TV-PGFebruary 28, 1998: In accordance with the buzz that's been circulating for several weeks, today Apple dropped prices on several machines in its stable, and introduced some new mustang servers. Meanwhile, back in the labs, mad geniuses prepare the next ultra-speedy high-end system to be unleashed later this year, and the news of Newton's death has been greatly over-reported...
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Never Doubt the Rumors (2/28/98)

See? Rumors aren't always false. Despite continued statements of "no formal announcements at this time" over the last few days, Apple dropped several prices today and introduced new G3-based servers, just as several Mac news and rumors sites have been reporting for weeks. You can see the new prices reflected in several machines configurable at the Apple Store.

As of now, Apple's minimum advertised price on the desktop G3/233 is only $1699, down from $1999. That price makes the system a very attractive buy for users of older Macs looking to upgrade, and it should also be a good midrange purchase for corporate buyers who want a fast machine with several years' worth of life in it. And since several Apple resellers are forgoing their co-op funds by selling below MAP, it's likely that you'll be able to find the aforementioned system for, say, $1549 if you shop around a little. Sounds like a bargain to us. Of course, our 200 MHz 604e system cost us $2700 just a year ago, so we may be a little biased.

We at AtAT have high hopes that the reduced prices will help increase Apple's sales in March to level that allows them to post a Q2 profit. (Hey, like we said, we all have to be right once in a while, so we're keeping our fingers crossed.)

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Dark Horse Runs Fast (2/28/98)

As for the future, Mac OS Rumors is talking about a new Apple system that addresses the six-slot void left gaping by the cancellation of PowerExpress, the ill-fated high-end system that Apple had been working on for years before scrapping it several weeks ago. Rumors reports that early prototypes, referred to as "dark horses," are using a test version of Gossamer II, the sequel to the motherboard currently found in Apple's G3's. And like most sequels, Gossamer II-based systems will apparently follow the time-honored sequel credo of "bigger, faster, better." (If this were a movie instead of a computer, we'd add "more explosions, more car chases, more scantily-clad women" to the equation, but it's just not a perfect world.)

The rumored specifications are pretty impressive, and seem tailored to the very digital video professionals who may be feeling left out in the cold by Apple's current offerings. The processors will be G3 750's running at 400 MHz and higher, most likely with 1 MB of backside cache running at a 1:1 ratio. There will be six PCI slots to accommodate multi-card editing systems. There will be a fast 84.5 MHz system bus to push all that data. And, perhaps most importantly, there will be enough RAM slots to allow the systems to take up to 2 GB of RAM. If that sounds excessive to you, you obviously haven't tried to edit full-color full-size uncompressed video clips at 30 frames per second using Puffin's Commotion.

This all sounds great, but we're hoping it doesn't come too late. The Gossamer II systems are expected to ship later this year, but the sooner they arrive the better in order to keep one of Apple's most important markets happy.

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The Newton Thesaurus (2/28/98)

Even though we'd been hearing rumors of Newton's imminent demise for years (or possibly because we'd been hearing that for so long), when the official announcement came, it didn't quite seem real. We spent a little time last night trying to let the fact sink in, but we woke up this morning wondering if the whole thing was a dream. Luckily, we stumbled upon a method that helped us come to terms with the finality of Apple's decision to pull Newton's plug.

See, as it turns out, the journalists reporting Newton's end have come up with more synonyms for the word "ends" than a roomful of sports writers. Here's a sampling, all taken from MacSurfer's Headline News: kills (PC Week Online), eliminates (Boston Globe), scraps (CNNfn), discontinues (Apple), abandons (Bloomberg News), drops (TechInvestor), halts (Agence France-Presse), and dumps (Wired News).

After seeing all those ways of expressing the passing of Newton, even we have accepted the harsh reality that we'll never see a StrongARM-based Newton. (Of course, as faithful viewer Robert Pelletier points out, now that Intel has the rights to the StrongARM, Apple's situation with the Newton could be neatly summed up by the phrase "vulnerable position--" that fact alone may have contributed greatly to their decision.)

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