New Affordable Macs and iPod minutia?

Nearly two weeks ago, Apple refreshed their desktop line of computers. The Mac Mini, iMac and Mac Pro were all outfitted with more advanced technology at a a lower price point when compared to their respective previous models. Also, last week, the iPod Shuffle received a complete makeover with more innovative features stuffed into a smaller form that can now “talk” to you!

The marketing campaign, in respect of desktop updates, seems to suggest that Apple’s reduction in pricing was intended to render the products to be more in line with similar specs from Dell or Hewlett-Packard.

Upon closer inspection, however, it looks as though only the value of these premium products has increased from previous iterations of Apple’s desktop models at the same price point and that the reduction in price had nothing to do with competitor specs.

That said, there has never been a better time to buy any of these products!

The Mac Mini, which hasn’t seen any updates for over a year, received a faster 2GHz Core 2 Duo CPU, 1 to 2 GB of RAM and bigger hard drives, starting at 120GB and going up to 320GB. Additionally, the Mac Mini has five USB ports, a FireWire 800 port, both DVI and DisplayPort video-out and an NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics chip. The base model sells for $599. The upgraded model, which sells for $799, delivers more RAM and a larger hard drive. As is the usual custom for the Mac Mini, a display, keyboard and mouse are not included.

The all-in-one iMac computer update brings increases in processor speed from 2.66- 3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo, an increase in RAM from 2-8 GB and increase in hard drive storage space, from 320 GB up to 1 TB capacity. The base model comes standard with the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics chip, while built-to-order options can include dedicated graphics processors such as the NVIDIA GeForce GT 130 and ATI Radeon 4850. Interestingly enough, the base 24” model is now the same price ($1,499) as was the previous 20” model but has a 30 percent larger screen, twice the memory and twice the storage capacity.

The new Mac Mini and iMac boast the same energy efficiency and environmental commitment of Apple’s new unibody notebooks.

Apple’s professional desktop, the Mac Pro, was updated as well and uses the next generation Intel “Nehalem” Xeon processor to deliver up to twice the performance of the previous generation system. All the more recession conscious, the new system starts at $300 lower than previous Mac Pro models.

Even though the hardware may be more expensive when compared to products with similar specifications from the competition, the total cost of ownership swings in favor of Apple’s products because of their ease of use, fewer malware, viruses and spyware, lower IT costs, bundled software and more thanks to the high quality Apple puts into the hardware and software to give you an unparalleled experience that can’t be duplicated easily by competing products on the market.

This is a great time to re-invest into your own business with quality products to get you though this economic slowdown so that when things pick up, and they eventually will, you will be prepared to meet the challenges of productivity and growth with reliable equipment that can take you and your business to the next level.

The new iPod Shuffle

Last week Apple introduced the amazingly tiny, sleek-looking third-generation iPod Shuffle. Billed as “So little. And yet so much,” it is half the size of the second generation iPod Shuffle and holds up to 1000 songs within its 4GB storage capacity for $79.

The really interesting feature of this music player is VoiceOver.  The new Shuffle will now speak the name of the song and artist. It can also tell you what playlist you are listening to. With the click of a button, this feature allows you to navigate through your multiple playlists and play the one you want without ever needing to “see” them.

The controls are found on the right ear bud cord so you have easy access to volume and choosing what playlist you want to listen to while you are running, commuting or just chilling out!

What’s exciting about these announcements is that Apple is continually enhancing and upgrading its products at similar or lower price points from their previous offerings to give the customers more value for their money.

So go out there and buy some new shiny Apple products to make your life more, productive, exciting or just plain fun!

What are your thoughts or personal experiences about the new announcements? Have you made any recent new Apple purchases or plan to soon?

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