Apple Announces New Aluminum Laptops and LED Cinema Display

Apple this morning revealed new models of their laptops just in time for the Holiday season. All the new Aluminum laptops sport new Nvidia chipsets instead of the Intel GMA chipset. In addition, they've replaced the the screens with LED-backlit glossy screens, along with a gesture-recognition, no-button glass trackpad.

Apple also released a 24 inch LED monitor for use for their laptops, with a multi-adapter cord which features MagSafe (for charging your laptop), 3 USB ports, and a DisplayPort connector. Also included in the specs is a built-in iSight camera, microphone and stereo speakers.

What I find particularly interesting about the feature set of this monitor is that it is equipped explicitly for these new laptops released today, indicating the direction for future product development along this line of laptops. While the glossy screen of the monitor is a detractor for professionals, it is also likely that for the majority of the audience who would be purchasing these monitors the glossiness is not likely to be of much concern to them.

Apple made a minor refresh of the 17 inch MacBook Pro and the models of the MacBook Air in the area of drive capacity, but do not incorporate the new designs revealed today. Today's announcements also lay the groundwork for the announcements to be made at MacWorld SF in January, which are likely to be announcements of new MacPros, Mac mini, AppleTV and iLife.

Intel's Nehalem chipset is due to be released in the first few weeks of November (the 17th, if the series of tubes is to be trusted), leading some to speculate that Apple may hold another event next month to announce the release of new Xserves and MacPros with this new CPU. I find this rumor to be highly unlikely, as historically, Apple has only ever announced new products in November twice in recent history -- in 2002 and 2003, when Apple was still utilizing the PowerPC architecture. I strongly believe that Nehalem-powered XServes and MacPros will be announced at MacWorld SF in January, and not before, as traditionally, while Intel has made their chips available in November, it is in the 1st quarter of the following year that the OEMs are able to release products that utilize these chips.

At the beginning of this year, Steve Jobs made the claim that 2008 would see more product launches than any in Apple history. Here's a short checklist of items released, which number twelve in total: 1/2008: MacPro
1/2008: MacBook Air
1/2008: Xserve
2/2008: iPod Shuffle (new colors, does that count?)
4/2008: iMac
7/2008: iPhone 3G
9/2008: iPod classic (120GB)
9/2008: 2nd Gen iPod Touch
9/2008: 3rd Gen iPod Nano
10/2008: Aluminum MacBook
10/2008: Aluminum MacBook Pro
10/2008: Apple LED Cinema Display

AppleTV, Apple's Cinema Displays, and the Mac mini are all in dire need of updating in addition to the iPod shuffle -- which was introduced in January 2005, and has retained the same appearance since September 2006. The Mac mini, likewise was introduced in January 2005, and has undergone slight revisions in the 3 years following. The last update was in August of 2007, which leads me to believe that if announced, a January 2009 Mac mini would sport the updated Nvidia chips instead of the Intel GMA 950.

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