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New Product Announcements - Going Way Back

Here’s a repeat of an article from Kibbles & Bytes #59! Hard to believe we are on issue #998. We will have to do something special for issue #1000 in a couple weeks. Anyone have any ideas?

Way back in 1998 Apple made some product intros….cue wavy screen, eerie music and the whirling time disk….

Apple’s new product announcements were exciting this week. I was able to get away to go down to Boston for the dealer briefing the day before the announcements and got some details on the new G3 PowerBook but even at that briefing they did not mention the new iMac. Steve Job’s announcement of the iMac reminded me a lot of the introduction of the Mac Plus. In fact if you take away all the power of the G3 and the cutting edge technology what you have is a Mac Plus on steroids. And one powerhouse of a Mac it is with 233MHz G3 processor and a built-in 15” display. This is the first Mac to come standard without a floppy drive and to utilize the new USB (universal serial bus) ports in place of ADB and serial ports. It is bundled with the new Apple USB keyboard and mouse. USB will be the standard for both Mac and PCs within a very short time. With Apple’s version of USB you get hot swappable serial ports that are automatically configured each time a device is connected (bet it’s Windows 2010 before wintel gets that one right!). At $1299 retail it will be a trend setting machine when it is released this fall. The all-in-one design has translucent plastics reminiscent of the eMate.

The iMac is squarely aimed at the consumer market and was key in no small part to bringing Intuit back into the Apple camp in terms of development of future versions of Quicken. When Apple discontinued the Performa line sales of the bundled Quicken program dropped dramatically and Intuit decided to stop development until they were shown the iMac. They then became one of the software packages to be bundled with the new machine. Apple’s consumer strategy assumes that end-users will not want to upgrade the processor on their internet machine as the processor is not upgradeable and there are no PCI slots. On the other hand just the same as with that old Mac Plus I am sure people will figure out a way to do things with this machine that Apple never envisioned.

The news of this machine saw Apple’s stock shoot up over 30 for the first time in a while and is already having an impact on the prices of other Macs. Along this line we have made some deep cuts in the pricing of the entire UMAX product line and you will see some price reductions in Apple’s refurbs as well.

The other announcement that almost got lost in the excitement over the iMac was the new G3 PowerBooks. These are some very interesting products. Without a doubt they are the fastest laptops available. PERIOD. There is no other portable computer that is as fast as these PowerBooks. That’s a pretty impressive statement. The new Apple advertising campaign “This new PowerBook eats the Pentium II for lunch” is hot! With the top of the line machine sporting a 14.1 inch active matrix display the line between a desktop and portable is also blurring a bit. The fastest of these PowerBook benchmarks out at around 1100 making it as fast as the fastest desktop G3s. Again hidden in the details are some interesting technological advances. These PowerBooks have S-Video input and support DVD drives (not the ones that will show movies!). They also have improved the case design and the keyboard. The lowest-end model features a SVGA (dual scan) color display and a G3 processor without backside cache. That model sells for around $2299 but still benches out near 500.

It is that time of year again for new Apple gear and you can stay informed right here in Kibbles & Bytes!

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