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For the first time Apple hardware took a backseat during CEO Steve Jobs' Macworld Expo keynote address last week, supplanted with news of four more Apple retail outlets opening this month and updates to Mac OS X.
Jobs' hardware announcements were a bit bland by Macworld Expo standards, in that no new colors were added to the iMac line. The PowerMac G4 product line did receive a new, if not revolutionary, look. But Apple concentrated on boosting the power of its desktops with three new models each being introduced into the iMac and PowerMac lines. No changes were made to the iBook and PowerBook lines that were refreshed just a few months ago.
The thousands of Mac fans on hand for the keynote heard that Apple this month will open stores in the Dallas, Chicago and Boston areas and in the Mall of the Americas in Minneapolis. These join two stores in McLean, Va., and Glendale, Calif., that opened in May. A total of 25 are expected to be operating by the end of the year.
On the product side, Jobs said the first major upgrade to the OS X operating system, dubbed OS 10.1, will ship in September. Four minor upgrades have been released since it started shipping on March 24, but according to Jobs the new version greatly increases the speed of menus, windows and applications open. OS 10.1 upgrade will be free to OS X owners.
The iMac line now contains three models, with suggested retail prices between $999 and $1,499, all of which sport a CD-RW drive. The entry-level unit has a 500MHz PowerPC G3 processor, 128MB of RAM, 20GB hard drive, the mid-range computer uses a 600MHz G3 chip and doubles the amount of RAM and hard drive space. The high-end model has a 700MHz G3 processor and 60GB hard drive.
The three-unit new PowerMac G4 line starts with a 733MHz G4 powered model with 128MB of RAM, CD-RW drive and 40GB hard drive that carries a $1,699 suggested retail price. The step up model has Apple's most powerful processor; the 867MHz G4, a 60GB hard drive and a $2,499 suggested retail price. At the top of the line is a computer with dual 800MHz processors, 256MB of RAM and an 80GB hard drive.
The latter two models also feature what Apple calls a SuperDrive. This is a DVD-R drive capable of reading all media and burning information to DVD-R media.
Unlike past keynotes, Jobs did not discuss Apple's financial situation, despite the fact the company's fiscal third quarter 2001 numbers had Apple showing a $61 million profit on sales of $1.5 billion.