Third Parties Run Strong at Macworld

Apple wasn't the only vendor to announce new wares at the big Mac show, as third parties rolled out hardware and software products.

SAN FRANCISCO—While Apple Computer Inc. dominated last weeks Macworld Expo/San Francisco with product releases that ranged from new professional notebooks to presentation and browser software, third-party developers also used the annual West Coast gathering as a launchpad for their latest Mac wares.

The scores of new products and upgrades at the show included:


PowerLogix announced processor upgrades for a variety of Mac models. The PowerForce Dual G4 1.2GHz lets owners of AGP through "QuickSilver" Power Mac G4s boost the performance of their systems; the company said it is working on a version for the discontinued Power Mac G4 Cube. The PowerForce G4 Series 233 single-processor upgrade, in speeds of 800MHz, 1GHz and 1.2GHz, runs on AGP through QuickSilver models as well as the Cube and supports 100MHz and 133MHz bus speeds. The 800MHz PowerMac G3 800 ZIF uses IBMs 750FX PowerPC G3 chip and works with beige and blue-and-white Power Mac G3 systems as well as the original PCI PowerMac G4. PowerLogix also announced a software-controlled, variable-speed CPU upgrade for "Pismo" PowerBooks that can adjust on the fly to a lower clock speed to extend battery life.

Sonnet Technologies introduced the Encore/ST G4, a 1.2GHz, single-processor upgrade for a variety of Power Mac G4 models. Based on the 745X series of Motorola G4 chips, the upgrade includes 2MB of DDR L3 backside cache and can autosense 100MHz and 133MHz bus speeds. The Encore/ST G4 1.2GHz costs about $800; an adapter for the Power Mac G4 Cube is about $30.

ATI Technologies rolled out the Radeon 9000 Pro Mac Edition, a $169.99 retail version of the graphics card included in current Power Mac G4 models. The card supports two displays simultaneously at resolutions up to 1,920 by 1,200 pixels. It includes one ADC connector, one DVI connector and one DVI-to-VGA adapter.


Alias/Wavefront, an SGI company, delivered Version 4.5 of its Maya Personal Learning Edition software for free download. Alias/Wavefront said the educational version, which lets users of Mac OS X get a feel for the companys professional 3-D authoring application, includes all new features found in Maya Complete 4.5: new modeling tools, Subdivision surfaces, integrated 3-D paint, and UI and workflow enhancements.

Channel Storm demoed Version 2.0 of Live Channel, a Mac application for editing, producing and broadcasting live video over the Internet. The new version, due to ship next month for $999, features an enhanced interface, real-time compositing of multiple video sources, and the ability to broadcast directly to video as well as stream live to the Internet.

The Discreet division of Autodesk shipped Combustion 2.1 for Macs and Windows. The performance-enhanced update to the integrated paint, animation and 3-D-compositing software package, now priced at $995 (down from $1,495), is available free to owners of Combustion 2.

Imagineer Systems announced Version 2.1 of its Mokey motion-keying package, which marks the products Mac OS X debut. Mokey 2.1, due to ship later this month, will include a new feature that simplifies tracking non-rigid objects by automatically adjusting the shape of the spline to follow the object being tracked. Mokey Soho Edition is $9,950, and Mokey Studio Edition is $4,995. A rental version will also be available for download, the company said.


Nisus Software demonstrated the forthcoming Mac OS X-native version of its NisusWriter word processor.

MasterWriter Inc. took the wraps off Version 1.0 of its self-titled software package aimed at songwriters and authors. Created with 4D Inc.s 4th Dimension database technology and available for $289 to users of Mac OS 9.2.2 or X as well as Windows, MasterWriter includes rhyming, alliteration and pop-culture dictionaries; a database for organizing work in progress; word-processing features; a hard-disk recorder for melodies; a MIDI drum-loop library; and an online date-of-creation song-registration service.


Taiwanese developer DAS Technology announced the availability of LSP for Mac OS X Server, a tool that simplifies migration from Windows NT or Windows 2000 servers to Apples rack-mounted Xserve running Mac OS X Server. LSPs GUI lets system administrators move users, groups, passwords, shared files, permissions and directories from Windows servers to Mac OS X Server in minutes, the company said.

Detto Technologies took the wraps off a parallel-to-USB version of Move2Mac, its new package for speeding the transfer of files and user data from Windows systems to Macs. The new version is due to ship by Jan. 31 for $69.95, including a conversion cable from Keyspan.


Xnet Communications introduced Crocodile Server; the Hamburg, Germany-based company said it is the first Windows FTP Server to support Rendezvous, Apple-developed technology that lets computers and devices dynamically seek out each others addresses over any IP network, including Ethernet or 802.11-based wireless networks such as Apples own AirPort technology. The company also released Version 2.1 of Captain FTP, the companys Rendezvous-enabled, Mac OS X FTP client.

Belkin added two new peripherals for sharing USB peripherals. The $40 2x1 USB Peripheral Switch and $60 4x1 USB Peripheral Switch, due to ship this week, give multiple Macs or Windows access to a single USB 1.1-compliant device at speeds of up to 12M bps. Once connected, the device stays available to all connected computers.