In the midst of the worst U.S. recession in 27 years, Apple — ever the trailblazer — unveiled a new line of its aesthetically pleasing and — quite frankly — financially-straitening Mac desktop computers, canvassing the entire market spectrum starting from Mac Minis at under $600 to an all-singing, all-dancing, 8-core space-shuttle-launch-capable Mac Pro for a cool $3,299.
At first glance, it would seem Apple’s caved in to pressure and finally lowered prices on its flagship computers: the company says its new top-of-the-line Mac Pro comes $300 cheaper than predecessors, while still boasting cutting-edge performance with two of Intel’s quad-core Xeon processors and 6 GB of memory upgradeable to 32 GB. Apple’s reluctance to sacrifice margins — because it makes it that much harder to rebound once the economy does — has been legendary.
But for perspective — that sort of money can get you Dell’s latest, next-to-most-powerful gaming engine — albeit sans display — a high-performance, fully tricked-out machine capable of running Crysis with all video options maxed out and still find time to pick up the groceries on the side. (Specifications: www.dell.com).
Why is Apple choosing to unveil new products in the depths of a recession? Perhaps because the company has been under pressure for months since investors’ and consumers’ attention shifted from the company’s innovative offerings to CEO Steve Jobs’ health problems. Lifting the lid on a bunch of new desktops might not have the same cachet as, say, introducing the iPhone, but it sends a strong signal to a consumer market used by now to fielding sales calls and discounting bonanzas.