Thoughtful, detailed coverage of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus the best-selling Take Control ebooks.

 

 

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Springy Dock Tricks

If you drag a file and hover over Dock icons, various useful things happen which are similar to Finder springing. If it's a window, the window un-minimizes from the Dock. If it's a stack, the corresponding folder in the Finder opens. If it's the Finder, it brings the Finder to the foreground and opens a window if one doesn't exist already. But the coolest (and most hidden) springing trick is if you hover over an application and press the Space bar, the application comes to the foreground. This is great for things like grabbing a file from somewhere to drop into a Mail composition window that's otherwise hidden. Grab the file you want, hover over the Mail icon, press the Space bar, and Mail comes to the front for you to drop the file into the compose window. Be sure that Spring-Loaded Folders and Windows is enabled in the Finder Preferences window.

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Apple Refreshes iMac Line

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Apple has released updates to its popular consumer iMac line. Both the 20- and 24-inch models have been updated with improved processor speeds, graphics cards, memory capacities, and hard drives.

In its new base configuration, the 20-inch iMac sports a 2.66 GHz processor, 2 GB of RAM, a 320 GB hard drive, and the same Nvidia GeForce 9400M graphics processor that has been appearing elsewhere in the Mac line of late. The updated model can support up to 8 GB of RAM, and has 640 GB and 1 TB hard drives as options.

The 24-inch iMac now comes in three different configurations with 2.66 GHz, 2.93 GHz, and 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor speeds (these options are nearly the same as the previous lineup, which offered 2.66 GHz, 2.8 GHz, and 3.06 GHz configurations). The 24-inch model also now comes standard with 4 GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM (upgradeable to 8 GB), which is double the previous amount, and either a 640 GB or 1 TB hard drive.

The 2.66 GHz model of the 24-inch iMac has the same Nvidia GeForce 9400M graphics processor as the 20-inch version, but the 2.93 GHz model uses the GeForce GT 120 with 256 MB of GDDR3 memory, and the 3.06 GHz model relies on the GeForce GT 130 with 512 MB of GDDR3 memory. You can also configure these latter two with the ATI Radeon HD 4850 discrete graphics processor, with 512 MB of memory.

As usual, all the new iMacs come with the built-in iSight camera, microphone, and speakers. Also included is Apple's Mini DisplayPort for connecting a second monitor, built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, Gigabit Ethernet, four USB 2.0 ports (with an additional two ports on the wired keyboard), and one FireWire 800 port (dropping the previous FireWire 400 port).

The price point for the base 2.66 GHz 20-inch model remains the same at $1,199, but Apple now offers the 2.66 GHz 24-inch model for $1,499, which is $300 cheaper than the previous revision. The 2.93 GHz model comes in at $1,799, and the 3.06 GHz model costs $2,199.

Although all these changes are welcome, they're by no means earth-shattering. In some ways, the most interesting change is the addition of the now-standard Mini DisplayPort, making it possible to connect Apple's 24-inch LED Cinema Display to the iMac. That said, the 24-inch LED Cinema Display still seems aimed directly at the MacBook line, given its triple-headed cable, and it doesn't appear that the 24-inch LED Cinema Display and 24-inch iMac will sit at the same vertical height, making the combination less than ideal.

 

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