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New Macs Coming...maybe

January 27, 2009 - Dave Hecei
Now that MacWorld 2009 has come and gone, we are left with new software, but no new hardware. The rumor mills were all abuzz about new iMacs and Mac minis, but they were obviously wrong. The only thing this means is that Apple is holding off on new releases. New Macs are coming soon the problem is when.

Unfortunately, Steve Jobs has a major health issue, which Apple has finally admitted to, and has actually stepped back from the CEO position, supposedly for six months. This fact and the dismal outlook for the economy may put Apple in the position of ‘wait-and-see’. There is no compelling reason to release a new iMac this month; the current iMac is very fast and fairly new. If they were to release a new Mac the mini would make much more sense. The mini is Apple’s entry system starting at $599. Hopefully Apple can update this model and still come in at that price, or maybe even lower.

I own and use one of the minis, the latest model, and it is a near perfect ‘switcher’ or ‘upgrader’ Mac. It’s perfect for those wanting to switch to a Mac from a PC where they already have a good monitor, printer, and other peripherals. It’s even a great upgrade for anyone who has an older PowerPC Mac, like a G3 or G4 tower. You keep your monitor, keyboard, and mouse and just replace the tower with the mini.

The mini is extremely small, smaller than most external drives. Because of the Intel Core 2 Duo processor, the mini is also very fast. (It is also one of the quietest Macs available, great for anyone who wants to record their own podcast maybe.) The current mini has two main cons, the video system and the lack of easy upgradeability. The next generation of the mini will hopefully change this. Rumors put the new mini with dual monitor outputs (using the new display port?), better and faster video system, and easier upgrading of its memory.

As you might have noticed I mention the video system quite often. The video system in a Mac, or any computer, contains both memory and a GPU, or Graphics Processor Unit. These GPUs are getting so powerful that Apple’s next version of the operating system is supposed to use the GPU like a co-processor to help increase the speed of the computer. The better the video system, the better the computer.

As for the iMac, about the only thing that is likely to be upgraded is the processor and the video. The processor could be newer faster Intel Core 2 Duos, but there is a possibility that the next iMacs will have Intel’s new Quad core processor. This could make for a very fast iMac. The video system will most likely be the nVidia GeForce chips, like those found in all the new MacBook Pros. Most likely it will be the 9600 series or, if we’re lucky, the 9800 series. No matter which way they go, the new iMacs will be pretty fast.


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The Apple Mac mini