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Apple Releases New Macs & First Multi-touch Mouse

Gordon Kelly


Apple Releases New Macs & First Multi-touch Mouse

I suspect the undercard could well have more long term significance than the main event...

In typical Apple style the company late yesterday took its store offline for several hours as it was in the process of 'updating' (yes, totally unnecessary, but a great party trick). On its return we have new Macs and the 'Magic Mouse'.

Dealing with what would appear to be the biggest (literally) news means we find new 21.5in and 27in iMacs (the latter the largest to date), a unibody MacBook and refreshed Mac mini. The first of these sees the iMac range adopt LED backlit widescreen displays (the 27 incher sports a native 2560 x 1440 resolution) with the option of Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i5 and i7 quad core processors. A choice of dedicated graphics arrives too with nVidia and ATI Redeon options and up to 16GB RAM. You'll also get 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR and integrated card readers. Prices start from £949, but climb spectacularly.

The basic MacBook also sees some love with a new unibody design - though the finish remains in white. Again there's a new LED display, adoption of the enlarged multi-touch trackpad, a Core 2 Duo CPU and dedicated nVidia GeForce 9400M integrated graphics. Apple has also fitted its fixed battery which boasts up to seven hours of battery life. Prices start from £799.

Lastly the £499 entry level Mac mini is bolstered by a 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo CPU alongside 2GB DDR3 RAM, a 160GB HDD, 9400M graphics and a SuperDrive. The £649 version brings a 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo CPU, 4GB RAM and 320GB HDD while a flagship £799 model comes with Mac OS Snow Snow Leopard Server and two 500GB HDDs.

What could be far more important long term however is the new 'Magic Mouse' - the world's first consumer ready multi-touch mouse. Much like the screen on an iPhone or multi-touch trackpad, the Bluetooth Magic Mouse allows users to navigate using the same gesture controls (minus pinching... for now) and will be supplied with all new iMacs. On its own the damage is more painful at a hefty £55, but the implications are substantial since Microsoft is also trialling multi-touch mouse designs of its own and it is clear we're headed into a new generation of mouse control.

As with most Apple launches, all the new products are immediately available and will no doubt sell by the bucket load.




Mac Mini

Magic Mouse


October 21, 2009, 6:56 am

I seriously doubt this is the 'ultimate' iMac, they'll probably release an improved one next year.... :)

Only having a "display port" input on the 27". Nice if you have an Macbook pro etc. But I feel that it is a utter shame to not be able to easily hook up a SKY +/ V+ / Xbox360 / PS3 via HDMI. C'mon Apple....


October 21, 2009, 7:00 am

@Peter - obviously you can get a Display Port to HDMI adaptor, but I agree - it's not ideal.


October 21, 2009, 7:39 am

Hi Gordon,

I don't think Apple do the reverse... i.e. HDMI -> Displayport. The only adapter I could see on the net was this. http://www.atlona.com/Atlon... (180USD)


October 21, 2009, 11:10 am

Alas, the new iMacs are exactly what I want from a desktop computer, and it's almost perfect for me, save for the fact that Apple failed to exploit these 1080p and higher displays by not fitting a Blu-ray drive in either model, and not even having it as an option. That's pretty poor going.

I wonder what Apple's 720p movie downloads are going to look like on the 27" iMac, considering that it'd only fit a quarter of the display at native resolution...


October 21, 2009, 11:17 am

One other galling thing is that the price of the MacBook has now risen to £799, which seems a little steep considering that the US pricing remained at $999; it's poor form for Apple for what is supposed to be their entry level machine - ideally, they should have priced it around the £699/719 mark, and perhaps dropped the price of the entry-level MacBook Pro to £849/879 so that there would still be the incentive to upsell for the aluminium casing et al.


October 21, 2009, 12:05 pm

Hmm. Firewire is removed from Macbooks. I bet that will go well with owners of the Apogee Duet which Apple is so keen to sell to musicians. Poor starving musician? You have to buy the Macbook Pro!

The 27" iMac looks like a great machine for Logic and Final Cut though and nice to see them finally being available with Quad-core processors.


October 21, 2009, 12:16 pm

Please for the love of God let them have sorted out a spring-loaded card slot. The way cards stick out the MBPs is hideous enough but a card hanging out your iMac would be even worse. Might sound like a small point but I just watched their typically back-slapping video boasting 'all screen and no distractions' - I think a flash card popping out the side might ruin the aesthetic a bit.


October 21, 2009, 12:37 pm

@Peter http://www.google.co.uk/pro...

Paul Blakeman

October 21, 2009, 1:01 pm

No Blu Ray on the iMac is simply criminal, who are they trying to kid sticking with DVD, a Blu Ray option isn't so hard to add is it, Sony have them in there low end notebooks now. I like the new Macbook apart from that there is no SD card slot or firewire and that just 200 Dollars more get you a Pro with all the extras that it brings. Job's says they have some low cost products coming in 2010 I guess we can expect a 10" Macbook then, you know Apple won't call it a Netbook lol.

Paul Blakeman

October 21, 2009, 1:06 pm

It looks like they have a new Apple remote now too although you can't get it with the Macbook does that mean they have dropped the support for it with this model as you can get it with the Macbook Pro and iMac. As soon as they put Core i7's in the Pro's I will get a 15" one of them I think.

Ian Yates

October 21, 2009, 1:21 pm

Is it just me who thinks a multi-touch mouse sounds like a terrible idea?

I'll certainly try to play with one, but I rest my fingers on the mouse not hold them above until I need to click.

It sounds like you have to keep your fingers perfectly still until you want to perform an action.


October 21, 2009, 2:11 pm

anyone else think that a two finger side-ways swipe on a mouse would be a really uncomfortable gesture to perform? Also, they seem to once again not realise that people generally rest both fingers on the front of a mouse, so having to lift off a finger to change between left and right click is an awkward thing to do!


October 21, 2009, 2:33 pm

Really cool updates! =D Have ordered the Magic Mouse. Given the semi-touch approach to right and left click on Mighty Mouse I don't think Magic Mouse will be any more difficult to use but we'll have to wait and see. Other gestures? Time will tell!


October 21, 2009, 2:46 pm

I'm typing this on a three year old ibook with a 2GHz instead of 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo and a fire wire port! OK the other changes are useful, assuming it doesn't cost an arm and leg to upgrade the RAM to 4Meg, but as for bleeding display ports, I've still got an at the time, very expensive and useless monitor with an ADC port, apples last attempt at screwing up the standardisation we the consumer crave, but I guess I'm living in the stone age or 2006 as it was once known.

Nicholas Name

October 21, 2009, 2:58 pm

"and still, the world's most energy-efficient desktop computer". Really? By what measure?


October 21, 2009, 3:10 pm

@Fleabane: There never was an iBook with a 2GHz processor (plus they used PowerPC chips anyway, not Intel chips), so I can only assume that you mean you have a three-year old MacBook. Same goes for upgrading the RAM to 4GB not 4MB. Try reading through your post once before posting; it would save others having to decipher it.

basic furball

October 21, 2009, 4:17 pm


How much deciphering did it really take to get from 4MB to 4GB?

Obviously a simple typo.


October 21, 2009, 5:22 pm

since they are using the new 16:9 screens as a 'perfect HD video viewing experience' to not give the user the most basic HD medium of blu ray seems very odd esp when its a lovely 1080p screen

I agree about the mouse about resting your fingers on it then having to lift them to click but sometimes I drum roll on my mouse which would register as a whole load of clicks lol.

I really want that wallpaper though.


October 21, 2009, 5:29 pm

@Nicholas - Ta-daa! - http://www.apple.com/uk/env... - it's amazing what, ooooh, 30 seconds on the internet can find you. As I understand it, even Greenpeace are happy with Apple these days... Not that that means much!

As a negative point though, Apple are still to bring their recycle-a-mac scheme to anywhere outside of the State.


October 21, 2009, 5:40 pm

Mini DisplayPort + USB AUDIO to HDMI adapter cable by Neet http://bit.ly/3FofST

Nicholas Name

October 21, 2009, 6:01 pm


So a c2d based mini is more energy efficient than an atom powered nettop? Well done Apple.


October 21, 2009, 8:26 pm


There's a reason why it's called a nettop or netbook, that means it's not a desktop.

"and still, the world's most energy-efficient desktop computer"

Hope that helps.

Nicholas Name

October 21, 2009, 9:12 pm

@jacko, how is a box full of electronic components (motherboard, ram, x86 processor, hard drive and peripherals) that sits on top of a desk running the most popular desktop operating system and used for general office and multimedia purposes by home and office users, not a desktop. Presumably because of the atom? In which case I understand why the old PowerPC Apples were not desktops either. Whatever, I'm off to drink my thing that I can't call a cup of tea because its in a mug.

On reflection, I can see what Apple has done now, and this really cracks me up: unlike all the other sentences in the advert, there is no full stop at the end of the line "and still the world's most energy-efficient desktop computer", so what it actually says is "and still the world's most energy-efficient desktop computer starting at $599", which is probably true. Bless them.


October 21, 2009, 10:48 pm

@Nicholas - So if you can't win an argument, just change the definitions of what products are defined as, nice. netbooks, laptops, desktops, servers and now smartphones all have different uses and requirements, that's why they have different names, the boundaries may be getting blurred, but, Apple, Acer, HP or whoever can use the often used and already defined names for these devices.

Sorry if that messes up your point.

So is it a cup or is it a mug? They are two different things you know! :)


October 21, 2009, 11:39 pm

@jacko: But if you're going to be that restrictive in your definition then the Mac Mini isn't a desktop either as it uses a laptop processor and hard drive. I think this is another lie like claiming the air is the thinnest ever laptop.

On the subject of the iMac the new screen sounds impressive and I'm glad LG.Philips (presumably) decided to make one at that resolution. I can't wait until we start seeing it in standalone monitors. The long-overdue video input is also nice, but it's a shame they haven't fixed all the other issues with it.

The new Mouse seems something of a lame effort as well, it seems like the only actual new gesture is the side swipe, but looks a lot more uncomfortable than the usual RMB + scroll wheel method of going through tabs.

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