Not since the introduction of the first Macintosh back in the early 1980's has the company created this level of anticipation and buzz. The folks at Apple are beaming, and so is the very loyal Apple customer base. The iMac is shaping up to be a hit with consumers, and it is breathing new life into the Cupertino, CA based company. The new machine is all set to be released on August 15th.
Impressive technology in a
Jobs gave the product designers a mandate to innovate, and they
delivered an all-in-one product with a George Jettson futuristic flavor. This is
a Year 2000 product, brought to us one full year ahead of schedule courtesy of
Apple Computer. The company has reached back to the original Mac concept - but
with a late 1990's twist.
My first impression? This is one good looking machine. The case is
translucent aqua in color, and the technology inside is moderately visible
though the clear outer shell. The unit only has three parts: the computer, the
keyboard, and the mouse. The lines are smooth and flowing, not ridiculous and
obvious like Compaq's current Presario line. The computer is an easy nominee for
this year's product design awards.
The hardware inside is equally head turning. To start, it has a 233MHz
PowerPC G3 processor (with 512K of level 2 backside cache for an added boost).
Don't let the 233MHz clock speed fool you - these chips easily challenge Pentium
II processors rated at 400MHz for speed and performance. The bus runs at 66MHz,
and the built-in components include a 56k modem and a 10/100 BaseT ethernet
The display is 15 inches with resolution up to 1024x768. Standard
memory is 32MB expandable to 128MB. A 4Mbps infrared port is included as well as
built-in stereo speakers. One interesting change is that the keyboard and mouse
are connected using the new Universal Serial Bus (USB) port technology.
Additional ports are available for connecting external peripherals such as high
density storage devices. The internal hard drive is 4 gigabytes.
Apple deliberately left out the disk drive. The company now feels that
most programs will be loaded from the 24x CD-ROM drive or via the internet. The
ethernet card, modem, or infrared port can be used for data transfers.
Personally, I would have preferred to have seen a device such as a zip drive
included, but this can be attached though an external port.
CompUSA is Expecting an iMac
CompUSA has been taking iMac orders since July 26th. The suggested
retail price is $ 1,299. Larry Mondry, EVP of CompUSA's Merchandising, stated in
a recent Bloomberg News interview that "We believe the iMac has the potential to
become one of CompUSA's best-selling desktop computers of all time." The company
is planning a huge marketing campaign. Apple products now account for 14 % of
Apple is gearing up for a media blitz as well. Believe me, the iMac
launch will put the image of the computer everywhere you look. Apple will also
drive home the message that the company really matters again. A welcome
message to Mac loyalists.
Built for Business?
Will we see iMac computers replacing Wintel machines for business
applications anytime soon? No way. Not within the committed Wintel companies at
least. Apple computers will continue to be niche purpose machines in my opinion.
Macs still remain the first choice of the multitude of graphics designers and
media layout professionals, and this is not likely to change anytime soon.
At the many educational institutions across the world which have large
Apple investments and infrastructure, the CIOs must be breathing heavy sighs of
relief. This is a product which will support those environments nicely, and the
iMac will probably enjoy widespread acceptance at these institutions.
The iMac's Future
The iMac does three important things for Apple:
- It creates badly needed positive buzz for the company. It shows that Apple
still matters in the PC world
- If analysts are correct, it puts growth back into the company. Apple's
market share could jump from 3% to 4.5% in one year.
- It regains the attention of the software development community. The iMac is
built for multi-media applications and as an Internet browsing appliance. Apple
badly needs new software offerings to exploit the power of its new creation.
This product can bring developers back into the fold.
I for one am happy to see that Apple still has the ability to innovate
and deliver bold new product ideas to the marketplace. Let's hope they can
capitalize on this new positive momentum.