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PC World

iMac updates emphasize graphics

October 7, 1999
Web posted at: 10:34 a.m. EDT (1434 GMT)

by Alexandra Krasne imac

CUPERTINO, Calif. (IDG) -- Proving once again that love knows no bounds, Apple chief executive officer Steve Jobs gushed over a new line of iMacs and an updated Apple operating system, OS 9, announced here Tuesday.

"They're just luscious," Jobs purrs.

Apple is shipping three new flavors: the $999 iMac; $1299 iMac DV; and $1499 iMac DV Special Edition.

The standard, blue iMac is loaded with a 350MHz G3 processor, a 56 kilobits-per-second modem, 6GB of storage, and a slot-loading CD-ROM. With the slot, you don't push a button to open the door to the CD-ROM drive, but simply slide a CD into an opening in the front of the computer.

Mac Compatible?

Released in tangerine, strawberry, blueberry, grape, and lime, the iMac DV comes with a DVD drive, 10GB of storage, a 400MHz processor, and dual 400-megabit per second FireWire ports.

The latest and greatest, according to Jobs, is the iMac DV Special Edition, with 128MB standard, a 13GB hard drive, and a new color: graphite.

"(This Mac is) stunningly beautiful," Jobs gushes. "It comes only in graphite--making it the coolest-looking consumer desktop in the world." The iMac DV Special Edition is, in fact, semi-transparent, so you can see its internal workings.

Not just another pretty face

What do you like most about the iMac?

Ease of use
None of these
Nothing at all
View Results

Looks aren't everything. The iMacs are also touted as being quieter than their predecessors. Typically, fans that cool the computers are noisy, Jobs says. But these iMacs are cooled using convection, so they use less power and are barely audible, he says.

Apple, capitalizing on what it does best -- graphics -- has loaded its new iMac, iMac DV, and iMac DV Special Edition with some added capabilities, notably digital video software and hardware.

Both of the iMac DV models have FireWire ports where you can hook your digital video camera, download videos, and edit them using iMovie, Apple's new video editor.

With iMovie, you can rearrange clips, insert titles, and add special effects or a soundtrack, Jobs says. Then you can store your movie on a hard disk, put it on a video tape, or compress it using QuickTime Video and e-mail it or post it to a Web site.

However, the sheer size of a digital video can be a limitation. Digital videos usually take up more than 3MB per second, so a 36-minute video would be a whopping 8GB, according to Jon Rubenstein, senior vice president of hardware engineering at Apple.

The software itself has a simple interface designed to make it easy to use.

Between a chorus of audience "oohs" and "ahhs", Jobs demonstrated the desktop video on the iMac DV Special Edition and predicted that the new Macs will have the same impact that Apple had on the desktop publishing revolution.

For wire-free Internet connection, Apple has a device called AirPort. This $299 device supports wireless Internet connection for ten iMac users, and ships this month.

If you're sick of the skimpy speakers bundled with most computers, iMac's cure comes in the form of micro speakers designed by Harmon Kardon. For an extra bump in bass, Apple also offers a subwoofer for $99.

Going for the graphics

It's about time for Apple to capitalize on its strong graphics capabilities, applauds Alexis Gerard, industry analyst and publisher of The Future Image Report.

"Digital imaging got started on the Mac," Gerard says. "For a long time, Photoshop was Mac-only. Apple never cashed in on that. Plus, they invented the low-end digital camera category with QuickTake."

While Microsoft and other industry players move their efforts to the Web, Apple is moving its efforts to imaging, or digital imaging, an area Macs have typically dominated.

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

"They needed to put out something new," says Schelley Olhava, an analyst for International Data Corporation. Other vendors, including Compaq Gateway and NEC, have attractive new PCs on the market, and others are in the wings.

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

Jobs also touted the upcoming release of Macintosh OS 9. Scheduled to ship on October 23, OS 9 has 50 new features and Jobs terms it the "Internet OS." It costs $99, or $19 for an update from OS 8.

With the OS 9 search engine and personal shopper, Sherlock 2, you can enter in natural language queries. You also can set up multiple users who can log in with a password and keep their own preferences files private. OS 9 also supports a voice print password.

OS 9 also has Auto Update (which retrieves and installs the most current version), local file encryption, and a keychain feature where you can store all of your passwords.

Jack McCarthy of IDG News Service contributed to this report.

Apple launches new iMacs and OS -
October 6, 1999
iMac clone maker to swap color after court ruling
September 27, 1999
Long-awaited iBook ships
September 17, 1999
G4 chips beef up Power Macs
August 31, 1999

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QuickTime: Apple's future lunch ticket
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