While many are hyperfocused on the iPad mini -- and despite all the talk about a post-PC world -- Apple demonstrated that it's still betting on desktops and laptops. Amid the iPad mini excitement on Tuesday, Apple rolled out some impressive PCs. But will its premium pricing be an issue for customers?
Designed for speed, the completely new iMac features a third-generation, quad-core Intel Core i5 processor that can be upgraded to a Core i7. Graphics performance also is improved, with Nvidia GeForce processors that deliver up to 60 percent faster rendering for advanced gaming and other graphics-intensive apps.
Noteworthy in the new iMac is the Fusion Drive, a storage option that gives customers the performance of flash storage and the capacity of a hard drive. It combines 128 GB of flash memory with a standard 1 TB or 3 TB hard drive to create a single storage volume that manages files to optimize read and write performance. Fusion Drive automatically moves the files and apps consumers use most often to flash storage to offer faster performance and quicker access.
A Powerful Display
Apple also took the cover off a new 13-inch MacBook Pro featuring a Retina display and all-flash storage. The new MacBook Pro is 20 percent thinner and almost a pound lighter than the current-generation model.
The new MacBook Pro packs more than 4 million pixels into its 13-inch Retina display. That's nearly twice the number of pixels in an HD television. At 227 pixels per inch, the Retina display's pixel density is so high the human eye is unable to distinguish individual pixels at a normal viewing distance, so images look sharp and text looks like it does on a printed page.
What does all this mean practically? With four times the pixels of the current 13-inch MacBook Pro, consumers can view and edit video in pixel-accurate 1080p and see a new level of detail in high resolution images. The 13-inch Retina display uses IPS technology for a 178-degree wide viewing angle, and has 75 percent less reflection and 28 percent higher contrast than the current generation.
Why Price Is No Problem
But all these innovations come at a price. The 21.5-inch iMac pricing starts at $1,299, available in November, while the 27-inch model starts at $1,799, available in December. The MacBook Pro is even pricier, starting at $1,699. Is Apple pricing itself out of the PC market?
Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu said the debut of the new MacBook Pro and iMacs won't mark the first time analysts have questioned Apple's premium pricing strategy.
"We have seen it with the iPhone, iPod, Macs, and even iPad," Wu told us. "We would argue that Apple has a strong track record in pricing to optimize volume and profits, unlike most competitors who need to price low to have a fighting chance."