Back in November, we claimed that Apple was going to come out with a cheap ink-jet printer this spring, and it’s looking more and more like we were right (in this business you have to take these minor victories where you can get them). Apple of course refused to confirm reports that they denied everything when asked about the printers, but we think Apple will soon release the StyleWriter, a sub-$600 ink-jet based on the 360 dpi Canon bubble-jet engine, and the sub-$1400 Personal LaserWriter LS, a 300 dpi laser based on the same 4 page per minute engine used by the Personal LaserWriter NT. Despite InfoWorld’s impression that "other Apple LaserWriters use a SCSI connection," the Personal LaserWriter LS will not be unique in using the serial port (only the LaserWriter II SC and Personal LaserWriter SC, the latter of which will be discontinued in all likelihood), connect via the SCSI port – guess what the SC in their names stands for…). Of course both printers will support TrueType and QuickDraw, which places their release date sometime around or after the release of System 7.0. We have no information on whether or not either of these printers can be upgraded to handle True Image, though PostScript upgrades will not be possible. By the way, we’ve heard that the documentation for System 7.0 is completely done and Apple is trying to make sure it is as bug-free as possible even though it’s stable now.
Interestingly enough, we haven’t heard much about True Image, the PostScript clone that Apple licensed from Microsoft in return for Apple’s TrueType technology. Microsoft hasn’t yet shipped the True Image interpreter to the companies who want to use it yet, supposedly because of delays with TrueType at Apple. A few companies, most notably LaserMAX Systems, have shipped True Image printers already, but those printers will have to be upgraded when the final release of True Image comes out. Abaton just announced a low-end, 6 page per minute, PostScript-compatible printer using the Microsoft PostScript clone. Like the QMS-PS 410, it has numerous input ports (one parallel, two serial, and one AppleTalk) and can accept data on any one without manual switching. With either of these PostScript clone printers, you must determine if the PostScript emulation is good enough for your purposes (though even true Adobe PostScript can’t necessarily print all possible PostScript documents).
Apple certainly isn’t ignoring the high-end these days, despite its recent emphasis on the low-end. Work on the 68040 machines is going well, with a workstation using A/UX and a high-end machine to knock the IIfx down a rung to come out sometime this spring. New laser printers are coming as well to take over for the aging II NT and II NTX. In all likelihood, the new printers will use the same engine, but will have faster processors to speed output and will include Ethernet ports to go with all of Apple’s new Ethernet hardware. Since PostScript printers seldom reach the engine’s rated speed, the processor is the main bottleneck. And what better way to avoid a bottleneck than throwing more processor power at it.
LaserMAX Systems — 612/944-9696
Abaton — 800/444-5321 — 415/683-2226
MacWEEK — 05-Feb-91, Vol. 5, #5, pg. 1, 6
InfoWorld — 11-Feb-91, Vol. 13, #6, pg. 101
PC WEEK — 04-Feb-91, Vol. 8, #5, pg. 19