TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Sep 99 Viewpoint

Volume Number: 15 (1999)
Issue Number: 9
Column Tag: Viewpoint

Viewpoint

by Nick DeMello

Never underestimate Steve Jobs. Frankly, I was a little worried after Macworld. Based on the new product announcements, things seemed to be slowing down at Apple. Then, last week at Seybold, Steve Jobs presented a host of new tools and toys that are going to be appearing on a lot of Christmas lists. Here's what I heard:

QuickTime

Jobs began talking about one of Apple's corner stone technologies: QuickTime. He spoke about the recently released QuickTime 4.0 with QuickTime Streaming, and segued into QuickTime TV. This new broadcast network of QuickTime Streaming channels is expanding to include channels by Rhino Records and Warner Brother Records. Jobs pointed out distinctions that make QuickTime TV different from other streaming systems include the interactivity (for example the ability to click on embedded elements to purchase a CD version of a broadcast album). Also, its adherence to industry standards (RTP and RTSP), and the release of Apple's OpenSource distribution of a QuickTime Streaming server.

Mac OS 9

Next up was Mac OS 9. Jobs announced this would be released in October and stepped through nine key features of the new OS. Two predominant (and interdependent) themes were apparent: Internet integration into the desktop and security. Those nine key new features included:

  • Sherlock 2 - The new Sherlock features channels, grouping plug-ins according to categories. Furthermore, there seems to be an API for not just changing how Sherlock parses a web page but letting it connect by different protocols. ODBC from your desktop? With each release Sherlock seems to be blurring the line between network and desktop applications.
  • Multi-user Interface - You now login to all the Mac OS flavors (9 and X), with all your Internet preferences, desktop settings, and user files configured for and accessible only to your login. Very similar to NetBoot.
  • Login by Voice Recognition - Taking a page directly from the Millinium TV series, Phil Schiller (this guy gives the best demos) demonstrated how you login to the new Mac OS, it recognizes your voice as you speak a key phrase. Time will tell how well this feature fares in a crowded office, but it sure looks impressive.
  • KeyChain is Back - Mac OS 9 includes the KeyChain. Save your passwords for your Internet accounts, AppleTalk logins, eMail program, and more on your KeyChain. Then just lock or unlock access to everything with one password - voice recognition protected. If you build software that uses passwords, it's time to look at the KeyChain APIs.
  • Auto OS Updating - The new Mac OS can update itself as new releases are posted electronically by Apple. Is there an API for your application to make use of this functionality? Is my Mac going to prompt me for a credit card number when it's time for a major upgrade? How granular is the control for selecting what you want and do not want updated?
  • Encryption - Security was definitely a theme with this release. In addition to voice recognition and the KeyChain, encryption is built into the user interface. Encrypt files on the desktop. Expect an API for accessing these encryption tools from within your application as well.
  • File Sharing Across the Internet - AppleShare IP at the end user level. This illustrates a trend at Apple that we've seen with the G3, PowerBooks, Mac OS X Server, and across the board. Get it done, get it right, roll it into the main product and look for something new to try. Much better that the old days of installing the latest OS or buying the latest Duo to find out you've just volunteered to be a beta tester.
  • AppleScript Over TCP/IP - Did I say security was the theme? You can now run AppleScripts that control remote computers across the Internet. People are going to be looking at the security issues of this feature very closely.
  • Network Browsing - with Navigation Services 2.0 and NSL (see MacTech Feb '99) you can now browse and mount remote AppleShare IP volumes on your desktop.

Mac OS 9 looked sharp and provided some very compelling arguments to buy Macintosh hardware. Speaking of which...

iMac & iBook

Happy Birthday iMac. On August 15th Apple introduced the iMac, in that first year they've sold 2 Million units. In July, Apple introduced iBook - over 140,000 orders for those have been taken in just over a month.

Steve highlighted two important (and familiar :-) statistics about these sales: 90% of these users are connected to the Internet, and 33% are first time computer buyers.

The fact that he keeps hammering on these statistics illustrates the two places Apple is putting it's focus.

First, that "i" stands for Internet. Sherlock, File Sharing over IP, personal Web Sharing, AppleScript over TCP/IP, NSL, QuickTime TV, Nav Services 2.0, KeyChain, 100 base T ethernet, AirPort - if anyone hasn't figured it out yet, Apple is trying to make the Macintosh the ultimate Internet access and navigation tool. Not a Thin Client, or a dumb terminal, Apple wants Macintosh to be to the Internet, what a BMW is to the autobahn. You don't need a Mac to check eMail, browse the web, or move files across the Internet, but Macintosh is making it so easy and feature rich that that doing it any other way is starting to feel like a bicycle on the freeway.

Second, easy to use. Jobs reminded attendees that Apple had embraced USB and FireWire and the advantages of each. Hot swappable drives, plug-in play keyboards, mice, and more. As of Seybold, 125 USB devices were shipping for Macintosh, 250 more were announced. Sixty FireWire devices were announced, and 24 were shipping (plus about 7 million FireWire cam corders already out there).

All in all, these G3 based machines have been a big hit. Which brings us to the next point...

G4

Apple introduced its new desktop powerhouse. Dressed up in Apple's "new pro colors" of carbon and clear and based on the blue and white G3 desktop case, Apple's G4 processor made its debut.

A super computer is defined as a machine that does over 1 billion floating point operations per second (1 gigaflop). According to Jobs, the new G4 does 2 gigaflops with a theoretical limit of 4. This incredible speed is largely due to the Velocity Engine (nee AltiVec, see MacTech July '99). The Velocity Engine, is a Vector co-processor, allowing the parallel processing of arrays of data - accelerating graphics, encryption, communication, and many other types of processes.

Immediately, Apple began shipping the first of three configurations, a 400 MHz G4 machine for only $1,500. Two weeks later a 450MHz with optional wireless (ala AirPort) connectivity for $2,300 is scheduled to ship, followed by a 500 HMz with DVD RAM (removable, rewritable 5 GB media) will begin shipping.

Phil brought out a 600 MHz Pentium III - the prize of the wintel world. The usual bout of Pentium thumping demos followed. While we were waiting for the Pentium to finish, Steve announced that (to be fair) Apple had exposed the new G4 system to the battery of performance tests that Intel has on their website. These are the tests that Intel uses to tout the performance of their Pentium III processor, so one would expect them to be a little slanted towards the strengths of that processor. Sure enough, the G4 was reduced to (on average) only 3 times faster than the Pentium III.

Mentioned in passing, the new G4's not only sport an optional wireless card for interfacing with Apple's AirPort wireless base station - they can act as a wireless base station using software emulation of the AirPort system.

As the sale of super computers are still restricted by the US government, it seems the G4 machines will be for sale in the states only - it seems exporting a Macintosh is now a breach of national security. (Pentium based machines are ok to export though, the U.S. Government thinks they are harmless)

Oh, One More Thing...

So after all that Steve thanked us and started walking for the door. Then stopped, snapped his fingers, and said that there was just one more thing. He then unveiled Apple's new Cinema Display. This spectacular display is a 22" 1600 x 1024 letterbox flat LCD display. This is the largest LCD display brought to market and sports a digital connection to the new G4. In extremely limited quantities, this display will be available on October 1st, only from the Apple web store, and only in the 500 MHz G4 bundle above.

Santa's going to be very busy come December.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Day One 2.3 - Maintain a daily journal.
Day One is the easiest and best-looking way to use a journal / diary / text-logging application for the Mac. Day One is well designed and extremely focused to encourage you to write more through... Read more
Carbon Copy Cloner 4.1.16 - Easy-to-use...
Carbon Copy Cloner backups are better than ordinary backups. Suppose the unthinkable happens while you're under deadline to finish a project: your Mac is unresponsive and all you hear is an ominous,... Read more
Sketch 45 - Design app for UX/UI for iOS...
Sketch is an innovative and fresh look at vector drawing. Its intentionally minimalist design is based upon a drawing space of unlimited size and layers, free of palettes, panels, menus, windows, and... Read more
NeoFinder 7.1 - Catalog your external me...
NeoFinder (formerly CDFinder) rapidly organizes your data, either on external or internal disks, or any other volumes. It catalogs all your data, so you stay in control of your data archive or disk... Read more
TunnelBear 3.0.15 - Subscription-based p...
TunnelBear is a subscription-based virtual private network (VPN) service and companion app, enabling you to browse the internet privately and securely. Features Browse privately - Secure your data... Read more
Hopper Disassembler 4.2.5- - Binary disa...
Hopper Disassembler is a binary disassembler, decompiler, and debugger for 32-bit and 64-bit executables. It will let you disassemble any binary you want, and provide you all the information about... Read more
BetterTouchTool 2.261 - Customize Multi-...
BetterTouchTool adds many new, fully customizable gestures to the Magic Mouse, Multi-Touch MacBook trackpad, and Magic Trackpad. These gestures are customizable: Magic Mouse: Pinch in / out (zoom... Read more
Sketch 44.1 - Design app for UX/UI for i...
Sketch is an innovative and fresh look at vector drawing. Its intentionally minimalist design is based upon a drawing space of unlimited size and layers, free of palettes, panels, menus, windows, and... Read more
BetterTouchTool 2.260 - Customize Multi-...
BetterTouchTool adds many new, fully customizable gestures to the Magic Mouse, Multi-Touch MacBook trackpad, and Magic Trackpad. These gestures are customizable: Magic Mouse: Pinch in / out (zoom... Read more
Chromium 59.0.3071.115 - Fast and stable...
Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all Internet users to experience the web. Version 59.0.3071.115: This update has no Flash plug... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

You can now travel to Skyrim in The Elde...
The Elder Scrolls: Legends' new expansion has opened up Skyrim's craggy mountains and snowy plains for exploration today. Heroes of Skyrim is out now, adding a bunch of new Skyrim content to Bethesda's recent CCG. [Read more] | Read more »
High-stakes solitaire game 'Missile...
Missile Command and Solitaire might seem like an odd couple, but indie developer Nathan Meunier has brought them together to create his first game, Missile Cards, which launched on the App Store today. [Read more] | Read more »
Eos 2 (Music)
Eos 2 2.0.2 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $5.99, Version: 2.0.2 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Supercell celebrates Hay Day's comm...
Before there was Clash Royale or Clash of Clans, there was Hay Day. Now, Supercell's first game is celebrating its fifth anniversary, and the developer is commemorating the event with this touching new video. Supercell picked one long-running Hay... | Read more »
Dive into epic summer adventure with Oce...
Summer may be the best time to enjoy ocean adventures, and now you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home, thanks to the folks at Joycity, creators of Oceans & Empires. The old-timey naval MMO is getting a sizable new June Grand... | Read more »
Missile Cards (Games)
Missile Cards 1.0.9 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.9 (iTunes) Description: "Missile Command meets Solitaire...only with more doomlasers, death, and explosions." | Read more »
Collect mini assassins in 'Assassin...
Assassin's Creed is traveling back in time to the Spanish Inquisition for its latest mobile entry, Assassin's Creed Rebellion. The game is giving the series a look that's a huge departure from its past design, recreating classic characters in a... | Read more »
Animal Crossing is still coming to mobil...
Animal Crossing is still coming to mobile in 2017, according to aWaypointinterview with Nintendo. Announced in 2016, the game was delayed without a defined release window. However, fans of Nintendo's fantasy slice of life game won't have to wait... | Read more »
Ravenscroft 275 Piano (Music)
Ravenscroft 275 Piano 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $35.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Experience the splendor of a Ravenscroft Grand with the most realistic sounding piano ever created for iOS. Launch... | Read more »
This War of Mine gets a new ending and m...
This War of Mine just got a big new update, featuring free DLC that adds a new ending to the game, among other exciting changes. The update is celebrating the game's two-year release anniversary. Apart from the new ending, which will be quite... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Will iPad Running iOS 11 Be The ‘Ute’ Of The...
Steve Jobs’ analogy comparing iPads and PCs to cars and trucks respectively is seven years old but still stimulates discussion and debate. Appearing on an All Things D panel in 2010 shortly after the... Read more
Free CarePassport App gives Patients control...
Boston based CarePassport is on a mission to enable patients to take control of their medical records by allowing patients to aggregate, store, share and manage all their medical data including... Read more
Western Digital Launches New My Passport Ultr...
Western Digital Corporation has expanded its WD brand My Passport portable drive line with the redesigned My Passport Ultra drive. In addition to a new metallic look, the drive offers intuitive WD... Read more
Clearance 2016 13-inch MacBook Pros available...
B&H Photo has clearance 2016 13″ MacBook Pros in stock today for up to $210 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: - 13″ 2.9GHz/512GB Touch Bar... Read more
Apple Releases iOS 11 Public Beta; How To Get...
The official release of Apple’s latest mobile operating system iOS 11 is vaguely slated for the fall, but as of June 26, ordinary users can download an iOS 11 public beta. To download the iOS 11... Read more
Extend Life of MacBook Pro Retina 2.0TB With...
MacSales.com/Other World Computing has announced availability of the new OWC 2.0TB Aura Pro Solid State Drive for mid-2012 to early 2013 Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display. One of the fastest... Read more
BBEdit SummerFest 2017 Discount Ends Friday,...
You can get 20% off BBEdit for a limited time in Bare Bones Software’s http://www.eastgate.com/Tinderbox/Specials/SummerFest.html?mc_cid=f2101ca260&mc_eid=[UNIQID]SummerFest 2017 sale and... Read more
Use Apple’s Education discount to save up to...
Purchase a new Mac using Apple’s Education discount, and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free: - 15″ 2... Read more
Clearance 27-inch 3.3GHz 5K iMac available fo...
Amazon clearance 27″ 3.3GHz 5K iMacs (MK482LL/A) available for $1799.90 including free shipping. Their price is $500 off original MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model from any... Read more
13-inch 1.8GHz/256GB MacBook Air on sale for...
B&H Photo has the updated 2017 13″ 1.8GHz/256GB MacBook Air (MQD42LL/A) in stock and on sale for $1129 including free shipping plus NY & NJ tax only. Their price is $70 off MSRP. Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Online Store WW Customer Insights -...
…with data mining tools: R, SAS, etc.Experience with common shell scripting tools: unix, python, apple script, Swift etc. Apple Online is one of the largest and Read more
Engineering Project Manager, *Apple* Online...
…the electronic commerce (eCommerce) systems and solutions that enable and support the Apple Online Store (AOS) - one of world's largest online retail businesses, Read more
*Apple* News Product Marketing Mgr., Publish...
…organizational consensus on strategy and vision for publisher tools, authoring, and Apple News Format.Carries this strategy and vision across the organization to Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Security Data Analyst - *Apple* Information...
…data sources need to be collected to allow Information Security to better protect Apple employees and customers from a wide range of threats.Act as the subject matter Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.