Natural Selection (9/28/98)

The actual evolution of the iMac will occur as Apple rolls out new versions of the little blue lump, keeping features beneficial to its survival in a "dog-eat-dog" marketplace, possibly ditching useless appendages, and hazarding new genetic tweaks that may further boost its position in the silicon food chain. There have been rumors galore about just what we'll see when the iMac II rolls off the assembly lines, though nothing's yet written in stone. Bigger screen? Custom colors? Pre-loaded VirtualPC? Free matching steam iron? Your guess is as good as anyone's at this point.

However, as longtime viewers will no doubt recall, we at AtAT believe the single biggest evolutionary advantage that the iMac could sprout would be a decent 3D accelerator. The Rage II on the iMac's motherboard is the single component of the iMac which is last year's technology inside of next year's computer. Don't believe us? Would you believe the games themselves? For instance, fire up Unreal on an iMac and it will tell you that it detects the presence of a Rage II chip, but since that processor is so slow, the game will use the software renderer instead. The iMac is currently the only shipping Mac to use the Rage II chip, now that even the PowerBook G3 series is using the three-times-faster Rage Pro instead. Isn't it a tad askew that Apple's only consumer Mac is also its only Mac that is hobbled for playing today's hottest 3D games? (Worse yet, there's no way to add a decent 3D accelerator to the iMac, due to the lack of PCI slots; we're still waiting for that Perch-compatible Voodoo card to be announced.)

However, it sounds like Apple may finally have been convinced of the importance of good 3D games performance in a consumer machine. According to Mac the Knife, the iMac II will contain a "swank new ATI video chip" and 6 MB of video RAM. Whether that "swank" new chip is the existing Rage Pro or the upcoming Rage 128, we'd be thrilled either way. We know from personal experience that a 6MB SGRAM Rage Pro-equipped Power Mac G3/266 plays Unreal very well, so the iMac II should be able to hold its own. If this all turns out to be true, we're betting dollars to donuts that ex-MacSoft dude Peter Tamte, Apple's new Senior Director of Consumer Marketing, was instrumental in getting better games performance into the new iMac. Rock on, Peter. (Now what about those of us with current iMacs?...)

SceneLink (1042)
And Now For A Word From Our Sponsors

From the writer/creator of AtAT, a Pandemic Dad Joke taken WAYYYYYY too far


The above scene was taken from the 9/28/98 episode:

September 28, 1998: Several prominent Mac rumors sites are on hiatus due to "personal matters;" do we detect the faint scent of ninja in the breeze? Meanwhile, daredevil developers continue to push the iMac envelope with more upcoming expansion cards for the verboten Perch slot, and the forthcoming iMac II may well gain a zippy 3D chip and more SGRAM...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 1040: Ninja Attack II? (9/28/98)   The first thing we want to address on our return from our unscheduled hiatus is a growing conspiracy theory among AtAT viewers about Macintosh-oriented rumors sites. Several of you found it "noteworthy" that the two largest rumors sites-- Mac OS Rumors and MacNN Reality-- are both currently missing in action, and that AtAT has been static throughout roughly the same time period...

  • 1041: Adapting Adeptly (9/28/98)   See, technology is cool because its "lifeforms" evolve almost organically, but at a vastly accelerated pace. For example, it's amazing to watch the evolution of the iMac-- or actually, the adaptation of the iMac to its user environment...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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