Apple unleashes the Mighty Mac

With all the recent rock’n’roll iPod news, it’s easy to forget that Apple is a computer company. But it today confirmed the expected improvements to i

With all the recent rock’n’roll iPod news, it’s easy to forget that Apple is a computer company. But it today confirmed the expected improvements to its professional line of desktops and laptops.

Despite no cosmetic changes, the new Power Mac G5 range has been significantly revamped under the bonnet, with the inclusion of dual-core processors, while the G4 PowerBook laptop line has been tweaked with higher-resolution screens and longer battery life.

Although the top 2.5GHz clockspeed of the desktop G5 processors is less than the previous high-water mark (2.7GHz), they benefit from having two brains on each chip. And you still get two of these chips in the top-end G5 desktop. Apple claims this will improve performance by up to 69% in processor-intensive applications like Final Cut Pro and Photoshop. We reckon it’ll rip CDs pretty quick in iTunes, too – especially if you raise the memory from the standard 512MB to the eye-watering maximum of 16GB.

The Power Mac G5s will be available in three flavours, the main difference being the processor speed (2.0GHz, 2.3GHz or 2.5GHz) – although the lower-speed computers only feature a single dual-core processor. Prices start at £1400 and max out at £2300.

Meanwhile the laptop updates are pretty minor, raising the battery life by an hour in the 15in and 17in Powerbooks, and also boosting the screen resolution. DVD burners, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth come as standard, even on the 12in model. Prices start at £1100 and go up to £1850 – but with Apple’s much-vaunted switch to Intel processors due next year, many prospective notebook buyers may be tempted to wait until the first batch of Centrino Macs roll off the production line. They’re likely to be thinner, longer-lasting and, if early reports are anything to go by, significantly faster.

You'll find full details and specifications at Apple's site. You'll also find info about Apple's new £350 photography application, Aperture – a kind of professional iPhoto aimed at snappers who use the uncompressed RAW file format.

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