Mar 03

Apple released updates to its desktop systems today.

The new Mac Mini looks identical to the old model, except that it now has both mini-DVI and Displayport in the back, five USB ports, and GeForce 9400M graphics onboard. The base model ($599) has a 2Ghz Core 2 Duo CPU and 1G of RAM along with a 120G hard drive. The high-end unit ($699) has the same CPU but a 320G hard drive and 2G of RAM (both expandable to 4G). Both models come with an 8x SuperDrive standard.

New iMac systems are available in 20″ and 24″ sizes, with Core 2 Duo CPUs from 2.66 to 3.06Ghz and RAM configurations up to 8G (two SODIMM slots). Hard drives range in size from 320G to 1TB. Prices start at $1199.

Mac Pro systems have been updated with Intel’s new Xeon “Nehalem” processor. Quad-core configurations are available at 2.66 or 2.93Ghz; 8-core CPUs can be had at 2.26, 2.66, or 2.96Ghz. Quad-core systems support up to 8G of RAM, while the 8-core systems can hold up to 32G. Four internal SATA drive bays can accommodate up to 4TB of total storage. Graphics options include the NVidia GeForce GT 120 or the ATI Radeon HD 4870. The new Mac Pro systems start at $2499.

In addition to the desktop systems, the Airport Extreme and Time Capsule now support simultaneous dual-band 802.11n operation.

The Apple Wired Keyboard has a new model without a numeric keypad, but it is not available as a “standalone” product yet, only as an option with the purchase of a new Mac system.

Jan 06

Apple has announced a few new products this morning at MWSF:

iLife ’09 adds new versions of iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, and iWeb. New features include facial recognition and geotagging in iPhoto, major improvements in iMovie, and musical instrument tutorials in GarageBand. The new version of iLife will be available in “late January” for $79.

iWork ’09 adds lots of new features (too many to list) to Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. The new version of iWork is available today now for $99.

iWork.com is an online service from Apple that lets you share and collaborate on your iWork ’09 documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.

A “Box Set” of Mac OS X Leopard along with iLife ’09 and iWork ’09 will be available in late January (after the release of iLife ’09) for $179.

iTunes Plus now lets you upgrade previously-purchased iTunes songs to DRM-free versions for 30 cents per track. Most songs available via iTunes are now available in DRM-free versions for between $0.69 and $1.29 per track, with most albums staying at $9.99.

The new 17-inch MacBook Pro has the same unibody design and dual graphics controllers as the 15″ model, along with a new non-removable extended-capacity battery featuring up to 8 hours runtime and 1000 lifetime cycles. A matte non-glare screen is a $50 build-to-order option. The 17″ MBP starts at $2799 with a 2.66Ghz Core2Duo, 4G RAM and a 320G hard drive, upgradable to a 2.93Ghz CPU, 8G of RAM, and a 256G solid-state drive. Systems should be available in late January.

Not seen at this announcement was the rumored Mac Mini, iMac, or Apple TV upgrades, or any demonstration of OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard”.

Oct 16

Apple has released new 13-inch MacBook and 15-inch MacBook Pro systems, featuring a new one-piece aluminum chassis, LED-backlit displays, NVIDIA integrated graphics (“Hybrid SLI” graphics on the Pro) and a “buttonless” touchpad where the entire surface is a tactile button. The new MacBook starts at $1299 and the MacBook Pro at $1999. The previous-generation white MacBook is still available at a dropped price of $999.

The updated MacBook Air now has integrated NVIDIA graphics and a 120G hard drive (with optional 128G solid-state drive). Prices start at $1799.

Apple also released a new 24″ LED Cinema Display, with LED backlighting, a resolution of 1920×1200 pixels, built-in iSight camera and microphone, and a single cable to connect a system’s MagSafe, Mini Displayport, and USB 2.0 ports. It will retail for $899.

Sep 09

Apple updated a few of its products today at a “Let’s Rock” media event.

iTunes 8 is free for download and available today. The new version adds the “Genius” feature to suggest music similar to user choices and automatically make playlists, as well as visual album cover browsing.

The second-generation iPod Touch is smaller, lighter, and thinner than the original, with new external volume buttons on the side of the curved aluminum enclosure. Storage options range from 8 to 32G with prices from $229 to $399.

The fourth-generation iPod nano has a new super-slim curved glass and aluminum enclosure, as well as an accelerometer and new colors (silver, purple, blue, green, orange, yellow, pink, red, or black). The 8G model retails for $149 while the 16G model costs $199.

Jun 27

I opened my door this evening to find that UPS had dropped off a large cardboard box; inside was a nicely configured PowerMac G4 450Mhz DP system. There’s no note or anything in the box, just the system unit and lots of packing peanuts.

Update: Since originally posting this, the mystery has been solved. Thanks to B.D. for the PowerMac G4!

This now makes two machines that people have donated in order to help me support people still running OSX 10.1 through 10.4. J.G. in Sunnyvale sent me a “Blue & White” G3 system, and the UPS label indicates that the G4 came from Chicago.

Jun 09

Today at WWDC ’08, Apple announced the iPhone 3G.

Available on July 11th at a price of $199 for an 8G model and $299 for the 16G, the new iPhone features 3G data (twice as fast as EDGE), built-in true GPS, and enterprise support. Battery life is improved, with 300 hours of standby time, 10 hours of 2G talk time, 5 hours of 3G talk time, 5-6 hours of 3G browsing, 7 hours of video, or 24 hours of audio.

The new iPhone has a black plastic back and solid metal buttons (for the 8G model) or an available white back on the 16G model. The display and camera are the same, with the headphone jack now being flush with the top of the phone, and audio is improved.

Update: The WWDC Keynote Speech is now online.

May 26

The class action lawsuit Gordon v. Apple Computer, Inc. has now been settled:

The purpose of this website is to inform purchasers of replacement power adapters for certain Apple PowerBook or iBook computers of a class action settlement. The settlement will provide a cash payment if you purchased certain model Apple PowerBook or iBook computers, the power adapter failed within the first three years following the initial retail purchase of the computer, and you purchased a replacement adapter.

May 06

As detailed in this TUAW post, the iMac was announced ten years ago today:

The original iMac came stocked with a 233MHz G3, 32MD of SDRAM (though you could bump it up to a whopping 128MB), a 4 gig harddrive, 2 USB ports, a CD-ROM drive (not a CD burner, Apple was late to that party), and an IrDA port.

I’ve owned G3, G5, and Core Duo versions of the iMac, but finally “upgraded” to a Core2Duo-based Mac Mini with a separate screen a couple of months ago. While the quality of the flat panels used in the iMac series has always been good, their $800-per-panel repair cost was a bit extreme compared to the price of a standalone LCD display (using the same model of panel) from a vendor such as Dell in my opinion.

Apr 08

Apple has released firmware updates for many of its products today.

MacBook EFI Firmware Update 1.2
MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.5
MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update 1.0
iMac EFI Firmware Update 1.3
Firmware Restoration CD 1.6
Aluminum Keyboard Firmware Update 1.0

Mar 29

I’m in need of a G4 or G5 system so that I can dual-boot Mac OS X 10.3 and 10.4 in order to troubleshoot and help people running those older versions of the operating system (both of my personal systems are Intel-based and run 10.5). If someone has an older system available and would like to donate it to the cause, please email and let me know.

I run MacHELP as a non-profit hobby; it makes no income. I usually answer between five and ten questions a day and have helped more than 1200 people with their Macintosh and Mac OS X problems since April of 2007.