ad info
   personal technology

 custom news
 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

CNN Websites
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines

 message boards




G4 chips beef up Power Macs

August 31, 1999
Web posted at: 8:05 p.m. EDT (0005 GMT)

by James Niccolai


SAN FRANCISCO (IDG) -- Apple Computer has beefed up the power of its Power Macs with a new microprocessor called the PowerPC G4, which Steve Jobs, the company's interim chief executive officer, colorfully likened to "a supercomputer that's been miniaturized on a sliver of silicon."

Speaking at the Seybold publishing conference here, Jobs also unveiled a giant 22-inch desktop LCD display, dubbed the Apple Cinema Display, which will ship in October priced at $3,999.

He also detailed new features in the Mac OS 9, which will also ship in October and include a voice-enabled password feature and new search capabilities.

True to recent form, it was Apple's hardware announcements that elicited the most cheers from the horde of excitable Apple fans who gathered here to watch Jobs speak.

The PowerPC G4 processor was designed by Apple, IBM and Motorola, and features a new architecture that lets it process data in large, 128-bit chunks, allowing it to make light work of video, voice and graphics applications, Jobs said.
  Make your PC work harder with these tips
 Reviews & in-depth info at's personal news page's products pages
  Questions about computers? Let's editors help you
  Subscribe to's free daily newsletters
  Search in 12 languages
 News Radio
 * Fusion audio primers
 * Computerworld Minute

A 400MHz version of the chip is available in the Power Mac G4, priced from $1,599. Apple will also offer a 450MHz version of the chip in September, and a 500MHz version in October, Jobs said. The Power Mac G4 systems look similar to the aqua-blue G3 systems, but come in silver, gray and clear casings.

While the clock speeds don't match those of Intel's fastest chips, the Apple executive claimed his new processors beat the pants off of a 600MHz Pentium III running most applications -- an assertion that Intel will likely refute.

"Of all the machines we've seen, this is the fastest that runs our applications," said John Warnock, chairman and CEO of Adobe Systems, who joined Jobs on stage to help him hawk the new processors.

The new LCD display also drew a gasp of delight from the Apple followers. Jobs warned that the screen will be available in limited supply only, and the company will start taking orders for it Oct. 1. The screen initially will be available only packaged with 450MHz or faster G4 systems, in bundles priced from $6,498, he said.

The Apple chief also detailed new features in the Mac OS 9, the next version of the Macintosh operating system. The OS is due to ship in October, and will be "a biggie, with more than 50 new features," Jobs said.

Among them are an updated version of the Sherlock search system introduced last year, which allows users to search the Web using multiple search engines simultaneously. The new Sherlock acts as a "personal Web shopper" by allowing users to search the contents of user-selected online stores simultaneously, and return results in a price-comparison table.

The company also has extended the Mac's "file sharing" capabilities from the local area network to the Internet, allowing companies to more easily write workflow applications that run across machines in different locations. "The same thing you can do over a LAN with AppleScript, you can now do securely over the Internet with OS 9," Jobs said.

Another software feature, called "keychain," allows users to enter a single password into their machine, which automatically activates all other passwords stored in the computer. The company has also included a voice-enabled password to access OS9, which uses voice-print recognition.

James Niccolai is a U.S. correspondent for the IDG News Service in San Francisco.

Mac buoyed by new software
July 26, 1999
Apple rolls out faster desktops
June 3, 1999
Network Macs & PCs by phone
May 28, 1999
No surprises as Jobs talks up Apple product road map
May 11, 1999

The challenge of the new Macs
(PC World Online)
Apple announces iMac for power users
(PC World Online)
Apple joins streaming media
(InfoWorld Electric)
Apple's iBook sets new bar for wireless networks
(InfoWorld Electric)
Apple sues eMachines over iMac lookalike
(InfoWorld Electric)
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

Apple Computer, Inc.
Intel Corp.
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.