MacWorld New York – Shakes Things Up

By David Dritsas

Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs’ keynote speech at MacWorld New York resembled a fashion show. New iMac colors, G4 configurations, movie-editing software, a retail relationship with Circuit City, the Power Mac G4 Cube—an entirely new product for both the company and the computer industry—all drew excited reactions from the audience. Meanwhile, exhibitors showed some of their latest in a growing product category of Mac peripherals.

The show-stopper was Apple’s new, fifth product category. The G4 Cube is a compact, 8-inch cube with all the benefits of a G4 desktop tower, including expansion slots for extras, such as sound and graphics cards. The first-level cube will retail for $1,799 and will feature a G4 450MHz processor, 64MB of RAM with expandability up to 1.5GB, 1GB Ethernet, USB, FireWire and a slot-loading DVD-ROM drive that sits on the top of the cube, ejecting DVDs like pieces of toast. Bundled with the cube is a set of stereo speakers from Harman Kardon, which has been working with Apple since the introduction of the first iMac DVs.

But what really wowed the crowd was the G4 Cube’s accessibility. During the demonstration, Jobs flipped the cube over, opened a handle and pulled the internal portion of the cube from its exterior, revealing expansion and memory slots, as well as the processor. Like the iMac DVs introduced last fall, the G4 Cube requires no fan, resulting in quieter operation.

The G4 Cube began shipping last month. A 500MHz model will also be available for $2,299 exclusively online.

iMac’s latest colors—indigo, ruby, sage, snow and an update of the graphite color—were displayed on pedestals. In total, Apple has four new product categories for the iMac and is cutting prices on the entry-level models. The first, entry-level iMac is only available in indigo and is priced at $799. It contains a 350MHz processor, 64MB of RAM, a 7.5GB hard drive and a slot-loading CD-ROM. The second level is an iMac DV priced at $999. Available in indigo and ruby, it contains a 400MHz processor, 64MB of RAM, slot-loading CD-ROM drive, FireWire ports and iMovie 2. Level three is available in indigo, ruby or sage. Called iMac DV Plus, it features a 450MHz processor 64MB of RAM, a 20GB hard drive and slot-loading DVD. Retail price is $1,299.

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