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Published in TidBITS 24.
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New Mac Attack

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In an effort to compete in the low and mid-range computer market, Apple officially announced three new Macs, the Mac Classic, Mac LC, and Mac IIsi. For those who read the industry press, the announcement had few surprises, but those not up on the details may appreciate a run down of the specifications for these new machines. All of the new Macs should ship with System 6.0.7. According to Apple rep George Cooke, Macs shipped with System 6.0.6 in their boxes should have the system replaced before they are sold due to a few bugs that should be fixed in 6.0.7. All of the new Macs come with just one SuperDrive and the System software comes on 1.44 meg disks.

Mac Classic

CPU: 68000 at 8 MHz
Memory soldered to System Board: 1 MB

Memory Expansion Options: Up to 4 MB by purchasing Mac Classic Memory Card ($149). Card comes with 1 MB on board, and you can add 2 more MB to the card.

Video Options: built-in monochrome 9" screen

Interesting Notes: Runs about 10% faster than the SE; unlike the SE and the SE/30, it doesn't have a universal power supply; only 1 ADB port; no expansion slots - George Cooke pointed out that according to Apple statistics, only 5 percent of all SE owners used the SE expansion slot.

Configurations and List Prices: (Both configurations include Apple's new ADB keyboard.)

  1. No hard disk and 1 MB RAM - $999

  2. 40 MB hard disk and 2 MB RAM (includes the Classic Memory Card) - $1499

Availability: Now

Mac LC

CPU: 68020 at 16 MHz
Memory soldered to System Board: 2 MB

Memory Expansion Options: Up to 4 MB using 1 MB SIMMs; up to 8 MB using 4 MB SIMMs

Video Options: Built-in video supports all Apple monitors except the Portrait and 2-page monitors.

Interesting Notes: The only expansion slot is a new 020 direct slot (just in case Mac developers were bored with the previous collection of slots); comes with a microphone and software to bring sounds into the Mac; only 1 ADB port; Apple will make an Apple IIe emulation card available for the 020 slot.

Standard Configuration: (Includes Apple's new ADB keyboard)

  1. 40 MB hard disk and 2 MB RAM - We don't have the price :-(

Availability: This is unclear, and it appears that dealers will have this machine before academic-type places.

Mac IIsi

CPU: 68030 at 20 MHz - does not include a math coprocessor. In comparison, the SE/30, IIcx, and IIx run at 16 MHz, the IIci runs at 25 MHz, and the IIfx runs at 40 MHz, and all of them all come standard with a math coprocessor. You can add a math coprocessor for a mere (list) $249.

Memory soldered to System Board: 1 MB

Memory Expansion Options: Expands to 5 MB using 1 MB SIMMS; expands to 17 MB using 4 MB SIMMs.

Video Options: Built-in video supports all Apple Mac monitors except the 2-page monitor. You can add a NuBus card or an '030 direct card (but not both).

Interesting Notes: To add an expansion card, you will first need to buy a IIsi adapter card. Yes, Apple is becoming recursive - you must add an adapter card to the motherboard to be able to use either a NuBus or 030 direct card. The adapter card includes the math coprocessor, which cannot be purchased separately, and you can only have one IIsi adapter card, so prepare to decide whether you want 030 or NuBus when you buy the card. In an unprecedented move toward compatibility, Apple made the IIsi 030 slot compatible with the SE/30 030 slot, though a card will work in the IIsi only if it physically fits. The IIsi is small and quite light at 10 pounds, particularly in comparison to the Portable's 17 pounds. With the IIsi, the idea of having one Mac with several monitors in different locations starts to make sense. Finally, the IIsi comes with a microphone and software to bring sounds into the Mac.

Configurations and Prices: (All options do not include keyboard or monitor or IIsi adapter card)

  1. 40 MB hard disk, 2 MB RAM - $3769

  2. 80 MB hard disk, 5 MB RAM - $4569

Availability: Now

Apple also introduced a new 12" color monitor which lists for $599. Apple's 13" color monitor remains in the Mac monitor line-up, with its usual list price of $999. The Plus is discontinued, and the fates of the SE, IIcx, and IIx remain unclear. They are not pictured on Apple's new promotional posters and are likely to dwindle away in the coming months.

These Macs were no great secret to those who believed the trade magazines. I'm pleased with them, though my dream was for an '030 machine that listed around $1000. The Classic's added speed makes it a useful entry level machine. Those who can't afford it should be able to find good deals on used Pluses and SEs. The Mac LC and IIsi don't change things as much, except that they make it cheaper to add a large color monitor, and people who previously could not afford this option will now be able to enjoy it. (Not everyone is a mail order fiend with access to the latest from MacConnection MacWarehouse, to name a few, and even the most careful of shoppers had to scrape pennies to add a big monitor to their setups.)

Information from:
Tonya Byard -- TidBITS Editor
Adam C. Engst -- TidBITS Editor
George Cooke -- Apple rep
Apple propaganda sheets

 

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