At Tuesday’s Apple Special Event, the company introduced a redesigned iMac that Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller called “the most beautiful Mac we have ever made", and a 13-inch MacBook Pro with a Retina Display similar to that found on its 15-inch sister.
While the familiar aluminium design remains, the iMac is much thinner than its predecessor. The company reengineered the iMac’s internals and display, and Apple says the display system is 45 percent thinner and sheds 8 pounds.
The new iMacs are available in 21.5- and 27-inch models, with displays that support native resolutions of 1920 by 1080 pixels and 2560 by 1440 pixels, respectively. Previous models of the iMacs had a 2mm air gap between the glass and the display; that gap was removed in the new iMac. Apple laminates the display directly to the glass, and the company says the full lamination improves optical quality.
Besides the new design, the other marquee feature of the new iMac is the Fusion Drive, which is a hybrid storage device that combines flash storage with a hard drive. The Fusion Drive comes with 128GB of flash storage used mainly by the operating system to provide fast performance. The hard drive portion of the Fusion Drive is available in 1TB or 3TB capacities.
However, the Fusion Drive isn’t part of Apple’s standard configuration for the iMac – it is a build-to-order option. Apple has yet to release upgrade pricing for the Fusion Drive.
Thunder, thunder, thunder, thunderbolt – ho!
As seen with the Retina MacBook Pro, Apple is relying on Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 for connectivity. The iMac has two Thunderbolt ports and four USB 3.0 ports, as well as a gigabit ethernet port. FireWire is no longer offered on the iMac, and users of FireWire devices will need to use an adapter.
The iMac also features a built-in FaceTime HD camera, dual microphones, stereo speakers, built-in Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0. The optical drive is no longer included, and the SDXC card slot that was located next to the optical drive can now be found on the back of the iMac, between the headphone jack and the USB 3.0 ports.
The 21.5-inch iMacs have only two RAM slots and support a maximum of 16GB of memory. The 27-inch iMacs have four RAM slots and support a maximum of 32GB of memory.
Apple offers four models of the new iMac.
- £915.83 plus VAT/US$1,299: 21.5-inch model with a 2.7GHz quad-core Core i5, 8GB of memory, a 5400-rpm 1TB hard drive, and 512MB nVidia GeForce GT 640M graphics.
- £1,040.83 plus VAT/$1,499: 21.5-inch model with a 2.9GHz quad-core Core i5, 8GB of memory, a 5400-rpm 1TB hard drive, and 512MB nVidia GeForce GT 650M graphics.
- £1,249.17 plus VAT/$1,799: 27-inch model with a 2.9GHz quad-core Core i5, 8GB of memory, a 7200-rpm 1TB hard drive, and 512MB nVidia GeForce GTX 660M graphics.
- £1,415.83 plus VAT/$1,999: 27-inch model with a 3.2GHz quad-core Core i5, 8GB of memory, a 7200-rpm 1TB hard drive, and 512MB nVidia GeForce GTX 675M graphics.
The 21.5-inch models will be available in November, while the 27-inch models will be available in December.
13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display
Apple’s high-resolution Retina display now comes in another portable configuration, as the company unveiled a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display on Tuesday that complements the 15-inch model introduced over the summer.
The 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro sports a display with a resolution of 2560 by 1600 pixels, a huge 4-times increase over the 1280 by 800 resolution on the 13-inch MacBook Pro released in June. The 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro display has a total of 4,096,000 pixels, which Apple says is nearly twice the number of pixels in a HDTV.
The 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro's screen is an in-plane switching panel, which allows for a wide viewing angle. Apple says the display has a 29 per cent higher contrast ratio when compared to the previous model, as well as 75 percent glare reduction.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display (right) joins the 15-inch Retina display model in Apple’s portable lineup.
Like the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display that debuted four months ago , the new 13-inch Retina laptop has two Thunderbolt ports. The Thunderbolt ports and two USB 3.0 ports are the main avenues of connectivity, as the new laptop no longer has the ethernet and FireWire 800 ports found on the standard 13-inch MacBook Pro model. The new laptop also has no optical drive, but it does have an SDXC card slot.
The 13-inch Retina Macbook Pro is 0.75 inches thin; according to Apple, that’s 20 percent thinner than the regular 13-inch MacBook Pro. The new laptop weighs 3.5 pounds, which is a pound lighter.
Apple says that the new laptop has seven hours of battery life.
Apple will offer two models of the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro. The £1,207.50 plus VAT/US$1,699 model has a 2.5GHz dual-core Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, and 128GB of flash storage. A £1,415.83 plus VAT/$1,999 model is available with the same processor and memory configuration, but with 256GB of flash storage. Apple offers built-to-order options that include an upgrade to Core i7 processors and 768GB of flash storage.
The 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro is an addition to the MacBook pro line. Two version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with a standard display remain available.
According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple has the best-selling laptop in the United States. Of the Retina MacBook Pro, Apple Senior VP of Marketing Phil Schiller said that, “it is the best display housed in the best computer ever made.”