Apple (AAPL) unveiled the new iMac April 28, and it’s more powerful than ever. Marketed as having “Beauty, Brains, and now more Brawn,” the machines boast an updated processor, faster graphics and cost between $1,199 and $1,799, depending upon monitor size and memory. It’s the first major upgrade for Apple since August 2007, and will probably keep its products flying off the shelves.
But before you run out and splurge, take heed. Indulging in a brand new iMac might not be the most valuable upgrade to fit your life and your wallet. Here are some other key upgrades to consider:
Companies like Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Canon (CAJ) are manufacturing printers that are both fast and affordable. “If you’re holding onto that three year old, $99 dollar ink jet and suffering through a one minute [per page] print time, it might be worth it to drop $99 dollars this year and get another printer that prints twice as fast,” says Andy Walker, editor of Cyberwalker. Toner often costs more on older machines due to limited supply, so if you’re paying premium to supply your old printer with ink, it might be more economical to upgrade. And, many older model printers aren’t compatible with the latest computers, something to keep in mind if a new computer is in your near future.
A phone is no longer just a phone, so consider enhancing your mobile options. “If you’re going to splurge, get a new PDA,” says Darren Litt, vice president of the venture-backed mobile startup, MeetMoi. “Some new phones, like the iPhone, have real web browsers on them allowing you to surf the real web, not a trimmed down text version.” Additionally, most PDAs like the BlackBerry (RIMM) come equipped with GPS which allow you to search maps, directions, or even for people and places near you. But an outdated phone will keep you out of the PDA party. “Verizon, (VZ) Sprint (S) and AT&T (T) have been upgrading their data networks with superfast connections,” says Walker. Cell phones that are over two years old aren’t taking advantage of the newer networks, which enable you to download music, search Google (GOOG) and access GPS. And opting for an all-in-one package “eliminates the need to worry as much about how much data you use or how many text messages you send,” says Litt.