Thursday, September 07, 2006

Apple Primes The Product Pipeline

Apple surprised everyone a couple days ago by announcing upgrades to both its iMac and Mini lines of computers. Actually, most weren't surprised by the upgrades, rather the timing. Even AppleInsider reported new iMacs would be announced at Apple's big press event on 12 September (along with updated nano and Movie store).

Also surprising was the new 24" iMac (rumored to be 23" previously) and Intel 2 Core Duos (64 bit!) across the line. One strange thing is the apparent lack of the Apple Remote and BlueTooth in the low end 17" iMac. The Intel Minis are as expected - both faster and running Core Duos. However, I have to question whether Minis are a good deal when stacked up against low end iMacs. The high end Mini at $799 has a 1.83Ghz Core Duo, 512MB ram, only an 80GB hard drive, and no screen/keyboard. The low end iMac is $100 more, lacks BlueTooth, Superdrive Remote, but has twice the HD, a Core 2 Duo at 1.83Ghz, not to mention Screen/Keyboard/Mouse. For $300 more, you can get an iMac with twice the RAM, 2.0Ghz processor, Superdrive and ATI graphics card. So... I'm starting to wonder if the Intel Minis are overpriced for what they bring to the table. I recall the prices of PowerPC Minis were lower, so what's up with this? Certainly the Mini wins out hands down for it's compactness, but for not much more you can get a full system.

So, this leaves us with what will be announced on 12 September. It's curious Apple didn't wait until then to announce the new Minis/iMacs. But perhaps Apple has a very good reason. Perhaps they've much more to drop in our laps, and didn't want the system upgrades to steal the thunder of these unknown products. Speculation has it that we could see new Aiport Express with movie streaming ability, or even the much rumored iPhone. However, it's more likely we'll get a Movie store (apparently Disney only for now), along with upgraded Nanos. But would these latter two products be enough for an Apple event? Perhaps, especially if Apple runs this like the disappointing iHiFi event.

No comments: