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iMac Makeover and a Flickr fighter: Upgrades from Apple

imacWhen Apple announced earnings two weeks ago, CFO Peter Oppenheimer shockingly forecast a reduction in earnings for this current quarter.  Analysts were dumbfounded how that could be possible after two quarters of stellar returns.   The vague explanation Mr. Oppenheimer provided under pressure for more info was that “there will be a product transition [he couldn’t] get into.”

Today, Apple revealed the first of what will likely be a few product changes. Today, they unleashed the new iMac

While they say it’s bad to judge a book by its cover, in the case of this new computer, the cover is pretty nice (or pretty and nice?).  Sporting a new makeover, the new iMac brings to market upgraded internals and a revision of its already iconic, minimalist appearance. 

The shape of the case is largely unchanged, but with new materials, the computer design is strikingly modern.  As has been the case with other new Apple products, the crisp white case of the earlier generation is replaced with a black and metal case.  In homage to eco-friendly trends, an environmentally friendly manufacturing, the computer’s case is made with an anodized aluminum frame and glass cover.  Paying attention to little details, the aluminum is cut from a single sheet so there are no seams or screw holes. Internally, the computer is configurable with a few different processor set-ups and several size hard drives. 

To better suit video and entertainment programs, the integrated displays will be available in either 20 or 24 inch widescreen formats.  A new, ultra thin profile keyboard will also accompany the computer.   So far, there is no upgrade for the mouse. The computers will be priced between $1,199 and $1799.

Last quarter, Apple shipped 1.76 million Macs, up 33% over the year before. It was a huge contributor to the company’s earnings. The release of this new version will look to build on that success and seems timed to try and capture a portion of back to school sales.

In addition to the iMac upgrades, Apple also revealed a substantial and sweeping list of modifications to its popular iLife software application suite. The group which includes several movie, photo and music applications will be bundled with new iMac purchase. Notable among its new inclusions, will be the introduction of a web-based photo gallery that subscribers can use to post and share pictures.  (It sounds an awful lot like popular photo sharing site Flickr).

The most notable thing missing from the new announcement was a supporting version of the popular and clever “Get a Mac” television commercials.   That oversight will likely change soon enough: The  Mac meet PC  ad campaign has been hugely popular.  It’s  easy to imagine a new version will be aired soon – maybe focused on the characters dressing in new costumes: the Mac’s wearing a well fitted and stylish wardrobe, cool new black and silver sunglasses.  The PC’s clothing a mismatch of seventies and eighties clothing outcasts?  (I’d vote for a Michael Jackson Beat-It jacket).   

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