After promising “two Macworlds worth of stuff,” Apple Computer Inc. CEO Steve Jobs kicked off last weeks Macworld Expo here by introducing 17- and 12-inch versions of Apples professional PowerBook portable, a new Apple-developed Web browser, an Apple-branded Macintosh presentation package, and a variety of new and enhanced consumer multimedia applications.
The 17-inch PowerBook features a 1,440-by-900-pixel, wide-screen display with a 16-by-10 aspect ratio and a backlit keyboard that automatically senses ambient room light. It is 1 inch thick, and its anodized aluminum frame weighs 6.8 pounds. It supports Bluetooth and 802.11g wireless networking as well as 800M-bps FireWire, and it packs a SuperDrive, a 1GHz PowerPC G4 processor with 1MB of Level 3 cache and a GeForce 4 440 Go graphics chip. The device will ship next month for $3,299.
Meanwhile, Apple rolled out a 12-inch version that is 1.2 inches thick and weighs 4.6 pounds. It features a full-size keyboard, a slot-loading combo drive, a 10-by-7 display, an 867MHz G4 chip, a GeForce 4 420 Go graphics chip and built-in Bluetooth support.
The system is slated to ship in two weeks for $1,799; an 802.11g option will cost $99, and a SuperDrive-equipped model will cost $1,999.
Apple also released AirPort Extreme, an 802.11g-compliant base station with a throughput of 54M bps and support for 50 users, plus Universal Serial Bus printing and wireless bridging. It costs $199.
As rumored on the Web before the show, Jobs took the wraps off Safari, a fast Web browser that he said the company based on KHTML, an open-source HTML rendering engine popular in the Linux market. Jobs said Apple will make the Safari enhancements to KHTML available today as open source.
In a surprise move, Jobs announced Keynote, a new presentation application for Mac OS X that he revealed he secretly used to create every public presentation he gave last year.
Keynote features a variety of typographic effects, graphics features with full alpha-channel controls and compositing capabilities that tap Mac OS Xs Quartz imaging technology, and built-in tools for creating a variety of multimedia-rich tables and charts.
Keynote runs on Mac OS X 10.2 and is available now for $99.
Jobs also touted Apples recent efforts to lure Windows users into the Macintosh camp. He said that last month, the companys 51 retail stores in the United States generated $148 million in revenues. Fifty percent of the computers sold via the outlets were to Windows “switchers,” he said.
Repeating a key Apple theme of the past couple years, Jobs continued to promote the companys ongoing campaign to migrate the platform from the classic Mac OS to the Unix-based Mac OS X.
Meanwhile, Jobs aimed a thinly veiled barb at Quark Inc., whose QuarkXPress page-layout package is now the major professional Mac application still available for Mac OS 9 only. “The Mac OS 9 transition is basically over,” Jobs said. “Weve got a few laggard apps—we all know which one were talking about,” he said, provoking laughter from the crowd.
Jobs predicted that 9 million to 10 million users will have standardized on Mac OS X by the end of this year.
Building on Apples vow to end Mac OS 9 booting in new Mac models, Jobs announced that all new versions of Apples application software will boot in Mac OS X only.
Matthew Rothenberg is online editor for Ziff Davis Medias Baseline and CIO Insight magazines. He can be reached at [email protected]