Apple unveils new features for desktop, laptop models

Oct 21, 2009 By Troy Wolverton

Apple on Tuesday updated its consumer desktop and laptop lines, one day after announcing record quarterly computer sales.

The Cupertino, Calif., company updated its all-in-one iMac desktop, its entry-level Mac mini desktop and its plastic-shelled MacBook lines. The new models will generally have faster processors and larger hard drives.

But each line will also get some new features:

• The MacBooks, like Apple's more expensive MacBook Pro models, will now include a redesigned case, energy-efficient LED-backlit screens and a more powerful battery that says will last up to seven hours on a charge.

• The iMacs will include larger displays and will now come with a wireless keyboard and a new, multi-touch mouse. Apple is also cutting the price on its two top models by $100 and $200, respectively.

• Apple is introducing a new $999 model of the Mac mini, which will run the server edition of the Mac operating system and include an extra instead of a DVD drive.

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All of the new models are available immediately.

"There's never been a better time to switch to a Mac," Phil Schiller, Apple's vice president of worldwide marketing, said in a statement.

Apple typically refreshes its computer lines twice a year, in the spring, before the graduation and back-to-school shopping seasons, and in the fall, before the holiday season. Apple last updated its line in May. It last updated its consumer desktop lines in March.

Still, the updates were made in a somewhat low-key fashion for Apple, announced via news release rather than at a press event. Last month, for instance, the company announced an updated lineup of iPod music players at an event in San Francisco.

Both sets of updates come as the company is gearing up for the holidays, when it typically sees an upsurge in sales.

Monday, Apple reported a standout quarterly revenue and profit that were driven in part by computer sales. The company sold 3.05 million Macintosh computers in its fiscal fourth quarter, which ended in September. That was up 17 percent from the year-prior quarter and the most it had ever sold in a single period.

But the overall sales number hid the diverging fortunes of Apple's computer lines. Apple sold only 787,000 computers in the quarter, which was down 16 percent from the year-prior period. Meanwhile, it sold 2.3 million notebooks, which was up 35 percent year over year.

Related story: Apple updates iMac line, adds 'multitouch' mouse (w/ Video)
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(c) 2009, San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.).
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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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