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Spring Apple Rumors

We couldn't fit these rumors in last week's issue, so in case you haven't heard, here's the latest. Two of the next Macs to show up will be a 68030-based LC and a docking notebook. The '030 LC is perhaps the more interesting of the two because it will address many of the complaints with the current LC. We've heard that it will sport a 16 MHz 68030 with a 68881 coprocessor, although a 16 bit data path will ensure that it will be slower than the SE/30, though probably a bit faster than the Classic II. Other enhancements will include extra VRAM so it can drive the Apple 13" at 256 colors from the on-board video and possibly even built-in Ethernet connections, undoubtedly to improve its standing in the corporate world. Such an LC will probably come in at about the same price and will undoubtedly be more popular than the current '020 LC. I would assume that Apple will have to release a new IIsi to help differentiate it from the '030 LC since the current IIsi running a 13" color monitor in 256 color mode from the onboard video isn't much faster than the current LC. (See below for ways to speed up a IIsi in that situation.) This '030 LC will probably be the machine that gets an internal CD-ROM drive sometime in 1992 and becomes the multimedia machine and even (in repackaged form) the consumer electronics Mac.

Lots of people have complained that Apple doesn't offer a notebook computer with a docking station. From what we've heard, that notebook is on its way, but people may still not be pleased because the notebook will plug into the docking station, but may have few or no external ports. One problem with shrinking the PowerBooks even further is that Apple is running out of space on the back of the case as it is. If they shrink the case, some of the external ports have to go, and that will save weight and space, and possibly some power too.

Interestingly, one of the speakers at the second Macworld keynote gave his top ten predictions for 1992, and the final one was that we would see non-Apple branded Macs by the end of the year. Given that Apple has worked with Sony on the PowerBook 100 and that General Magic will be licensing its software rather than trying to compete in the competitive and expensive hardware market, I think that prediction has some validity. It's also possible that the non-Apple Mac will come from RDI or one of the other companies that claims to have cloned the Mac. We'll see, but I'm not holding my breath.

Finally, for those with a Plus, SE, or Classic, QuickTime B&W should be out sometime in the spring. My impression is that it will work, but that's about it because you're pushing an incredible load on a slow CPU. Black and white movies will probably be OK in small windows at a low frame rate, but anything in color will have to be dithered down to black and white before it can be displayed. Some people are running into this on PowerBook 140s and 170s even now, since those machines have Color QuickDraw in ROM; they just lack color monitors.

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