News > Technology
Apple unveils new iMacs
July 19, 2000: 11:11 a.m. ET

Company rolls out new mouse, keyboards, colors and faster computers
By Staff Writer Michele Masterson
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Apple Computer unleashed a slew of new products Wednesday, including four upgraded versions of its popular iMac personal computer.

At the MacWorld tradeshow in New York City, Apple CEO Steve Jobs wowed the crowd during his keynote speech as he unveiled a newly designed mouse and keyboard that are more user friendly than previous models. Both will retail for $59 each.

graphic CNNfn's Bruce Francis chats with Steve Jobs, CEO Apple.
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"Some people didn't like the old mouse. We have many faults, but we listen. We are moving from what some people called the worst mouse to the best mouse in the industry," said Jobs.

The previous version of Apple's mouse was round in shape and some users complained that it was difficult to use. The new mouse is oval and features optical tracking technology, which means it has no moving parts. There is no mouse button and the entire surface of the top of the mouse responds to finger pressure, so no mouse pad is needed.

Both the mouse and keyboard updates will initially retail as upgrades through the Apple store and will also be featured as standard features on new computers.

The need for speed

Jobs also demonstrated an upgraded PowerMac professional computer, the G4, which is used by many designers. The G4s feature dual 500 MHz processors in a "velocity engine." Each processor has 3.5 gigaflops per second or can execute 3.5 billion instructions per second. The power is equivalent to 2 gigahertz in an Intel Pentium III chip, which is not due to come to market for another 12-to-18 months.

"These are the first personal computers in history with dual processors," said Jobs. "This is the kind of stuff many of our customers do every day and this can save them an hour or two each day."

Using the design software PhotoShop, Jobs demonstrated the speed of the dual processors to open a file featuring a poster from the movie "Inspector Gadget." Jobs also demonstrated the same application using a Pentium III chip on a PC. It took the G4 60 seconds to complete the task, versus 124 seconds for the Pentium.

New G4s are available in three models, with the entry level computer containing one processor with 400 MHz, the second model featuring two processors with 450 MHz, and the top of the line version containing the dual processors at 500 MHz.

In addition, the G4s will feature a Gigabyte Ethernet on the graphicmotherboard to speed applications and provide more bandwidth storage. The feature usually costs $1,000 as an upgrade, Jobs said, and now is standard on the machines.

Jobs also unveiled the new Power Mac G4 Cube, which resembles a cross between a G4 and an iMac. The 8-inch cube, a quarter of the size of the Power Mac G4, with Velocity Engine with a G4 processor that executes over a billion calculations per second. Other features include 450MHz, 64MB of RAM, 20GB Ultra ATA/66 disk drive, DVD-ROM drive with DVD-Video playback, and ATI RAGE 128 Pro graphics card with 16MB of graphics memory.

OS X update, iMac's new colors

Jobs told the capacity crowd the beta version of Apple 's new operating system, OS X, will begin shipping in early September, with a release in early 2001.

Microsoft has also been working with Apple on a new version of Office 2001 for Mac, with a planned ship date in early October, and some features will be synchronized with Palm Pilot handheld devices.

But the crowd really roared when Jobs previewed four new models of iMac consumer computers, its third generation. The models are priced from $799 for an entry-level version up to $1,499 for what Jobs said is the "ultimate iMac," the iMac DV Special Edition, which features more speed, added disk space, a DVD slot loading disc drive, and iMovie video software for making movies from the desktop.

The entry level $799 model will not be available until September, and features 350 MHz, 64 MB of memory, 7.5 GB of memory of storage and is only available in indigo. In addition to the ultimate model, other versions are priced at $999 for the iMac DV and $1,299 for the iMac DV Plus.

"You can now get a Mercedes or BMW for the price of a Taurus," said Jobs of the entry-level version.

graphicThe new models come in five new colors, a design feature that rabid Mac users embraced when the iMacs were first launched. The new colors are sage (green), indigo (blue), ruby (red), graphite (gray) and snow (white). Jobs said that in its 2-year history, Apple (AAPL: Research, Estimates) has sold more than 3.7 million iMacs, which translates into one sold every 18 seconds.

However, based on Apple's third quarter earnings reported Tuesday, the company had a shortfall in iMac sales, with roughly 450,000 sold in the quarter compared with expectations of 500,000 units.

A preview of new commercials for the iMacs showed the indigo version displayed to Elvis Presley's "Blue Suede Shoes"; the ruby model was paired with the Dion tune "Ruby, Ruby"; and the sage iMac modeled with Kermit the Frog singing "It's Not Easy Being Green."

Bear Stearns analyst Andrew Neff on Wednesday raised his earnings per share outlook for Apple, ahead of Wednesday's product announcement, based on the computer maker's earnings results that were released late Tuesday.

"We reiterate our 'buy' rating on Apple and our price target of $80 based on valuation of two times the company's EPS growth rate of 20 percent, reasonable in view of its innovative products and strong product cycles, ownership of technology, strong balance sheet and financial management, increasing return on invested capital and potential for future positive surprises," said Neff in a research note.

Apple shares were down 3-11/16, or 6.4 percent, to 53-9/16 in early afternoon trading. Back to top


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