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Apple Now Offering iMacs Equipped With VESA Mount Adapters as $40 Upgrade

As noticed by Macworld UK, Apple today introduced a new configuration option for its 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs, allowing customers to choose a VESA mount adapter instead of the standard foot. The $40 option allows users to mount their iMacs to walls or other vertical surfaces, but must be configured at the time of purchase.
The iMac with Built-in VESA Mount Adapter is ready to pair with your favorite VESA-compatible wall mount, desk mount, or articulating arm (sold separately). This iMac doesn't include a stand, so a mount is required. If you don't already have a mount, you can purchase one when you configure your iMac.
Apple is currently quoting shipping estimates of 7-10 business days for VESA-equipped iMacs, compared to immediate availability for standard models.

Mac Setups: Desk of an Electrical Engineer & Amateur Photographer

Amateur Photographers Mac setup

This weeks great Mac setup comes to us from Bob C., an Electrical Design Engineer and amateur photographer who uses his Mac setup for image editing and management. There's a fair amount of audio equipment mixed in as well:

  • MacBook Pro 15″ Retina – Core i7 CPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD
  • Apple Cinema Display 24″ connected to the MacBook Pro
  • iPad
  • iPhone 5
  • Full-sized Apple Keyboard
  • Apple Magic Trackpad
  • Apple Magic Mouse
  • Griffin Powermate USB media controller
  • M-Audio BX5a 70 watt Bi-amplified Studio Reference Monitors
  • Mackie  402-VLZ3 4-channel Mixer
  • Audio-Technica Pro49QL condenser microphone with AT8615 Desk Stand
  • Behringer UCA202 USB Audio Interface (not shown)
  • LaCie 256GB Rugged USB 3.0 and Thunderbold, for photo storage (with bright orange rubber bumper removed)
  • Segate 1GB USB 3.0 Backup Plus (for Time Machine backup)
  • Satechi 4 port USB3 Hub (not shown)

Though the MacBook Pro is shown in clamshell mode, Bob will often have the display open to function as a second monitor, an especially nice prospect given the gorgeous Retina display.

For those wondering, it looks like the camera used to take this great desk shot and accurately capture the lighting is a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi (found via EXIF data!), presumably that's the camera that gets most use for photography as well.

Supply Chain Indicators Point to Poor February for Apple

Citigroup's recent claim that Apple would miss its own Q1/Q2 revenue forecasts has been lent weight by Topeka Capital's Apple Monitor reporting that key Apple suppliers had a "terrible" February (via Business Insider).

The monitor, which tracks the results of Apple's key suppliers, is compiled by Topeka Capital's Brian White, an analyst normally bullish on Apple.
When [supplier] results are good, it usually means good things for Apple. When the results are bad, watch out.

White says the February results for his Apple Monitor were down 31 percent sequentially, which compares to the typical 8 percent decline. Even if you factor in the Chinese New Year, he still says it's bad.
The Chinese New Year tends to result in significantly reduced production, but White calculates that factoring that in still results on a fall in production of 15%, amounting to "the worst February we have on record." White goes on to observe that most of the preliminary Taiwan monitors show weak results, suggesting that the slowdown is affecting the whole industry, though Apple's supply chain figures appear worse than most.

Last month, research firm NPD revealed surprisingly strong Mac and iPod sales in the U.S. for the month of January, but with those product families accounting for smaller and smaller proportions of Apple's revenue, iPhone and iPad sales have become the primary drivers of Apple's performance.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has cautioned against reading too much into supply chain reports, noting that the company has multiple sources for many components and that yield rates may vary over time, but Topeka's Apple Monitor attempts to take some of those fluctuations into account by taking a broader view spanning a number of companies within Apple's supply chain.

Retina MacBook Pro Beats 18 Windows 8 Laptops in Battery Life Test [Mac Blog]

The 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro beat 18 Windows 8 laptops in a battery-life test conducted by Which?, the UK consumer test organization with a reputation for the most detailed testing in the industry.

In the web-browsing test where most laptops performed best, the Acer Aspire M5-581T was the longest-lasting Windows 8 machine at 358 minutes, while the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro lasted 30 minutes longer. The Which? test was primarily aimed at comparing Windows 8 machines, but they included two non-Windows machines as a contrast. The MacBook Pro topped the list, while a Samsung Series 3 Chromebook came out in the middle of the pack at 224 minutes.
The longest running Windows 8 laptop for web browsing is the Acer Aspire timeline Ultra M5-581T – a 15.6″ screen, 2.1kg ultrabook. It lasted almost six hours on battery – enough to get you to from London to Middlesbrough and back – and fell 30 minutes shy of the battery life of the 13″ Apple Macbook Pro Retina, but costs around £500 less.

If you switch to watching movies from the Acer's hard disk, you'd get four hours and 37 minutes of movie viewing time – a little over an hour less than the Macbook.
Similar to Consumer Reports in the United States, Which? is known for scientific approach and detail in its testing. For example, product testers hook up laptops to lab gear to measure power consumption, use thermal imaging systems to measure heat and use light-measurement kits to test screen brightness.