$999-$1499
Macs

Apple MacBook Air (Mid 2012)

It’s WWDC, and this year, that means new Mac hardware. The first updates announced by Apple today were for the MacBook Air ($999-$1499). The story is what you’d expect from Cupertino: faster Ivy Bridge processors, more memory, and increased SSD storage. USB 3.0 is now finally built-in, and the FaceTime camera has been updated to 720p, earning it the “FaceTime HD” designation.

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$1199-$1499
Macs

Apple MacBook Pro (Mid 2012)

Apple updated its 13” and 15” MacBook Pro ($1199-$1499) family with modest spec bumps at this year’s WWDC. If an optical drive is still important to you, the new chips inside make these guys worth checking out, and the price points have stayed the same across the line. New to these guys and Macs in general is USB 3, though Apple’s latest screen innovations remain locked into the more expensive 15” MacBook Pro with Retina display.

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$2499+
Macs

Apple Mac Pro (Mid 2012)

There’s not much to say about the 2012 flavor of the Mac Pro ($2499+): sure, Apple updated its powerhouse, but with such modest spec bumps that one has to wonder why they even bothered. This is the company’s most professional, heavy-duty machine, yet it didn’t even get a Thunderbolt port of its own. Is this box going to go the way of the iPod classic, just kind of existing with no real love from Apple?

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Apple Store Refurbished Macs

Hard-core Apple fans have few greater joys than opening brand-new Mac boxes, removing the plastic from around their computers, and booting them up for the first time. But like anything else, the sooner you want a new Mac, the more you’ll pay. Patient customers should note that Apple offers a fantastic second option: refurbished Macs. From model to model, you’re pretty much guaranteed at least 15% off the standard retail price, and older computers can go for discounts closer to 30%. That means the you can score a current-generation base model MacBook Air for only $849—a heck of a deal—or get a more deluxe refurbished model for the same $999 price as a less deluxe new one.

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$1,199-$2,499
Macs

Apple MacBook Pro (Late 2011)

Well, well, well, what do we have here? Just in time for the holidays, Apple has updated its laptop lineup with a small bump to the MacBook Pro family ($1,199-$2,499)—we’d be surprised to see any other big revisions before the end of the year. The new MacBook Pros still use the same Unibody aluminum chassis design we’ve been seeing for the past three years, but the guts have been improved. What’s new? Extra speed and in some cases more storage capacity.

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$599-$999
Macs

Apple Mac mini (Mid 2011)

Okay, okay, we get it, Apple—optical drives are on the way out, at least, for users who don’t want Blu-Ray players or burners in their computers. The ultimate expression of this is the just-introduced mid-2011 Mac mini ($599 and up), a 7.7” rounded square of silver aluminum that has now completely dropped the prior version’s SuperDrive in favor of a completely solid face—only a pinhole power light and IR sensor are on the front. Of course, Mac mini makes up for the omission with some big changes: a lower $599 base price, Core i5 and Core i7 processors, some new Radeon HD GPUs, Thunderbolt, and Bluetooth 4.0. Click for more details.

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$999-$1,599
Macs

Apple MacBook Air (Mid 2011)

The rumors have been a few weeks off, but our predictions were right. About ten months after Apple took a second, far more successful swing at the MacBook Air ($999-$1,599), it has followed it up with an impressively improved new lineup—changes that aren’t groundbreaking, but all very much welcome, and considerably improving the horsepower of Apple’s new base model MacBook. That’s right—the MacBook’s gone, so long live MacBook Air.

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$699 and Up
Macs

Apple Mac mini + Mac Pro (Mid-2011) Expectations

If you were thinking of buying a Mac mini ($699 and up) or Mac Pro ($2499 and up), now would probably be a good time to wait. Following the successful transitions of the MacBook Pro and iMac to Intel’s latest lineup of Sandy Bridge processors—and the impending similar update of the MacBook Air—Apple plans to refresh its other desktop machines with new processors and ports over the next couple of months. As of this week, Cnet is claiming the new machines are coming in late July or early August. Read on for the details of what’s expected to change.

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$1,199 and Up
Macs

Apple iMac (Early 2011)

Right on cue, Apple today updated the iMac ($1,199 and up) line of all-in-ones with quad-core processors across the board, faster graphics, new Thunderbolt I/O ports, and a higher resolution FaceTime HD camera. Sure, pretty much everything is as predicted—and the machines look nearly identical from the outside—but the iMacs remain a great value for the dollar, and these upgraded models are an even better bang for the buck.

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Apple MacBook Air (Mid-2011) Expectations

Last year’s release of the “late 2010 MacBook Air” hit the laptop market like a bolt of lightning. While the improved 13-incher missed the mark with us, gaining an SD card slot, nicer trackpad, and blessedly fixed hinge—but standing still in the CPU department—the tiny 11-inch version won our hearts by offering nearly as much power in a dramatically smaller shell. Two of our editors ditched MacBook Pros for 11-inch Airs and haven’t looked back; two others are ready to make the jump, too. That’s going to happen soon: less than a year later, Apple’s preparing a supposedly major refresh for a May or June 2011 launch, and it might just be worthy of an upgrade. Here’s what we’re expecting.

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$1,200-$2,500
Macs

Apple MacBook Pro (Early 2011)

Yes, Apple’s last MacBook Pro update wasn’t particularly exciting, but the new MacBook Pros ($1,200-$2,500) pack a lot more awesome into otherwise familiar enclosures. On the outside is the same body we’ve seen since the October 2008 overhaul, but new graphics chips and Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors offer huge performance jumps over earlier, same-priced models, and a new Thunderbolt port promises faster I/O with future peripherals. Available in the standard 13”, 15”, and 17” sizes, these workhorses live up to the Pro name.

 

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