April 4, 2007

This week’s Apple news

I call this: computers,mac — Posted by KP @ 3:57 pm

Quick wrap-up of some interesting things that happened this week:
Steve Jobs will lead us from the evils of DRM
Some time ago, Steve Jobs wrote an open letter saying that he felt the future of digital music was to remove digital rights management and let consumers play their purchased music however they want and on whatever device they want. Well it’s actually happening. The iTunes Store will be selling DRM-free, higher-quality (256kbps) music published by EMI for $1.29. If you already own the songs you will be able to upgrade to the non-DRM versions by paying the extra 30 cents. You will still be able to buy songs in the original format for 99 cents if you choose. Some people are mad about the price increase. I think freedom to do what you want with music you own is worth more than 30 cents, so I’m happy. It will be interesting to see how long it takes before all the major labels convert.

Complete My Album
In more minor iTunes news, there’s this new feature available now on the iTunes Store that will be helpful for people who own songs from an album and don’t want to pay the full price when they later decide to purchase the entire album. If you go to the Complete My Album icon on the store, it will show you your albums and how much it will cost you to complete each one. Cool way of doing it, I think. Unfortunately, you only have six months after purchasing the song to be able to apply it to the album cost. That’s kind of lame.

Lower prices on Cinema Displays
Always a good thing, given the high price of quality flat-panel monitors. The prices are:

  • 20-inch: $599
  • 23-inch: $899
  • 30-inch: $1799

Personally, if I was in the market for one, I would be cautious, because a price drop usually means something better is around the corner, and the discontinuation of the standalone iSight would seem to indicate that soon all Apple monitors will have built-in iSights. Even if you’re not interested in an iSight, you never know what crazy improvements they’ll come up with. But if I had unlimited funding, I might be interested in one (or eight) because of this…

8-core Mac Pros
I don’t get as excited about processors as some people get (at least when I know I’m not going to be using them), but I do know that quad-core is all the rage, and two quad-cores is naturally double the rage, and as a result people have been hoping for the announcement of an 8-core Mac. Congrats.

So it uses two of the “Clovertown” 3.0GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5300 processors which should give it a rating of “really fucking fast” on my personal benchmark against my 1.25GHz G4. It can take up to 16GB of RAM, and I’m not sure if this is new to this model, but the video cards can support up to 8 monitors (I assume that would mean 4 of the 30-inch ones). Damn. If I had a million dollars, I’d buy one of these and 8 23″ monitors wrapped around my entire desk, just because I can.

So how much does it cost? Well the starting price on the Apple Store is $2499 for a Mac Pro, but that’s not for the new chips. I configured a system with the 8-core chips, 16MB of RAM, and eight 23″ HD monitors, and it came out to $19,473.90, including tax. As this is only slightly below my average annual income, I think I will have to settle for the Macbook Pro I’ve got my eye on.