MacCentral’s holiday gift guide: Shopping at Apple
By Jim Dalrymple
It’s amazing how fast a year goes by — here we are in December and it’s time once again for MacCentral’s holiday gift guide. We like to have fun with our gift guide, so sit back, relax and dream that maybe you’ll find all these goodies under your tree this Christmas. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be looking at products in all price ranges that may interest the Mac lover in your life. Our first stop this year — and my favorite place to browse for toys — Apple.com.
Apple has more products to choose from this year than at any other time in the company’s history. Besides releasing updated versions of products already in their product grid, Apple has expanded its lineup of available products and released some brand new ones.
At the high-end — if the person you are shopping for has expensive taste — Apple’s recently released Power Mac dual 1.25GHz will tackle almost any task you can give it. The top of the line system will cost you approximately US$3,200, but you will get 512MB RAM, 120GB hard drive, Apple’s DVD burning SuperDrive and an ATI Radeon 9000 Pro video card.
Of course, you can get other Power Mac models that start at $1,699 for the dual 867MHz model and rise to $4,599 for the ultimate build-to-order configuration.
What’s a high-end computer without an equally impressive monitor to go with it? Tied for the number one spot on my Christmas list this year is Apple’s 23-inch Cinema HD flat panel display. Priced at $3,499, the 23-inch model is an all digital display that has a 1920-by-1200 resolution.
For $1,000 less, you could opt for the 22-inch Cinema flat panel, which features a resolution of 1600 by 1024 pixels. And breaking the $1,000 barrier is Apple’s 17-inch display, which has a 1280 x 1024 resolution and sells for $999.
Apple has several new products that made their debut this year including a redesigned iMac. Available in various configurations that range in price from $1,199 to $1,999, the iMac’s main eye-catching feature is the flat panel display.
Available in 15-inch and 17-inch models, the high-end iMac comes with an 800MHz processor, NVIDIA GeForce4 MX video card, 256MB RAM, 80GB hard drive and a 17-inch display.
Taking the place of the previous generation iMac this year is the eMac. First introduced as an education-only computer, Apple soon offered it to the public and added a DVD burning SuperDrive. The eMac has a standard 17-inch CRT screen and comes with a 700MHz or 800MHz G4 processor.
Priced between $1,099 and $1,658, the eMac comes equipped with a Combo-drive or a SuperDrive, depending on the model.
For the budget conscious consumer, Apple is still offering three models of the original iMac. All three models have a 600MHz processor, a CD-ROM drive and a 40GB hard drive, and are priced from $799 to $949.
Portable users have many choices this year including revamped iBooks and PowerBooks. The other product tied for the number one spot on my Christmas list this year is Apple’s recently released 1GHz PowerBook. The first PowerBook to include a SuperDrive, the high-end model also comes with 512MB RAM, an ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 video card, a 60GB hard drive and an AirPort card.
Other PowerBook models, priced at $2,299 and $2,799, feature an 867MHz processor with a Combo-drive at the low-end and 1GHz processor with a Combo-drive for the mid-range model.
There are four iBook models available that range in price from $999 to $1849. All iBook models come with a 700MHz or 800MHz G3 processor and all but the low-end model are equipped with a Combo-drive — the low-end iBook has a CD-ROM drive.
Apple’s popular MP3 player made a big splash this year receiving rave reviews from Mac and PC press alike. Apple revamped the iPod in July, increasing the hard drive to 20GB and releasing a Windows version. Apple now offers 5GB, 10GB and 20GB models, priced from $299 to $499 for either the Windows or Mac version.
The product that grabbed most of the limelight from Apple this year was Mac OS X. Released in August, Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar boasts many new features and speed improvements and offers access to new iapps including iSync and iCal, both of which require 10.2.
Not all of your gifts need to cost hundreds of dollars. If a new piece of hardware is out of your price range, there are still things that would be useful to the Mac person in your life. Many people purchased an iPod before Apple released the wired remote and carrying case last summer. The remote, which will work any model iPod, and the carrying case are available for $39 each.
Apple’s QuickTime Pro can be purchased online for $29 and will open up many features that are unavailable in the free downloadable version from Apple’s Web site.
We will have other gift guides in the next couple of weeks that will feature games and peripherals in various price ranges for the Mac user in your life.