Apple Continues To Defy Recession, Releases New Hardware
On Monday Apple announced their FY09 Q4 earnings which ended on September 30, 2009. Net profit for the company rose nearly 46-percent to $1.67 billion on sales of $9.87 billion. During the quarter, Apple sold:
- 4.7 million iPhones, a 7% growth over a year ago,
- 3.05 million Macintosh computers, a 17% increase over a year ago, and
- 10.2 million iPods, which while it appears to be a staggering number, is actually a decline of 8% from last year.
"We are thrilled to have sold more Macs and iPhones than in any previous quarter," said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. "We’ve got a very strong lineup for the holiday season and some really great new products in the pipeline for 2010."
Continuing on the momentum of the Q4 earnings, Apple on Tuesday released a slew of new hardware in a very un-Apple-like way. Rather than a big media event, Apple simply pushed out the new hardware with a press release and update splash page on the main Apple website.
Magic Mouse - Apple introduced multi-touch technology as a new way to interact with mobile devices on the iPhone and Mac Book, and now they are taking it to a new level with the "Magic Mouse". The low-profile seamless top is a multi-touch surface that allows you to scroll in any direction with one finger, swipe through web pages and photos using two fingers, and click or double click anywhere on the device. Apple claims that the sensor inside the mouse can determine when you are simply resting your hand on the device, swiping, or clicking. It will be interesting to see how well the device works, as previous Apple mice have been less than stellar.
iMac - The iMac lineup comes in 21.5" and 27" varieties. While the 21.5" iMac uses the Intel Core 2 Duo processor, the new 27" offers an Intel i5 or i7 quad core option. Both screens are LED-backlit, and the 21.5" supports a resolution of 1920x1080. Screen space on the 27" is increased by 78% more pixels and has a resolution of 2560x1440. Sony may use the slogan "Beyond High Definition" for Blu-ray, but it certainly applies to the 27" iMac. Speaking of Blu-ray, it would have been nice to see that as an option in the 27" iMac. Also used in the 27" iMac is a ATI HD 4850 video card. Apple is also really happy about the design of the new iMacs, check out the video (Quicktime) for more on that.
MacBook - The $999 MacBook now has a unibody design with rounded contours to make it easier to pick up and slide in or out of a bag. The rugged polycarbonate body makes it ideal for everyday usage by students and those on the go. It also has added a glass trackpad with, you guessed it, multi-touch support. The non-removable battery claims a 7 hour battery life, with 1000 charges. Some will be said to learn that along with the update, the MacBook lost its FireWire port. Interested in what the MacBook looks like on the inside? iFixit already has a teardown of the device.
Mac Mini & Mac Mini Server - The Mac Mini is a nice little system, though often feels neglected by Apple. It was nice to see it get an update in processing power and memory. What is interesting here is not the updated specs, but Apple has finally decided to embrace the little system as server worthy. For years now many people have taken the Mac Mini and used it as a cheap, entry level OS X server. Small business now have a more affordable server option, the Mac Mini Server. For $999 you get a nice little system than can easily be tucked away some place, but you also get OS X Server with unlimited users, no extra client access license fees required. Anyone who has ever spec’ed out a Windows Server will know that the CALs for the Server OS can end up costing more than double the hardware. TUAW goes into the other big possibilities of the Mac Mini Server.
Other Stuff - Apple's Mighty Mouse has been renamed to Apple Mouse due to the lawsuit by Man and Machine. An updated Apple Wireless Keyboard was release, the new version only requires 2 AA batteries whereas the previous used 3. A new 60W MagSafe power adapter has an aluminum connector to make it more durable. The Apple remote is now aluminum, looks goofy, and can control your iPhone or any iPod connected to the Universal Dock. The AirPort Extreme Base Station and Time Capsule devices now have a bigger and more powerful antenna which promises 50% better Wi-Fi performance and 25% better range, and are certified 802.11n.