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Apple launches new iMacs and OS

October 6, 1999
Web posted at: 1:40 p.m. EDT (1740 GMT)

by Jack McCarthy


(IDG) -- Apple Computer's Steve Jobs served up a new iMac computer line Tuesday, one the company says is faster, sleeker, quieter and more 'Net-friendly than the original version.

Updating the popular, fruit-colored iMac line issued in August 1998, the new iMacs include one version priced just below $1,000. Jobs, orchestrating the unveiling in Cupertino, California, touted the new iMacs as another Apple success story.

The new line includes the updated iMac, the iMac DV (digital video) and the iMac DV Special Edition, which is enclosed in a clear graphite-colored shell. The new computers are available now.

Jobs also announced that a new operating system, the Mac OS 9, will be available Oct 23. Priced at $99, it will feature a new Sherlock 2 Internet search engine and more than 50 new features.

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The iMacs are priced and configured as follows:

  • The iMac for $999 includes a 350MHz PowerPC G3 processor, 64M-bytes SDRAM, 512K-bytes backside cache, a 6G-byte Ultra ATA hard drive, slot-load 24-speed CD-ROM (maximum), a V.90 56K modem, 10/100BASE-T and two USB ports. The iMAC is designed to work without a fan, includes a new sound system and comes in Blueberry color.

  • The iMac DV for $1,299 includes the same configuration as the iMac, but runs at 400 MHz, has a 10G-byte hard drive, 4-speed slot-load DVD-ROM drive with DVD video playback, two 400Mbps Fire Wire ports and iMove software. The computer comes in Blueberry, Grape, Lime, Strawberry and Tangerine.

  • The iMac DV Special Edition for $1,499, has the same configuration as the iMac, but with 128M bytes of SDRAM and a 13G-byte Ultra ATA hard drive. It's available in Graphite.

The timing of the launch is auspicious for Apple, analysts said. The holiday buying season is underway and other vendors are releasing their own attractive PCs.

"They needed to put out something new," said Schelley Olhava, an analyst for International Data Corp. in Mountain View, California. Other vendors, including Compaq Computer Corp., Gateway Inc. and NEC Corp. have attractive, new PCs on the market, with releases from other companies on the way, she said.

"They had a lot of success with the iMac because they had an installed base (of loyal Apple customers)," she said. "Now, those customers could be sated. Will they bring in new buyers?"

Apple is also dealing with difficulties in getting supplies, said another analyst. The company recently announced that its earnings for the fourth quarter ending Oct. 13 would be lower than expected because of a shortage of parts for its new Power Mac G4 computers. It blamed the problems on delays in getting processors from Motorola Inc.

"Certainly the new iMac is a powerful offering, and Steve Jobs has pulled another rabbit out of his hat," said Rob Enderle, an analyst for Giga Information Group in Santa Clara, California. "But their biggest problem will continue to be their ability to get parts."

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