all about workflow - especially in a shop - to me it would seem a little bit stupid to create those spec-pics by hand - 2nd: new products in a good working shop shouldn't be inserted by a web-designer - or pehaps i'm very wrong and every part on apples website is handmade...??
I'm sure they use a content management system- which actually increases the chances of a mistake being made.
When you build a page "by hand," you can preview it in a browser and see what it all looks like together. Easier to catch problems that way.
When you use a content management system, you upload all the files "loose" to the staging server and then preview it online. It's a lot easier to miss mistakes unless you have a rigorous proofing system in place- a system that I presume has broken down under pressure these last couple of days.
As to the images themselves being built by hand- sure. Apple's website has a relatively limited product selection (compared to a typical e-commerce website with 20,000+ SKUs). For the main product display pages, it makes sense to build the text blocks by hand- you want to make sure the ext is nicely spaced, the sentences properly broken, etc.
I bet they use templates that they open and type into- and the fact that this template matches that of the other two new products on the site (Quark and FCP) reinforces it's validity in my eyes.
I presume they are doing a rolling upgrade to the specs lists-new products get the new, easier-to-read template. Upgrading all the templates on the site at once would be a big job, but just doing the new ones means the old ones eventually drop off as the products change- less work, at the expense of inconsistency.
In fact, as an art director, I would have directed the designers to beef up the fonts on the "old" lists- they are too thin, low-contrast, and difficult to read. These things are continually upgraded all the time- remember the gradual switch from Apple Garamond to Myriad for all the title fonts? People were calling that a mistake, too- since it first showed up on the eMac and iMac pages and nowhere else (back when those were new products).