Apple Updates Hardware and Software

Apple made their Mac announcements today. As with most Apple events it generated tons of speculation. What they did announce was:

New Hardware

Apple replaced their iMac line with new models. They dropped the 17″ iMac and replaced it with a 20″ low-end iMac. A 20″ iMac and a 24″ iMac are available at the mid-level with 2.4GHz processors.

A 24″ iMac at the high-end that has a 2.4Ghz processor. Most of the reports I saw left this 4th iMac out but it’s at the Apple store (click the pic on the left to see the specs).

They also upgraded the specs of their Mac Mini line.

Since I have a fairly new iMac these aren’t changes I can get excited about. My expectation is my current iMac will at least last until the next iMac refresh.

Software Updates

Apple also updated their iLife and iWork suites. Both now carry the ’08 moniker.

iLife ’08 will begin shipping with all new Macs in addition to being available for $79. There aren’t any new apps in iLife, although the existing apps do get upgraded. Features getting the most press are:

  • iPhoto: You can now organize photos into “events”. They also added a Web Galleries feature (which may be .Mac only).
  • iMovie: Sees to be completely redesigned. All videos are now in a common library and YouTube uploads are supported.
  • iWeb: New web widgets which allows taking snippets of contents from other sites. Support for Google maps and AdSense is now included. You can use personal domain names for .Mac and you can change themes for installed sites.
  • Garageband: Add a new feature called “Magic Garageband” which generates tracks based on the parameters you define.
  • iDVD: Adds “Pro-Quality encoding”, new themes among other enhancements.

iWork ’08 is a $79 application. The big news here was the addition of a spreadsheet called Numbers. The do claim compatibility with Excel (including Excel ’07) but Excel macros are not supported.

Pages and Keynote also have their share of updates. The updates aren’t of the type to make people run out and buy iWork if they don’t have it already, but existing users are likely to be happy.

Personally, I’m happy to see the software updated. I’ve already ordered the iLife upgrade because I like the software. I have to admit that the decision was made before I had any idea what would be in it.

As for iWork, I’ll probably buy it because the price is right and I have low resistence. I had the previous version but struggled to find a use for it. I find TextEdit or even Google Docs more than enough for my limited needs. Numbers may prove useful for me since I often want a spreadsheet but hesitate to store some data on the web in Google Spreadsheets. I want to like and use iWork, I really do. Yea, talked myself into it, I’ll buy it.

.MAC Updated

.Mac was also updated. The big news here is now you get 10GB of storage for the same price. Attachments to email can now be up to 20GB. The personal domain feature mentioned as new in iWeb also requires .Mac.

I had dropped .Mac awhile back. Earlier this week I signed back up for a 60-day trial. I’ve been looking at some software that can use .Mac to sync data between Macs. I now have a MacBook which I want to have most of my data so syncing data has become important again. I’m not convinced it’s worth the price but the enhancements help. The “Back to My Mac” feature in Leopard may be what tips it in favor for me.

All the new software is available for immediate shipment, some new hardware is listed at 3-5 days.

Anyone been waiting for a refresh to buy an iMac? Was it worth the wait? Like or dislike the software updates?