March 24th. More precisely Saturday, March 24th. That's the day Mac OS X is released to the public for the retail price of US$129. When Apple rolled out the beta, they had over 100,000 users purchase a copy. They had over 75,000 comments. Mac OS X is UNIX with a Mac interface built on an open source platform. From many peopleís standpoint, this is Utopia. While Iíd like to cover X in more detail, I'll wait until March to do so.
Next up was an upgrade of the PowerMac line. These are the desktop computers that are great to look at and pop open with the flip of a latch. They're getting a much faster BUS and a speed bump with four models available-466, 533 (available in a dual processor configuration), 667, and 733 MHz models. The 466 and 533 models come with 128 MB of RAM the other two, 256MB. Hard drive sizes range from 30-60 GB and all models but the 466 comes with GeForce2MX nVidia cards (The 466 comes with a RagePro 128). Prices are US$1699, 2199, 2799, and 3499 respectively. All models come with CD/DVD/CD-RW drives standard except the 733. Hereís where things get, well, revolutionary. The 733 model comes with something called a SuperDrive. This drive is something different. We all have players than can play CDs. Some of us have players that play DVDs. We may have CD burners-units that can create a CD. But units that can create a DVD, let alone one that can be played in consumer DVD players, cost US$5000-10,000. Until now. The SuperDrive can read and write CDs AND DVDs! Now, most of us have seen a DVD movie and we know they have interactive menus and backgrounds. Apple thought about that. Welcome to iDVD. As easy to use as iMovie, iDVD lets users create their very own DVDs and its free with the SuperDrive in the 733! It took a while to create a DVD in the past. A one hour DVD may take as much as 24 hours to process. This is unacceptable to Steve. Creating DVDs with iDVD can be done at 2x! That means a one hour movie will only take two hours to encode! All this for a price of US$3499! Steve said this marks the end of a dream he has had. The place went wild. He followed that with professional grade DVD software called DVD Studio Pro. As easy to use as Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio Pro is a bargain at US$995 for the professional.
Then came iTunes. A free download from Apple that allows users to burn audio and MP3 files direct to CDs, connect to Internet radio stations, collect and save playlists, and much much more. This is yet another free gem from Apple that compliments the free iMovie software nicely. We were almost done when, in standard Steve Jobs fashion, he simply states, "Oh there's one more thing" Apple's new PowerBook G4. Totally redesigned, this will make even the most diehard PC person go,"I want one!". They include a 5.3 hour battery, 15.2 inch mega wide screen, built-in FireWire, USB, Audio I/O, SVGA and composite video out, 56k modem, 10/100 Ethernet, infrared, PC card slot, AirPort wireless ready, a 400 or 500 MHz G4 processor, slot loading CD/DVD drive, (no tray!) 10, 20, or 30 GB hard drives, 128 or 256 MB of RAM (up to 1 GB), 5.3 pounds (!) and, are you ready for this 1 inch thick! Made of 99.5% pure titanium, this is one killer portable. Talk about a laptop. Rush to your nearest Apple dealer to gander at one of these!
While many people often understate Apple's influence in the market, taking in a Macworld and seeing what Apple is capable of may cause more than a few people to start thinking a little different. And that's all Steve asks.
Schoun Regan is the training and media specialist for Complete Mac Services. They are Apple Specialists, Apple Solution Experts, and a training and consulting facility in Louisville, KY. He travels around North America teaching people all kinds of computer related things. He also regularly writes for Tech Republic, authors the Mac tips at emazing.com, chairs 84Online-a technology-centric radio program heard in more than 30 states on Louisville's Clear Channel station 84 WHAS, and dot.com, a technology-centric TV call-in show broadcast in the Louisville area. He resides with his very tolerant wife and kids in the Ohio Valley area. Please send Shoun an email if you use this article.
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