The place to be on February 16, 2000 was Nippon Convention Center, Makuhari Messe, Japan. This was the place were Steve Jobs announced many of the hardware upgrades that we expected to hear about at MacWorld San Francisco in January, plus a couple of surprises.
New Professional laptops
The first announcements were the long awaited “Pismo” laptops, completing the upgrades to all “four quadrants” of Apple’s new product range to drop old legacy SCSI, serial and ADB systems and replacing them with Firewire, USB and Airport.
There were two models announced;
- PowerBook 400 MHz G3 with 64Meg RAM, 6gig hard drive, 6x DVD-ROM for US$2,499;
- PowerBook 500 MHz G3 with 128meg RAM, 12gig hard drive, 6x DVD-ROM for US$3,499.
Both models have the following features in common;
- 1MB level 2 backside cache and 100 MHz system bus;
- Support for up to 512MB of SDRAM;
- A 14.1-inch active-matrix display;
- A thin and light design that weighs only 5.7 pounds with weight-saving module and battery, or 6.1 pounds with DVD-ROM drive and battery;
- Ultra ATA/66 internal hard drives of up to 18GB;
- ATI RAGE Mobility 128 graphic controller featuring AGP 2X support for “exceptional” 2D/3D graphics performance, and 8MB SDRAM of video memory;
- VGA and S-Video ports for dual display and video mirroring;
Two USB ports;
- Two FireWire ports;
- Built-in 10/100BASE-T Ethernet;
- 56K V.90 modem;
- Airport slot;
- Easy access to RAM expansion and removable hard drive through flip-up keyboard;
- Mac OS 9.
A couple of expected announcements for the iBook and a very pleasant surprise.
The basic iBook configuration has been updated to include double the memory and double the hard drive space – 64Meg and 6Gig respectively and with no price increase.
The nicest surprise for myself was the announcement of the iBook Special Edition.
It has the same basic configuration with screen size, RAM and hard drive as the regular iBook, but it has a 366Mhz G3 processor (compared to a 300Mhz G3) and has a really sexy Graphite and Ice colour scheme, which complements the G4 workstations very nicely. It has a small premium in price – about US$200 on top of the $US1,599
I still look forward to the inclusion of a VGA out port on the entire iBook range, while others expected FireWire and a DVD-ROM on the Special Edition. Still it is a very impressive and powerful, yet economical laptop.
The upgraded Blueberry and Tangerine iBooks, along with the Special Edition are available now through both the US and Australian Apple Stores, and should have hit Australian distributors by the time you read this article.
New G4 Configurations
Six new configurations for the G4 desktop series were also announced. The first three were just “speed-bumped” back to the original G4 announcement configurations ie: 400, 450 & 500Mhz. The other specs remain the same, including the price.
The remaining three systems are MacServer G4 systems, of which two ship with AppleShare IP and the remaining one with MacOS X Server 1.2. Pricing for the 500Mhz starts at US$4199. The configurations consist of;
- Macintosh Server G4 400 MHz with 1MB L2 cache contains 128meg RAM, ATI RAGE 128 PrAGP 2X with 16 MB video RAM, 20gig Ultra ATA/66 7,200 rpm hard drive, DVD-ROM drive, 10/100BASE-T Ethernet and AppleShare IP 6.3.1;
- Macintosh Server G4 500 MHz with 1MB L2 cache contains 256meg RAM, ATI RAGE 128 PrAGP 2X with 16MB video RAM, 18GB Ultra2 LVD SCSI 10,000 rpm hard drive, DVD-ROM drive, 10/100BASE-T Ethernet and AppleShare IP 6.3.1;
- Macintosh Server G4 with Mac OS X Server 500 MHz with 1MB L2 cache contains 256meg RAM, ATI RAGE 128 PrAGP 2X with 16MB video RAM, 18GB Ultra 2 LVD SCSI 10,000 rpm hard drive, DVD-ROM drive, 4-port 10/100BASE-T Ethernet controller and Mac OS X Server 1.2 software.
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