Apple Hardware December 2007

WIth the holiday buying season (and fiscal year-end) upon us, it seems a good time to review the current Apple product line, focusing on computers and handhelds and ignoring odd products such as the Apple TV and X-Serve. Below are currently shipping Apple computers as of December 2007, organized by product type.

Apple divides its computer line into six main categories: budget, consumer laptop, consumer desktop, professional laptop and professional desktop or tower. All models feature built-in ethernet and wireless networking (bluetooth and airport “wi-fi) but none comes with a built-in modem, so plan to spend an extra $50 for an external USB modem if you’ll need that.

Mac Mini: Apple’s Budget Computer

The Mac mini is apple’s budget computer, and most remarkable for its small size. About 7″ square and 2″ high, the Mac mini does not come with a monitor, mouse or keyboard. Each mini does come with built-in ethernet and wireless networking (bluetooth and airport “wi-fi”) and a slot-loading optical drive. Peripherals attach through USB or FireWire 400. The current two models differ primarily by whether the optical drive can burn DVD’s or just CD’s. Both models can play DVD’s and come with a remote control, making them a top choice for home entertainment systems and presentation rooms.

  • US$599 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1GB RAM, 80 GB HD, DVD/CD-RW “Combo Drive”
  • US$799 2.0GHz IC2D, 1 GB RAM, 120 GB HD, DVD±RW/CD-RW “SuperDrive”

MacBook: Apple’s Consumer Laptop Computer

The MacBook is Apple’s consumer laptop. Featuring a polycarbonate case, 13″ wide-screen monitor and built-in wireless (bluetooth and 802.11n AirPort “wi-fi”), each also has a built-in video camera and microphone for video chat and a remote control for music, presentations and movies. Maximum RAM for all models is 4GB. The primary difference between the three basic models are whether they can burn DVD’s or not and the case color. Peripherals attach via USB 2 or FireWire 400.

  • US$1099, white 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1GB RAM, 80GB HD, “Combo Drive”
  • US$1299, white 2.2GHz IC2D, 1GB RAM, 120 GB HD, double-layer “SuperDrive”
  • US$1499, black 2.2GHz IC2D, 1GB RAM, 160 GB HD, double-layer “SuperDrive”

iMac: Apple’s Consumer Desktop Computer

Apple’s “consumer desktop,” the entire iMac line features built-in ethernet and wireless networking (bluetooth and 802.11n Airport “wi-fi”), built-in video cameras for Internet chat, a remote control and an 8x “SuperDrive” DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW. Maximum RAM for all four models is 4 GB.

  • US$1199 20″ iMac 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1GB RAM, 128MB VRAM, 250 GB HD
  • US$1499 20″ iMac 2.4GHz IC2D, 1GB RAM, 256MB VRAM, 320 GB HD
  • US$1799 24″ iMac 2.4GHz IC2D, 1GB RAM, 256MB VRAM, 320 GB HD
  • US$2299 24″ iMac 2.8GHz IC2D, 1GB RAM, 256MB VRAM, 500 GB HD

MacBook Pro: Apple’s Professional Laptop Computer

  • US$1999 15″ 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, 128 MB VRAM, 120GB HD
  • US$2499 15″ 2.4GHz IC2D, 2GB RAM, 256 MB VRAM, 160GB HD
  • US$2799 17″ 2.4GHz IC2D, 2GB RAM, 256 MB VRAM, 160GB HD

Mac Pro: Apple’s Professional Tower

Apple’s Mac Pro tower computers contain four to eight processors and are almost all built-to-order (BTO). As of 8 January 2008 the basic starting configuration is $2799 without monitor and includes

  • Two 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processors
  • 2GB memory (800MHz DDR2 fully-buffered DIMM ECC), expandible to 32GB
  • ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT with 256MB of GDDR3 memory
  • 20GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive running at 7200 rpm
  • 16x double-layer SuperDrive

Maximum RAM is 16 GB and the four SATA drive bays can hold up to 3 terabytes.

iPod and iPhone: Apple’s Handheld Media Players

Most people don’t think of Apple’s handhelds as computers, but rather as MP3, audio or video players. All handhelds with a screen, however, can also be used for games and other simple tasks traditionally served by a PDA such as a Palm or smartphone, including synchronizing contacts and calendars from a Macintosh. Replacement of a PDA or the ability to use an iPod for backup or portable presentations is one of the main uses my clients have for iPods, although a color-coded selection of shuffles for your dental office, restaurant or dance studio is a pretty cool use of the technology as well.

  • $79 iPod Shuffle: flash-based with clip but no screen
  • $149 iPod Nano, very small with screen, 4GB storage
  • $199 iPod Nano, available in different colors, 4GB storage
  • $249 iPod Classic, 2.5″ display, 80 GB storage
  • $349 iPod Classic, 2.5″ display, 160 GB storage
  • $299 iPod Touch, 3.5″ widescreen display, wi-fi wireless, 8 GB
  • $399 iPod Touch, 3.5″ widescreen display, wi-fi wireless, 16 GB
  • $399 iPhone, similar to iPod Touch but with integrated phone, 8GB
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