With 21.5- and 27-inch LED-backlit screens under a glossy pane of edge-to-edge glass, the new iMacs don’t look different from the widescreen all-aluminum beauties from late 2009. But inside, it’s a whole different story--with Intel’s latest processors powering these new models, the 2010 iMacs should see impressive performance spikes. We set up the 3.06GHz Core i3 model ($1,199) and the 3.2GHz Core i3 model ($1,499) in the Mac|Life lab to test how an i3 really performs--and what those extra three bills for the 3.2GHz iMac really get you.
We’ve learned to expect big, wonderful things from Apple’s tiny little boxes. But unlike a Mac mini or iPod nano--which both do a lot in a relatively small space--the Apple TV doesn’t do much more than its 3.9x3.9x0.9-inch form factor and $99 price would suggest. That’s because it’s primarily a cloud-focused streaming device…but it only connects to a small, wispy tendril of the cloud, rather than the thunderstorm of awesome streaming content that can easily be accessed on other devices.
This entry-level Mac Pro is fast. Very fast. At 2.8GHz, its Intel Xeon processor might look slow compared to the 3GHz-plus chips offered by most of the current iMac range, but its clock speed belies its true performance. Like the Core-i series, Hyper-Threading allows two threads to run on each of its cores, giving this model eight virtual cores. And like the Core i5 and i7 chips, Turbo Boost shuts down unused cores and boosts those that are active to a maximum of 3.06GHz. In our Cinebench rendering test, its single-processor score was just under 3 percent down from the 3.2GHz mid-2010 iMacs, but when all processors were brought into play, it outperformed the all-in-one by an incredible 67.5 percent. The Mac Pro’s new ATI Radeon HD 5770 is up to five times faster than the standard graphics cards offered by the previous Mac Pro generation and even outperforms its speediest configure-to-order option. It ran our Doom 3 test at almost 180 frames a second, and our five-minute test movie encoded to iPod format in just 129 seconds. What’s that boil down to? Although it’s designed for professionals, there’s clearly an advantage in having a Mac Pro as a home machine.
When Apple released a battery charger, it was something of a head-scratcher. After all, we’re used to Apple releasing interesting and innovative products that break new technological ground. But honestly, how much room for innovation is there in the field of rechargeable batteries? While the Battery Charger is hardly the game-changer that the iPad is, if you’ve got a desk full of the latest Apple gear, it actually makes quite a bit of sense to pick up a Battery Charger to support it.
Every year, Apple releases new iPods, forcing us all to consider whether its time to upgrade our music player. The 2010 crop of iPods--revamped shuffles and nanos, and a refreshed iPod touch--represent some of the biggest changes to the iPod lineup in recent times. Apple curiously left the classic out of this round of updates, and as the sole remaining hard drive-based iPod, we suspect that the venerable classic is on its way to being a relic remembered by music geeks alongside other forgotten audio tech like wax cylinders and, uh, those CD things.
In the September issue of Mac|Life, we reviewed the brand-new unibody Mac mini, awarding it 4 stars. But the amount of space we had to work with didn't really lend itself to a deep-dive into the mini's performance, and the results of our real-world testing suite. Luckily we have a website to deal with just this kind of problem...
Apple’s been pouring its design magic into handhelds lately, but now the lowly Mac mini joins the ranks of unibody hotness, complete with a glossy, almost liquid-looking black Apple logo on top. The smooth aluminum brick has zero screws or visible seams, just a round black hatch on the bottom that pops off with a twist, letting you upgrade the included 2GB of DDR3 memory to a maximum of 8GB. Gone and not missed is the sweaty pleasure of prying open a previous-generation mini with a putty knife.
The folks over at TechCrunch have noticed a new entry into the Twiitersphere: Apple's senior vice-president of iOS software Scott Forstall. The account is verified, meaning that it is indeed the real Forstall that helms it. Why is this news? To be honest, we're not sure just yet.
The iPhone 4 isn’t particularly well-named. That’s because one of the things you’ll use this ingenious little device for least is making boring old phone calls. Between the terrific dual cameras, the zippy performance, and the luscious Retina Display, we were quickly absorbed in photography, games, web-browsing, and loads more. It’s truly a dramatic leap forward from the not-shabby-at-all iPhone 3GS.