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Next time you buy an iMac, don't be surprised if the dealer asks what flavor you want. Apple Computer (408/996-1010, http://www.apple.com ) has announced a new version of its consumer Mac that features a 266MHz G3 processor and a 6GB hard drive. But the most noticeable change is on the outside: you can now order your iMac in one of five "flavors": strawberry, blueberry, grape, tangerine, or lime. The new iMac sells for $1,199, compared with $1,299 for the original Bondi blue model, which featured a 233MHz G3 and a 4GB hard drive.

The iMac continues to blister the PC sales charts. Apple claims that it sold 800,000 iMacs between August 15–when the computer debuted–and December 31, 1998. The company says that 32 percent of iMac customers are first-time computer buyers, and another 13 percent are Wintel users.

Playing Games

As Apple rolls out the new iMac, several vendors have announced products that enhance the machine's game-playing capabilities. Virtual Game Station, a $49 software emulator from Connectix (650/571-5100, http://www.connectix.com ), lets Mac users play games designed for Sony's popular PlayStation. Micro Conversions (817/468-9922, http://www.microconversions.com ) has unveiled an iMac version of Game Wizard, a 3-D-graphics accelerator based on 3Dfx's Voodoo 2 chip. The board plugs into the original iMac's undocumented Mezzanine port; Apple says that using the port will void the iMac warranty, but Micro Conversions claims that it has tested the board in the iMac with no negative consequences.

Apple also announced that future versions of the Mac OS will include OpenGL, a set of 3-D-graphics routines licensed from Silicon Graphics. Game developers say that OpenGL will permit faster 3-D performance on the Mac, and will also make it easier for them to port games written for the PC.

Mac OS X Clients

While targeting the iMac at consumers, Apple is also positioning the machines as clients for its new Mac OS X Server, which debuted at the recent 1999 Macworld Expo in San Francisco. The server, available for $995 in a software-only version or for $4,999 when bundled with a G3 Power Mac, incorporates a Mach microkernel, the BSD 4.4 version of Unix, an Apache Web server, WebObjects, and a feature called NetBoot that allows networked Macs to be booted and configured from the server.

In a demonstration at Macworld Expo, Apple interim CEO Steve Jobs booted a diskless iMac connected to a Mac OS X Server. Then he showed 50 iMacs running QuickTime movies from the same server.

March 1999 page: 28

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