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Published in TidBITS 34.
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Expo Expectations

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Unlike the Macworld Expo in Boston this year, the San Francisco Expo promises to show some products that haven't been thoroughly squeezed of interest by the press (including us :-)). The computer industry and Apple in particular has a strange fascination with leaking information, wavering between battening down the security hatches and making sure that "unofficial" information is freely available. The three recently-introduced Macs are the best example of this latter phenomenon since almost everyone knew exactly what they could do well before they actually appeared. For this upcoming Expo on January 10-13 in San Francisco, though, everyone's staying quiet. We've got a few ideas about what might be released there, some backed up with evidence, some just based on educated speculation.

The main thing to look for at the Expo is Apple's new laptop. It's rumored to be a bit lighter than the current one, and may use a different pointing device (the leading contender is the Isopoint, the one used in the Outbound portable). We haven't heard whether or not a new screen will be included, but there have been lots of talk of Apple working with Toshiba and Sony, both of whom could contribute a lot to the new portable's screen capability. We originally thought that the Portable's screen was quite good, but in using a borrowed one more, we're not all that impressed. We have heard of several people who can barely use a luminescent screen because of eye problems. For them, an LCD screen is a must. There's also been talk of lighter portables coming out later in the year, which we certainly wouldn't complain about.

We've been thinking (and saw mention of this in the 10-Dec edition of Robert X Cringely's rumor column in InfoWorld) that Apple may actually ship System 7.0 at this Expo, rather than in the spring as had been the previous indication. We have seen System 7.0 up and running and have seen few crashes, although the fancier stuff like virtual memory and file sharing wasn't quite complete. If System 7.0 shipped at the Expo, and if third-party developers were ready for it, that would mean a whole slew of new System 7.0 versions of programs like Word and Excel, which are both looking a little grey around the edges (and I don't mean grey-scale) in comparison to their competitors. We'll just have to wait and see.

We're betting on a color version of Radius's popular Pivot monitor to show up at the Expo too. Radius hasn't said anything concrete about it yet, but one inquiring soul was given a solid "No comment." Now if we asked in true journalistic style, "Do you deny that you were avoiding the question of whether or not there will be a color Pivot introduced at the Expo?" then we'd know for sure what was happening. Lucky for Radius, we're not nasty journalists and we like their monitors. So one way or another, we hope there is a color Pivot introduced, if only because we'd love to see a review unit and because they would sell like hotcakes if they weren't too expensive. Who knows, maybe PCPC will even show the Flipper monitor at the Expo too. If so, it would be the first time we'd heard of a confirmed sighting. Our money (if we had any) is on Radius.

Information from:
Michael Kobb -- mjkobb@media-lab.media.mit.edu

Related articles:
PC WEEK -- 10-Dec-90, Vol. 7, #49, pg. 1
InfoWorld -- 03-Dec-90, Vol. 12, #49, pg. 1

 

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