With the exception of printers, Apple’s peripherals usually elicit snickers among those who have an idea of what computer equipment should cost. The best examples of this were the Apple modems (which have been dropped) and the Apple hard drives, which are now being dropped from the price lists The only Apple external drive that will remain is the 80 MB one, and that’s probably because A/UX comes on it. Considering that the Apple 40SC external hard drive was $926 at Cornell’s educational price, Apple probably won’t lost much revenue since mail order companies regularly beat Apple’s price by $500 on the exact same mechanism. Almost all the Macs will still come with internal drives, but if you want to add a drive, you’ll have to go to a third party.
Despite dropping the hard drives, Apple isn’t abandoning the storage peripheral market completely. A new CD-ROM drive (the AppleCD SC Plus) should appear soon, boasting a lower price ($799 list, which could translate to $600 discount) and speedier performance. The new drive has 380 millisecond access time, which is quite good, but more importantly, has real-time layered error correction that supposedly greatly increases real world performance. Other enhancements include a better mechanism for keeping dust out of the drive and a lens cleaning mechanism, both of which should help the drive avoid the dust bunnies that plagued its predecessor. I suspect that the new tower Macs will be able to have an internal version of this drive as well. It’s nice to see Apple supporting CD technology with inexpensive hardware if the company plans to push CDs as a major distribution medium.
Although third party hard drive manufacturers must be pleased to see Apple dropping out of their market, the CD-ROM drive companies won’t like the competition from Apple’s new drive. Similarly, third party monitor makers won’t like the new color monitors Apple has in the works, a 16" color monitor for about $1600 and a 21" color monitor for less than $5000. I’ll take the 16" monitor personally – $5000 is a bit steep for my tastes. In response, E-Machines, makers of the primary 16" color monitor for the Mac now, announced a new $1600 16" color monitor, the ColorPage E16. Unlike the Apple monitor, which uses a Sony tube, the E16 will use a Toshiba flat panel tube (is that an oxymoron?). Overall, I’m not surprised by Apple’s new monitors. If Apple wants to pretend to be a workstation company, then it has to provide the sort of monitors that workstations generally have.
MacWEEK — 18-Jun-91, Vol. 5, #23, pg. 1, 6