is a concept pulled directly from the pages of Apple's notebook line up.
The company has borrowed the touchpad system from the MacBook and MacBook Pro lines in creating the Magic Trackpad. The glass-and-aluminium accessory uses the touch-tracking and gesture recognition features seen in notebooks.
The Magic Trackpad continues a long-standing legacy at Apple, albeit an often less than successful one. The tendency to stray from the norm in peripherals has long been a hallmark of the Mac, for better or for worse.
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