Busy Apple

More Apple product announcements this morning, with a refreshed Power Mac G5 and Power Book G4 lineup, a new Pro application for digital photography workflows - Aperture as well as lowering the price of their Cinema Displays for the second time this year. Also details around an impending announcement of the Australian iTunes Music Store appear to be firming up, expect an announcement on the 25th for an October 31st launch.

For now, some details about today’s new releases,

PowerMac G5

Apple finally introduces the long rumoured ‘dual-core’ G5 chips. Three models in the revised lineup, two with single ‘dual-core’ G5s running at 2.0ghz and 2.3ghz (referred to as the PowerMac Dual), as well as a top-end model with dual ‘dual-core’ G5s running at 2.5ghz each (referred to as the PowerMac Quad). Interestingly this represents a step down in clock speed over the predecessor which ran dual 2.7ghz G5s and perhaps more telling Apple are still yet to break through the 3ghz barrier.

All models now feature four PCI-e expansion slots, support for up to 16gb of DDR2-spec RAM, internal space for 1TB of disk space and an optional 512mb NVidia Quadro FX 4500 GPU. Now, if you wallet is large enough, you can install four graphics cards to run four 30in Cinema Displays or eight 23in Cinema Displays simultaneously. Serious screen real-estate. The ‘4500 also boasts a 3D stereo imaging graphics port for serious scientific imaging work.


Chip speeds remain unchanged at 1.5ghz for the 12in, with 1.67ghz G4s powering the 15in and 17in models. Apple have trimmed the linup to just three simple models: 12in, 15in or 17in with a varierty of options available to customise further if required. 12in model hasn’t changed much at all, most meat of this revision has been reserved for it’s bigger brothers.

A 7,200rpm hard drive is available on the 15in and 17in model as an option though whilst the increased drive speed is more than welcome, the jury is still out on the impact of this faster and therefore power-hungry drive will have on battery performance. I’m sure that for someone who is primarily chained to a desk, this small speed boost in return for a minor drop in battery life would be very welcome.

An increase in display resolution for the 15in and 17in models is probably the biggest change. The 17in model bumps up to a native resolution of 1680x1050, up from 1440x900 - though still not quite at native HD 1920x1080. The 15in model jumps to a native resolution of 1440x960. According to Apple both models are said to boast ‘brighter’ displays to complement their greater resolutions (46% brighter on the 17in model) and the 15in and 17in both now support Apple’s 30in Cinema Display. All models now sport 8x dual-layer SuperDrives and DDR2 RAM. 15in and 17in models also now include digital-optical audio in/out interfaces.

Other news

  • Prices for the 23in and 30in Cinema Displays have been dropped down to AU$2,099 (down AU$200) and AU$3,999 (down AU$900), whilst the 20in price remains unchanged.
  • Model codes for the newly updated iMac and PowerBooks have changed significantly from their predecessors. This is most evident if you add a 12in PowerBook and a 15in PowerBook to your Apple Store shopping cart. The 12in model will have the old model code, similar to ‘M9691X/A’, whilst the new-spec 15in variety will have a model code in the new style being ‘Z0C9’.
  • The maintenance of the Apple Australia website now appears to have been centralised. I noticed a few months back that the domain ‘www.apple.com.au’ now redirects to ‘www.apple.com/au’ (similar to the Apple Japan and Apple UK setup that’s been in place for quite some time). Updates to the site are now appearing almost immediately after any ‘www.apple.com’ updates, which certainly is new. Either that or Apple Australia’s been paying some serious overtime to it’s webdev crew to punch out updates in the wee hours following a launch or keynote on the otherside of the globe. In the old days it would take several hours for any new products to appear on the .au site.
  • Still no local iTunes Music Store - although there’s apparently a big local event scheduled for October 25 which may finally be the announcement we’ve all been waiting for. October 31 is the rumoured opening date. Post-announcement, brace yourself for massive media coverage and related banter about the ‘explosion’ of legalised music downloading in Australia. At last.