Apple debuted its new G4 series several months earlier than anticipated and touted its new Macs as 100% to 200% faster than the fastest Pentium III machines.
The new computers are based on the 128-bit G4 processor and are available in speeds of 400, 450 and 500MHz. The two top-end models have a 100MHz-system bus with three times the memory bandwidth of the G3, says Apple.
The new 400MHz Power Mac G4 began shipping yesterday at $1599 and will be joined by the 450MHz version in September at $2499 and the 500MHz model in October at $3,499.
According to analysts, the new machines, designed primarily for graphic artists and small or home businesses, will likely preserve Apple's current following rather than increase its market share.
"I don't know that the G4 will win any converts to Apple, but the faithful need to be fed and this is a processor upgrade which they deserve, as it matches the pace of what's happening elsewhere," said Roger Kay research manager for IDC, Framingham, MA.
IDC estimates Apple's market share for retail and mail order sales at 11.2 percent as of June behind Compaq and Hewlett-Packard.