If you thought Apple’s Power Macintosh G5 models were growing a little old in the tooth and wondering when Steve Jobs would make good on his 3 GHz promise from the June 2003 Worldwide Developer Conference, you have longer to wait, but it should be worth it. Apple announced today that in the next year it will release a new series of high-end desktops ranging from 3 GHz to 3.6 GHz using a new PowerPC chip from IBM. However, Apple has decided to break from the G3, G4, and G5 naming convention, evidently due to potential trademark conflicts.
Although the “G6” designation would be the most obvious for the next generation of Power Macs, G6 has already been extensively advertised by Pontiac as “the first ever G6” for their new performance sedan. It’s also the name of a digital camera from Canon. Can you imagine the confusion of connecting your G6 to your G6 in a G6? Worse, G7 and G8 are taken as the names for the “Group of 7” industrialized economic powers and the “Group of 8” which includes the G7 and Russia. Moving up, G9 was unfortunately taken as the name of a watch by Suunto.
So at today’s press conference, Steve Jobs said Apple will skip a few generations and go from G3, G4, G5 straight to “GX”, which is to be pronounced “G Ten” to match the marketing currently poured into Mac OS X. The new Power Mac GX models will to ship “around the same time as Mac OS X 10.X Platypus” and will sport several fashionable faux-fur enclosures that match the names of different versions of Mac OS X: Cheetah, Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Wombat, and Tiger (because the design work was already done when Apple decided to rename Mac OS X 10.4 to Wombat). The cutting-edge design and varied exteriors recalls the days when Apple offered several different colored cases for iMacs and Apple’s current color options for the iPod mini. But the fur isn’t just for aesthetics; more on its function later in this issue.
Jobs was reticent with other details surrounding the Power Mac GX desktop machines, likely because they’re so far off (our estimate is the third quarter of 2006, given the likely release schedule for the next version of Mac OS X). Along with the new processors from IBM, the Power Mac GX will feature new wireless technologies that reduce the cable clutter Jobs is so notorious for hating, including wireless power transmission and a wireless display. “We finally got rid of those last cables” said Jobs.