Apple Updates Product Lineup Today: New Mac Pros, AirPort Express

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Despite everyone and their brother saying that they just *knew* that the Mac Pro had been discontinued, Apple pushed out an update to the desktop alongside their stunning new Retina MacBook Pros today. It comes with all new faster processors, and…well, that’s basically it.

Apple Mac Pro

Pitiably, the new Mac Pros didn’t even get a mention in today’s WWDC keynote speech, but that might be because the refresh was ever so slight. The new pro-level Mac towers come in three different configurations, just like the models that they’re replacing.

An entry-level Mac Pro will cost you $2,499, but you’ll get a 3.2GHz quad-core Xeon CPU, 6GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive. Add a simple $1,399 to that price and you’ll get two 2.4GHz (max 3.06GHz) six-core Xeons, 12GB of RAM (max 64GB) and still only a 1TB hard drive (max 8TB HDD or 2TB SSD). The third option is a $2,999 model with a single 3.2-GHz quad-core Xeon, 8GB of RAM, two 1TB hard drives, and Mac OS X Lion Server instead of the typical 10.7 Lion.

AirPort ExpressDespite the high entry costs, you’ll only be getting an ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB graphics card. You can upgrade to a pair of the same for $250 or take a single HD 5870 1GB for another $200. And…that’s it. There are no other updates to speak of. You’ll get four FW800 ports, five USB 2.0 ports, digital and analog audio ports, 802.11g, Bluetooth 2.1, and a couple of Gigabit Ethernet ports.

Apple didn’t see fit to change anything else, but that may be due to the unfortunate timing. The Mac Pro has been static for the last two years, and sorely needed a change. Intel’s next-generation Ivy Bridge quad-core Xeon chips aren’t quite ready yet. As a result, we got no USB 3.0 and no Thunderbolt high-speed interconnect ports. Assuming that things don’t get worse for the Mac Pro, we may see those features added – and then some – when the new chips are ready.

The new AirPort Express is $99, just like the last model. It’s got a radically new design, however, based upon the the likewise-$99 AppleTV. But white.

Around back you’ll find two Gigabit Ethernet ports, as well as a USB port that lets you share whatever’s attached – printers, storage, you get the idea. There’s also the same old 3.5mm jack that lets you stream audio across the network via AirPlay. Inside, the new model supports dual-band 802.11n WiFi – that means that it runs on both 2.4GHz as well as 5GHz. As a result, you’ll be able to move your WiFi onto less crowded, higher frequency networks, set up a guest network distinct from your normal one, and more. 

One of the things that sets the AirPort Express apart from other routers is that you don’t need to use a complicated webpage hosted on the router to set it up. Instead, Apple has written both iOS and OS X apps for it. Just turn your router on, pull out your iPhone or laptop and boom – you’re good to go.

Like the Mac Pro above, the new AirPort is avaiable today.



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