Apple’s Prices Stay High…

Apple's new mini server
Apple's new mini-server. Note the lack of an optical media slot. Also note that Apple restrained itself from putting a BSOD on the Windows notebook -- Vista's default desktop is the new BSOD maybe?

My wife has been running Mac OS X Server on a Mac Mini for several years now, and it works beautifully. Lots of people — including server hosting companies — are doing the same, and Apple has acknowledged this by releasing a server version of the Mac Mini with no optical drive and two 500GB drives instead. (I wonder if there’ll be a cheaper version without Mac OS X Server bundled — who needs optical media these days?)

Apple has just released new iMacs, Mac Minis, and a unibody polycarbonate Macbook (identical in spec to the $1199 Macbook Pro except for the SD card slot, IR receiver, backlit keyboard, and firewire). Prices are basically unchanged, but you’re getting more bang for your buck — although not a whole lot more in most cases. Apple has added quad core Core i5 and i7 CPUs to the top-of-the-line iMac, filling the performance gap between the iMac and Mac Pro lines. (A gap that will reopen when the six core CPUs appear in the Mac Pro.) Apple has also released a subtly improved bluetooth keyboard (fewer batteries, better power management) and a really slick looking new “Magic” mouse whose entire upper surface — as widely rumored — is a multitouch surface. Very very cool (and possibly useful), and probably more gamer-friendly than the Mighty Apple Mouse.

The top-of-the-line 27″ (!) iMac can also function as a TV set and supports VESA mounts. (That’s great, but if I want a decent-sized TV, why can’t I get a headless top-of-the-line iMac to plug into it?)

What we don’t see here are any price reductions. So, whatever that low margin product is that Apple hinted at in its Earnings Call yesterday, either these are not they, or Apple will be slashing prices closer to Christmas. After all, what’s not to lust for in a 27″ iMac with a Core i7 and Radeon 487050? Sell it for $1599 and you’ll close the deal.