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Jobs touts Apple speed demons
--------------------------------------------------------- By Maria Seminerio, ZDNN and Simone Kaplan, PC Week Online
03.17.98 1:01 pm ET

Listen to PC Week Radio's rebroadcast of Jobs' Seybold speech.

NEW YORK -- Apple Computer Inc.'s interim CEO, Steve Jobs, touting the company's powerful G3 chips Tuesday, showed off 300Mhz and 400MHz Power Macintoshes that he said run two to four times as fast as the speediest Pentium II machines.

Jobs, whose address kicked off the Seybold Seminars/New York Publishing '98 conference here, punctuated his remarks with testimonials from executives at Apple (AAPL) partners such as Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE) and demonstrations aimed at showcasing the G3's speed advantage.

The G3 computers have exceeded sales estimates, with 130,000 units sold in the first quarter, Jobs said. Apple expected to ship only 80,000 G3 machines during that period, he said.

Apple is offering some 20,000 different build-to-order configurations of the 300MHz Power Macintosh G3, making "the most powerful personal computer on the planet also the most versatile," he said.

The G3, based on a 300MHz PowerPC 750 chip, comes with 1MB Level 2 cache, 24X CD-ROM, 64MB synchronous dynamic RAM and a 4GB Ultra Wide SCSI drive for $3,359.

The 400MHz processor, which is still in development, would be equivalent to an 800MHz Pentium II, according to Jobs, "and I don't know when if ever they'll be able to make an 800MHz Pentium."

The new system, which is based on a PowerPC processor fabricated from copper and developed by IBM, will be available for Apple in early 1999, according to Jobs, who offered no updates on Apple's search for a permanent CEO.

During his speech, Jobs pledged to make Apple’s offerings more price competitive with Windows-based PCs.

"We are aggressively moving our prices down," said Jobs. "These new G3 systems are high performance but priced in the midrange."

Saying the company still lives up to its history of innovation, Jobs announced several new initiatives, including plans to release a Windows version of its ColorSync color management technology, which will allow application developers to manage the appearance of Web pages and color printing applications in Windows along with the Mac OS; and the release of Apple's first flat-panel display. The $1,999 displays are set to ship in May, he said.

Other products introduced during the keynote included a card that supports the IEEE 1394 specification, known as Firewire, and a RAID drive. The Firewire card is priced at $299 and will be available in April. The dual 4GB 7,200-rpm RAID drive, priced at $1,070, is available now.

At a brief Q&A; following the speech, Jobs did not discuss future plans concerning Rhapsody or a consumer product the company is widely rumored to be working on. He did say, however, that Apple's software road map would be revealed at the company’s software developers conference this May in San Jose and that a consumer device now in development would be unveiled in the fall.

Since the company's profitable Q1, its stock price has nearly doubled and is now near a 52-week high. Apple is also expected to post a profit in its second quarter, and analysts have attributed the stock price rise to unconfirmed rumors of a buyout or major alliance with Walt Disney & Co. On Monday, Apple's shares were at $26.50, off 63 cents on NASDAQ, below their 52-week high of $29.75.

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