TV-PGMarch 17, 1998: Keynote Day has come and gone, leaving a blistering new G3 in its wake. Meanwhile, rumors are flying that Columbus is all an elaborate hoax foisted onto the gullible public by Apple, and if you're shopping for a new monitor, you may just want to take out a small loan when you see Apple's new Manta...
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Speed. Drama. Speed. (3/17/98)

So today was the day of the big keynote, and while it was entertaining and enlightening on some points, for those of us who were hoping for some big announcements, it was a bit of a let-down. (You can see our mostly-unedited notes from the last half-hour of the webcast if you like, or if you have some time on your hands, you may even want to listen to the keynote itself. And for a real nostalgia blast, check out our notes from the last Jobsian Seybold keynote. Groovy.)

The only new machine announced today was the 300 MHz Powermac G3, which appeared on the pricelist over the weekend. Following the keynote, the new system appeared at the Apple Store, and its new components (300 MHz G3, RAID kit, DVD-ROM drive) showed up as build-to-order options. Apple's press release on the new machine is here. No sign of the new Powerbooks, the NC, or Artemis-- though Jobs made the worrying statement that "Apple has not built a great consumer product in the last several years, which is bizarre. You're going to see that change this fall." Fall?! We can only hope that that's a very conservative estimate, Steve, because that sounds awful late to us. We agree that "Apple is uniquely positioned to be in that space," but the low end won't wait forever.

As for the word of the day, that'd be speed. For those graphics professionals who doubted Apple's word that the G3 is really faster than the Pentium II, Steve held a little side-by-side "bake-off." In Photoshop and Director tasks, the 333 MHz PII system from Compaq was beaten by a much-cheaper 266 MHz G3 Powermac. It was then trounced by the new 300 MHz G3 system, and then stomped all over by a blistering 400 MHz copper-chip prototype. So much for the Bunnymen.

But the biggest news came after the keynote, during the question and answer session. When questioned about the Columbus project, Steve let slip that "it's anti-gravity technology. Get 300 miles per gallon." What, you thought that was a joke? That's just what they want you to think...

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Believe the Lie (3/17/98)

Okay, let's say, just for the sake of arguement, that you don't believe that Columbus is really anti-gravity technology, and that Steve was just keeping mum. Have you fallen prey to the latest damage control rumors? The buzz making the rounds is that the whole Columbus project is a hoax. That's right, a deliberate sham, leaked intentionally by Apple in an attempt to get people mistrusting rumors. Diabolical!

...Diabolical, of course, assuming that it's true. There have been so many conflicting rumors flying around about this Columbus thing that we see no reason to believe this one over any others. Apple Recon, who seems to possess a lot of inside knowledge on the AMP, came forth today to say that all rumors to the effect that AMP is a hoax are patently false-- the AMP is "really real," or so they say. (Whether or not you believe anything Recon says is an entirely other subject altogether...)

As for finding out more about Columbus, has it occurred to anyone to ask Larry "Leakboy" Ellison? Five'll get you ten he'll be more than willing to tell someone all about the mystery project. Actually, though, after the leaks about Apple's NC, we wouldn't be surprised if Steve has being very, very careful about making sure that Larry knows absolutely nothing about this top-secret initiative. Pity. Until we hear reliable info to the contrary, we're sticking to the idea that Columbus is Steve's anti-grav project.

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Sleek, Curvy, Must-Have (3/17/98)

While the G3 300 was the only new computer to be unveiled during the keynote, we're happy to see that Manta, Apple's new flat-screen LCD display, was finally announced, even though it won't be shipping until next month. We haven't even seen one up close and personal, but we're in love. This thing is sleek. MacOnCall has post some great photos they took at the conference-- these shots deserve to show up in a MacAddict centerfold. Oooo-la-la.

What can we say about a display so crisp that people were complaining that it wasn't blurry enough? Silly as it sounds, count on Apple to put things "right:" a new addition to the Monitors & Sound control panel allows the option for on-the-fly "fuzzifying," for those of us who might find the perfect clarity, er, unsettling. Someday we'll all get the CRT monkeys off our backs, mark our words. Sure, $1999 may sound like a lot to pay for a 15.1" display, but it is 1024x768, it is equivalent in size to many 17" monitors, and it is about $500 less than a similar display available from Compaq. And don't forget that it's only a few inches deep-- reclaiming some desk space ought to be worth something, right?

Interesting to see that Apple was willing to break it's new "don't announce it until it's ready" policy to reveal the Manta. Does that imply that Wall Street and Main Street won't be ready for over a month, as indeed many anonymous sources are reporting? Given that the 1400/166 is the only Powerbook left on Apple's price list, we hope for their sake that the timeline is a little more favorable than that.

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