Apple releases new cheaper iMac with low-end processor, priced at $1099

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As rumored last week, Apple has today released a new model of iMac. These machines are considerably cheaper than their predecessors, priced at $1099. Previously, the cheapest iMac SKU was priced at $1299 (which is now the mid-range model).

The cheaper iMac features a 1.4 GHz dual-core i5 CPU, which represents a significant worsening in performance over the previous base model of iMac, which featured a processor clocked at 2.7 GHz.  The CPU does Turbo Boost up to 2.7 GHz however, which does make up some of the difference.

Aside from the CPU, the hard drive has also been cut to 500 GB. The new model also features a lower-end integrated graphics chip. All other iMac models continue to use either Iris Pro integrated graphics or dedicated Nvidia cards. Otherwise, the internals of the new machine are unchanged.

Apple’s Press release below…

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iMac reportedly getting a spec bump next week, but no Retina model yet

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According to a new MacG report, Apple is planning to debut a spec bump for the iMac lineup next week. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear these will be the Retina iMacs that have appeared in recent OS X beta builds. Instead, it seems we’re only due for a slight processor speed increase, with each model gaining only 100 MHz.

The report speculates that the new models could include a new and improved Thunderbolt 2 connection, but there doesn’t seem to be any confirmation of that at this time. MacG accurately predicted the most recent MacBook Air refresh, so it’s a safe bet that these iMacs are coming next week. We’ve heard similar whispers at 9to5Mac as well.

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Review: TwelveSouth HoverBar 3 positions your iPad right where you want it

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There are times when an iPad can act as a handy sidekick to your Mac, but with a typical iPad stand you end up looking a little like a nodding dog as you look up at your monitor and down at your iPad. The TwelveSouth HoverBar 3 is designed to solve that, positioning your iPad display right next to your iMac or Apple Thunderbolt/Cinema Display.

The HoverBar can also be used on its own to position an iPad more comfortably, especially when using it to watch movies …  Read more

Opinion: It’s time to bring back the mobile professional’s workhorse, the MacBook Pro 17

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Many of us were deeply disappointed when Apple discontinued the MacBook Pro 17. While the Retina MacBook Pro 15 introduced at the same time offered higher resolution, sometimes there’s just no substitute for physical screen size. Photographers and videographers in particular loved the combination of the sheer size and the option of a matte screen.

I loved mine enough to immediately sell the three-year-old one I owned at the time in order to replace it with the last model made, to maximize its useful life. I still love it enough that I’ve just laid out a thousand bucks on a 2.5-year-old machine to fit 2TB of SSDs, giving it the best of both worlds: lightning-fast performance combined with huge storage that allows me to have all my files with me when I travel.

There may not be too many others who’ll follow my admittedly extravagant example, but I do think it’s time for Apple to revisit its decision and bring back the mobile professional’s workhorse …  Read more

Analyst: Apple plans to release cheaper iMacs, 8 GB iPhone 5s at WWDC [Update: "Nope"]

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KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has made a few more predictions about what we’ll see from Apple in the near future. According to a new KGI research note, Apple could potentially release cheaper versions of the iMac and iPhone 5s during its developer conference next week to accompany its software announcements.

Earlier today new references to an unreleased iteration of the the iMac appeared in an OS X developer preview, likely indicating the impending release of a new model. It’s quite possible that this could be the cheaper iMac referred to in the report. Despite the rumored upgrade, KGI has revised its iMac shipment estimates down, citing a slow PC market:

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References to new iMac model discovered in OS X 10.9.4 developer preview

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OS X users digging through today’s beta update to the system have discovered what appears to be a reference to an as-of-yet unannounced version of the iMac. The model, dubbed iMac 15,1 could be shown off next week at Apple’s WWDC conference, where we’ve heard that there will likely be some new hardware announcements.

More specifically, the following lines were added to a power management file in the new beta:

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Slipping shipping times may support analyst prediction of new, cheaper iMacs launching at WWDC

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Slipping shipping times for iMacs on Apple’s site may support a timeline released last month by KGI Research analyst Ming-Chi Kuo indicating that new, lower-cost iMacs could be launched this quarter.

Apple usually quotes 24 hours for delivery of standard-configuration iMacs, but is currently showing 3-5 business days across the range. Increased shipping times are sometimes an indication of lower or sporadic stocks, which tend to precede the launch of new models. With WWDC just one week away, that would be a logical time to announce them …  Read more

Rumor: Apple working on ARM-based Mac variants with larger trackpad built into keyboard

Mac mini mid-2011 (Apple Thunderbolt Display, MagicTrackPad)

MacBidouille is the source of an interesting new rumor [translation] that Apple is currently experimenting with new ARM-powered Mac variants that include a Magic trackpad built into the system’s keyboard. The company is also reportedly working on a new version of OS X that will be compatible with these ARM machines.

According to MacBidouille’s sources, Apple is developing three new machines with this configuration: the aforementioned iMac and Mac mini as well as a 13″ MacBook, presumably a MacBook Air. The iMac and notebook are both said to have “4 or 8″ quad-core arm64 processors, while the Mac mini has only four.

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Opinion: Why the upgrade cycle means the ‘Apple tax’ is lower than it seems

Photo: mashable.com

Photo: mashable.com

I’m sure most of us have at some point had Windows- and Android-using friends ask us why we pay the ‘Apple tax’ – the price difference between an Apple product and what they perceive to be an equivalent competitor product.

A large part of the answer, of course, is that the competitor product isn’t equivalent at all. You can’t compare a MacBook with its premium materials, build-quality, high-spec components, screen quality and aesthetics with a low-end Windows laptop with plastic casing, low-spec innards and cheap and cheerful display. No more than you can compare an iPhone with a budget ‘droid. When you do genuine like-for-like comparisons with truly equivalent products, the Apple premium shrinks considerably.

But to get an accurate idea of the effective purchase cost, you also need to take into account both the replacement cycle and resale value …  Read more

Apple building support for driving 4K displays at ‘Retina’ resolution, 60Hz output from 2013 MacBook Pros

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4K display running at “Retina” resolution on 10.9.3

Earlier today, Apple provided developers with the first beta for the upcoming release of OS X Mavericks version 10.9.3. Apple did not disclose any new features coming in 10.9.3, but we have discovered that the update includes notable enhancements for users with Macs connected to 4K-resolution monitors. With 10.9.3, Mac users can now natively set their 4K monitors to run the Mac operating system at a pixel-doubled “Retina” resolution.

The new settings, which appear nearly identical to the settings on a standard Retina MacBook Pro display, can be seen here on a 10.9.3 Mac connected to a 4K monitor:

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Apple loses key iPad, Mac operations VP Rita Lane to retirement

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Rita Lane, Apple’s vice president of operations for the iPad, Mac desktops, and Mac accessories, has retired from the company, according to her public LinkedIn profile. As vice president of operations, Lane was in charge of the supply chain and manufacturing for iPads, computers like the iMac, and Apple’s Mac accessories.

Due to her position, Lane was likely instrumental in the iPad’s rapid growth as a product and emergence in society over the past few years, making the departure a significant loss for Apple. However, the company likely has other experienced operations managers who could fill Lane’s role. Her exact successor is unknown…

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Opinion: Will the next Mac mini be a lot more mini than ever before?

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When it first launched in 2005, the Mac mini was almost unimaginably small. The original aim of the machine was to convert owners of desktop Windows machines. Because those people already owned monitors, keyboards and other peripherals, selling them just the computer itself would enable them to switch to Mac for far less than the cost of buying an iMac.

The typical Windows desktop box of that era looked like this:

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A system unit that measured just 6.5 inches square and only 2-inches thick was an incredible feat of engineering. Today, however, it looks rather less impressive …  Read more