Buyer's Guide Update: iMacs, Mac Minis, and Mac Pros
Even though Apple refreshed MacBook Pros and MacBooks just a couple of weeks ago, many are still holding out for additional updates from Apple.
Our Buyer's Guide shows both the Mac mini and Mac Pro well overdue for updates and persistent rumors point at iMac updates before the holidays.
The iMac was last updated in April of this year. Intel provided Apple with advanced versions (Montevina-like) of their processors that supported faster bus speeds (1066 MHz) well before they were in wide circulation. As a result, an update to the iMac is least pressing and rumors suggest that Apple will simply upgrade the internals of the iMac to NVIDIA-based chipsets to bring them in line with Apple's newest notebooks.
While it is rather late in the year for any new releases, it's not unheard of for Apple to issue a November upgrade. In 2003, Apple released an iMac update as late as November 18th. If Apple does update the iMac in November, it will likely be a simple press release rather than an organized media event.
Unfortunately, there is little new to say about the Mac mini. The most recent rumors have declared the Mac mini to still be alive, but it seems just barely. Apple has neglected the Mac mini for over a year now. In fact, for the last update, Apple didn't even issue a press release and revealed the upgrade during a Question and Answer session.
The Mac Pro was last updated in January of this year at Macworld San Francisco. The fate of the Mac Pro largely depends on Intel's delivery of suitable new processors.
Intel has confirmed that they will be delivering the first of the Nehalem (Core i7) processors to customers in November with expectations pointing to the 17th. The Core i7 represents a significant architectural improvement over the Core 2 Duos used in existing Macs. The exact rollout of these chips remains a bit unclear. The first processors to be released in November are said to be high-end Desktop versions of the processor. Apple, however, has traditionally used Intel's server-class processors for the Mac Pro rather than the desktop versions. That being said, Apple has gotten special treatment from Intel in the past and may be able get access to chips earlier than their competitors.
The next major event for such a high profile release is Macworld San Francisco in January 2009. With recent updates to the rest of their product line, it seems there will be little else to talk about at Macworld except the Mac Pro. (Unless, of course, Apple decides to introduce a new product or discuss the upcoming Mac OS X Snow Leopard at the event.)