MWSF: Keynote Report
12:53 PM | Jason Sims | Comment on this story
Steve Jobs' keynote presentation is always the most exciting part of any Macworld Expo, and this year's Expo in San Francisco is no exception. Apple has once again come out in full-force with an amazing array of new product announcements that should restore faith in even the most skeptical and jaded of Mac fans. Although very little game-related information was released, the new hardware alone should reassure gamers that Apple is very serious about speed, speed and more speed in the future.
Everyone is wondering about Mac OS X, so Steve tackled this next-generation OS first. Supposedly Apple has carefully read all of the feedback users have sent in about the public beta (over 75k comments!), and have made several changes and additions in response. What's most important here is that 400 developers have committed to supporting Mac OS X. Alias|Wavefront was on hand to demo Maya for Mac OS X, an industry-standard 3D modeling and animation package. Mac OS X will ship on March 24, 2001 for $129, and will be bundled on all Apple hardware as of the next Expo in New York, this July.
Apple's new Power Mac G4 series takes the supercomputer even further. They have finally broken the 500 MHz speed barrier, now offering four different configurations: 466, 533, 667 and 733 MHz. All models now sport a spiffy 133 MHz system bus, which will allow the machines to push information even faster than the previous models' 100 MHz bus. Naturally, the faster bus speed makes this a perfect time for Apple to debut 4x AGP (which supports write-combined operations) for much faster graphics performance, and guess who else is coming to the party...NVIDIA! All of the new Power Mac G4s now feature NVIDIA GeForce MX 2 graphics cards, with the exception of the entry-level G4, which strangely still features an ATI Rage 128 Pro, rather than an ATI Radeon. In addition, Apple has increased the speed of the PCI bus, and has added another PCI slot for a total of 5 slots! Also new to the series is a new type of drive that can read both CDs and DVDs and can also write CD-R and CD-RW media, so CD burning is now standard on all Power Mac G4 models. Even more exciting is that the high-end 733 MHz G4 can also burn DVD discs that can be played back in any DVD player, a true revolution in home video production.
This year, in addition to the usual new hardware products, Apple has debuted several new applications that they feel will make Macintosh the hub of the digital revolution.
With iTunes, Apple makes its debut into the world of MP3s. Apple has acquired SoundJam from Casady & Greene--along with its lead programmer--and has produced an integrated application that lets you rip music from CDs and encode it into MP3 format, organize your music library, playback songs with visualization plug-ins such as G-Force, and even burn CDs. Best of all--it's freeware, and will be available for download sometime today!
Next up is iDVD, a great little program for making your own DVD discs. Just drag movies into iDVD and it makes the menus for you, complete with several different themes and the ability to create your own. iDVD uses the Velocity Engine in the PowerPC G4 chip to accelerate MPEG-2 encoding--typical software MPEG-2 encoding takes 25x the length of the content to encode (so a one hour movie would take 25 hours to encode!), but iDVD has it down to 2x (encode a one hour movie in two hours!). iDVD is bundled with the only PowerMac G4 that can burn DVDs--the 733 MHz model. Apple is also selling DVD-R media for $10 each or 5 for $49.95, which is quite inexpensive (compared to DVD-RAM media, which typically sells for about $30 per cartridge and can only be used in DVD-RAM drives).
For professionals, Apple has announced DVD Studio Pro, a sister product to Final Cut Pro that will sell for $995. DVD Studio Pro is a high-end DVD mastering application. iDVD is to DVD Studio Pro as iMovie is to Final Cut Pro. Not much else was mentioned about this new product, except that it will ship by the end of January.
When it comes to Macworld Expo keynotes, Steve likes to save the best for last. His famous line, "oh, and one more thing" echoed today to an ecstatic crowd who were eagerly awaiting the announcement of a new PowerBook that has been rumored for so long. At last, here it is, the Titanium PowerBook G4, Apple's most stunning achievement in portable computer design, and perhaps even its most stunning achievement ever. Code-named "Mercury", the new PowerBook is the first to sport a G4 processor. It's one inch thick, weighs 5.3 pounds, and it's made of titanium--stronger than metal and lighter than aluminum! If you're not drooling yet, check out the slot-loading DVD and 15.2" wide-screen display! Steve showed a comparison of Sony's high-end VAIO (considered to be the state-of-the-art in notebook computers) and Apple's entry-level PowerBook G4; the G4 costs $50 more and beats the VAIO on every count, offering a DVD-drive where the VAIO doesn't even have a CD-ROM, a 15.2" wide-screen display vs. a regular 12" LCD, a G4 running at 400 MHz that easily outperforms the 600 MHz Pentium III found in the VAIO, and much more. The new PowerBook G4 features 128 or 256 MB of RAM, and 10 or 20 GB of storage, ringing in at the same prices as the previous models, and you can get your hands on one by the end of this month!
Stay tuned for more exciting news from the Macworld Expo San Francisco 2001 show floor!
Recent Mac Games News
Friday, January 5, 2001
Thursday, January 4, 2001
Wednesday, January 3, 2001
Tuesday, January 2, 2001
Friday, December 29, 2000
Search for other Mac games news stories or browse our Mac Games News Archive.