A day after Apple posted quarterly profits of $1.67 billion on Oct. 19, amid an otherwise still faltering PC market, the computer maker announced updates to several of its products, offering consumers seemingly unneeded purchasing motivation heading into the holiday shopping season.
Apple's all-in-one iMac will feature an edge-to-edge glass design and an aluminum enclosure and will ship with a Magic Mouse, which features a top shell that's entirely a multitouch surface, allowing all the finger gestures that iPhone users know intimately. Plus, the entire mouse is now a button-tracking stays the same, but users can press down anywhere, or with the whole hand. Clicking the corner activates a shortcut menu, and the Magic Mouse can scroll a 360-degree circle, making it easy to work with and look at photos, for example.
Apple's Mac Mini has been given more memory, a faster processor and improved energy efficiency. It starts at $599, while the iMac starts at $1,199. Apple also updated its MacBook, leaving the starting price at $999 while streamlining the outside and speeding up the insides.
"You can see that it's working with the results that we've had," Tim Cook, Apple's chief operating officer, told Reuters on Oct. 20. "We're not interested in the netbook phenomenon of cheap and crappy and people that want to return it after a day or two. That's just not who we are."
Netbook sales rose over the last quarter, but the devices' low prices caused revenues for the overall mobile PC market to drop. Netbooks are intended primarily as Web-surfing and media-interaction devices, and can offer disappointing results to a consumer expecting a notebook's performance.
The new MacBook takes cues from the MacBook Pro and features a polycarbonate unibody design, a 13.3-inch widescreen LED-backlit display and a glass Multi-Touch trackpad. The processor has been increased to a 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 3MB of shared L2 (Level 2) cache, and there's 2GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive and an Nvidia GeForce 9400M integrated graphics chip.
The battery is now built in, but is said to last the life of the computer-or 1,000 charges-and offer 7 hours of online battery life. There's an 8X SuperDrive, a Webcam, built-in 802.11n wireless networking, Bluetooth 2.1, two USB ports, a Mini DisplayPort for video output and an audio in-out port, pus a MagSafe power adapter-which means tripping over the cord doesn't translate to flinging the notebook off the desk. It simply disconnects, leaving no harm but to one's ego.
The MacBook weighs 4.7 pounds, measures 13 by 9.12 by 1.08 inches and comes with the highly lauded new Mac OS X "Snow Leopard" operating system.
"With the only lineup of notebooks all featuring unibody enclosures, LED-backlit displays and long-life battery technology, there's never been a better time to switch to a Mac," said Phillip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing.
In an Oct. 20 research note, Broadpoint AmTech analyst Brian Marshall wrote, "In our view, Apple is the best technology company on the planet, with numerous catalysts on the horizon." Among these he listed the iPhone's potential in China and the rumored Apple tablet.
Marshall continued, "It is our view that [Apple] has the ability to potentially double its computing market share on a global basis from [approximately] 4 percent today to 8 percent over the next five years."