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Monday, January 7, 2002

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MWSF: New iMac, Updated iBooks, iPhoto...
2:14 PM | Jason Sims | Comment on this story

The dawning of 2002 brings us another new page in the book of Apple. Steve Jobs has kicked off this year's Macworld Expo in San Francisco with his highly-anticipated keynote presentation. Apple has been pumping out the hype over the last week, and Mac fans around the world tuned in this morning to hear the latest announcements from the mothership.

The New iMac
No doubt the highlight of this event was the unveiling of the new iMac, which--just like the original iMac--marks a very important transition for Apple's consumer product line. The original iMac marked the end of floppy drives, ADB and serial ports, and introduced USB to the Mac. Similarly, this new iMac marks the end of CRT displays, the old iMac form factor, and the debut of the complete digital lifestyle hub--Apple's new, core strategy.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the new machine is its (once again) radical new design. The computer itself resides in the small, round base, while the monitor--now a 15" flat-panel LCD display--is attached to a hinged neck that lets you move and tilt the monitor with unprecedented ease. The design is a continuation in Apple's line of glossy white products, such as the new iBook or the iPod.

The G3 processor line has been laid to rest--the new iMac features a G4 processor at 700 or 800 MHz on a 100 MHz system bus. It also features an NVIDIA GeForce 2 MX graphics card with 32 MB of DDR memory--definitely a big step up in graphics performance, especially for 3D applications and games. And new to the iMac line is the option of a built-in superdrive (for reading CDs and DVDs, and burning CD-R, CD-RW, and DVD-R discs, all in one drive), and the ability to use iDVD to make custom DVD discs that can be used in any DVD player.

One of the strongest features of the new iMac is its price--you can get one for as little as $1299, with the mid- and high-end models coming in at $1499 and $1799.

Updated iBooks
The portable end of Apple's consumer line also got an upgrade today. The top-end model now features a 14" display (instead of the standard 12"). The 14" model does have a larger form factor, so for pure portability the 12" model is still offered. The faster models feature a 600 MHz G3 processor on a new 100 MHz bus. Titanium PowerBooks are out of many peoples' price range, so the added power and flexibility in the iBook line will be appreciated by many.

Completing Apple's suite of digital hub applications is iPhoto, a complete digital camera solution that you could call "the iTunes of pictures." iPhoto is a brand new application that is designed to make it easy to import, organize, print and share photos from a digital camera. It's for Mac OS X only, it's free to download and it's available right now, so head over to Apple's website and grab it. It's really cool.

Mac OS X becomes the default OS
Mac OS X was first released on March 24, 2001. In July, Apple started pre-installing it on all new Macs (though they would still boot into Mac OS 9 by default). The release of Mac OS X 10.1 in September smoothed out many of the initial rough edges of the new operating system, so now, Mac OS X has become the default OS that all new Macs will startup with. Mac OS X has progressed a lot in the last year, and many applications and devices are now supported in the new OS. We are still awaiting the official announcement of the next major Mac OS X update--version 10.2--which is expected to be ready this summer.

Stay tuned to IMG for ongoing coverage of Macworld San Francisco 2002 from a gaming perspective.

iMac 2002
New iBook

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MWSF: Aspyr Makes the Keynote, Big News
10:42 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

For the second time, Aspyr Media made a Macworld Expo keynote appearance, about one third of the way into the address. They demonstrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, due to ship very soon for Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X.

The action puzzler has been topping the sales charts on the PC for weeks, and we fully expect it to do the same on the Mac. Aspyr demoed both the single-player game and a Quidditch match against "bots," showing off the splendid visuals provided by the Unreal engine. Aspyr said the game should ship "in a few weeks." Check out our preview of the title for more information.

They also announced The Sims: Hot Date and Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds, a real-time strategy title which debuted several months ago on the PC. No release dates were given for either title.

We'll bring you more details on these titles from the show floor, so stay tuned!

Preview: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Harry Potter
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
Buy Harry Potter

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MWSF: MacSoft Ships Civilization III
10:29 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

In the first of many Macworld Expo San Francisco announcements to come, MacSoft just released the news that their port of Civilization III is currently shipping to stores, just a few short months behind the PC version. This strategy/sim title further refines and expands the legendary series of games from Sid Meier and should keep strategy fans riveted until Macworld New York in July. Here's the press release:

MacSoft, an Infogrames, Inc. (IFGM) label, announced today that one of the most eagerly anticipated Macintosh games has begun to ship to stores this week: Sid Meier's Civilization III. The third and most advanced game in the series that has been called "the greatest computer game of all time," challenges players to build a civilization that will stand the test of time through trade, diplomacy, cultural excellence and military might.

"We are thrilled to be able to offer this tremendous title to Mac gamers," said Paul Rinde, Senior Vice President of Infogrames. "We anticipate that the excitement shown by the Mac community in the first Civilization games will prove true with Civilization III."

The Civilization series has become a four-million-game seller since it was introduced in 1991. Series creator, world-renowned, hall-of-fame game designer Sid Meier and the team at FIRAXIS Games were persuaded to revisit Civilization by their desire to take the game to the next level and create the ultimate Civilization experience.

"I felt that technology and game design had advanced to the point where I could give form to the vision I've had for Civilization for some time," said Meier. "The game has always been called 'Civilization,' but the most common path to victory was war—hardly a very civilized activity. With the power of modern systems we can better model aspects like trade, culture and diplomacy and make them viable paths to victory too. This makes the gameplay much more dynamic and varied."

Developed by FIRAXIS Games, Inc., Sid Meier's Civilization III for the Macintosh is available at retail stores for the suggested selling price of $49.99 and has an ESRB rating of 'E' for Everyone.

Watch for Civilization III in a store near you; for more details on the game, be sure and check out our detailed preview.

Preview: Civilization III
Firaxis Games
Civilization III
Buy Civilization III

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Elite Force 1.2 Patch Released
6:00 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Over the weekend, Aspyr Media released the long-awaited Carbon update to version 1.2 of Star Trek: Voyager—Elite Force. In addition to adding native Mac OS X support, the patch has two other major components:

It adds the Jeri Ryan voice pack and it updates the Holomatch engine to version 1.2. This will allow players who do not install the Expansion Pack to compete against players(Mac & PC) with the Expansion Pack for Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag games.

A number of new multiplayer skins are included as well, including Borgified Captain Janeway.

Note that if you have the Star Trek: Voyager—Elite Force Expansion Pack, you do not need this patch. Head over to Aspyr's web site to download the 13.8 MB update.

IMG Review: Star Trek: Voyager—Elite Force
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force
Star Trek: Voyager—Elite Force 1.2 Update (13.8 MB)

Unreal Tournament 2 Confirmed
6:00 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Late last Friday, Blue's News reported that Infogrames has confirmed the rumored Unreal Tournament 2:

Infogrames confirms Unreal Tournament 2 in the making by Digital Extremes. As rumored all week online, the co-creators of Unreal and Unreal Tournament are currently working on the sequel to the infamous 1999 Game of the Year.
Infogrames said it would officially announce the sequel to the hit first-person shooter Unreal Tournament (which was published on the Mac by MacSoft) late next week.

At this early stage, no statement has been made about which platforms Infogrames is targeting, but given the success of the Unreal franchise on the Mac, odds are good that this newest installment will come to our platform. IMG will be sure to keep you abreast of any developments.

Blue's News: Unreal Tournament II Confirmed

Quake II for OS X Released
6:00 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Fruitz of Dojo wasted no time in taking advantage of id Software's recent release of the Quake II source code to bring the game to Mac OS X.

Their Mac OS X-native port, which contains both software and OpenGL renderers, can be downloaded from our sister site, MacGameFiles, and its source code from Fruitz of Dojo's web site.

Playing the venerable first-person shooter natively on Mac OS X also requires the data files from a retail copy of Quake II.

IMG Review: Quake II
Fruitz of Dojo: Quake II v1.0
id Software
MGF: Quake II 1.0 for Mac OS X (928 KB)

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Quake III 1.31 Beta 3 for OS X
6:00 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

On Saturday, Graeme Devine of id Software posted the third beta in two days of the version 1.31 update to Quake III Arena and Team Arena for Mac OS X.

There is no word on what is new since our report last Friday on the first two beta releases, but at 1.25 MB, it's a small download.

(There is also no new word of a version 1.31 update for Classic Mac OS. As of Friday, Devine reported that he had accidentally "nuked" his Classic development environment.)

IMG News: Quake 3 1.31 Released for OS X
IMG Review: Quake III Arena
id Software
Quake III Arena
Quake III 1.31 Beta 3 (1.25 MB)
Buy Quake III Team Arena

Mac Games News for Friday, January 4, 2002

Quake 3 1.31 Released for OS X6:39 PM
Red Faction 1.2 Released6:26 PM
Aspyr to Publish 4x4 Evolution 211:12 AM
Harpoon3 Update/OS X Demo10:35 AM
IMG Heads to Macworld Expo10:35 AM
IMG Previews Civilization III10:35 AM
More Unreal Tournament II Info10:35 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, January 4, 2002 on one page

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