Apple positions itself to take bite of corporate PC pie

Apple positions itself to take bite of corporate PC pie

Apple Computer made a big splash at the Macworld Expo with its first new corporate products in more than a year.

Why might Apple's new Power Macintosh G3 systems interest corporate users? The faster 100MHz bus and 400MHz PowerPC 750 processor should make Macintosh performance exceed that of most current PCs.

Also, there are more free slots, answering a long-standing objection of graphics-oriented users, who form Apple's core corporate users.

Rather than more Peripheral Component Interconnect slots, Apple moved Ethernet to the motherboard and added a new, proprietary graphics slot that has a bundled graphics card with its own slot for MPEG playback, as well as a modem slot.

The new case design has handles to make it easier to move, and the case's door provides easier access for component upgrades.

The addition of Universal Serial Bus ports and a FireWire (IEEE 1394) port allows faster peripherals that are also PC-compatible.

The elimination of built-in SCSI ports means the many drives and scanners used by current Macintosh users won't work in the new Macintoshes unless a $US50 SCSI card is added. "If you look at the adoption of USB [Universal Serial Bus], we burned the bridge behind us" with the iMac, which dropped the long-standard Apple Desktop Bus ports, said Apple's hardware vice president Jon Rubinstein. "We've created a USB market in a year that the PC market couldn't do in three because PCs have kept their older-standard ports. Now we're doing it with FireWire."

Next month, Apple also plans to ship the Mac OS X Server. Wasn't that announced back in July? Yes, the operating system was supposed to ship in last year's third quarter but did not. Apple now promises it by Q2 this year.

Known best by its code name Rhapsody, Mac OS X Server marries a Unix-based (Mach and BSD Unix 4.4) kernel with the basic Mac OS.

Application server software

It also includes the freeware Apache 1.3.3 Web server and the WebObjects 4 application server software, which should appeal to Macintosh-based Web publishers.

The Unix core means it can network with workstations using Network File System (NFS), a Unix standard.

The client version of Mac OS X, expected at year's end, will also support NFS, easing Macintosh integration into Unix-based networks.

The new NetBoot feature will help administrators use Macintoshes as network computers: the operating system for each client is stored on a server and downloaded on start-up.

That saves administration time and prevents users from modifying system setup.

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