Mac News Review

20" iMac G5 Price Cut, Hands on Intel iMacs, One Keyboard and Mouse to Rule Them All, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2006.02.03

PowerBook, iBook, iPod, and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. News about Apple's transition to Intel CPUs and other Intel developments is covered in The Macintel Report. iPod news is covered in The iNews Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Products

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Apple Prunes 20" iMac G5 Price

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Apple has knocked $200 off the price of its iMac G5 in the US, while reducing the UK price by £150. The machine now costs $1499 and £1049 in the two territories. The price of the 17in model remains unchanged at $1299 and £899, respectively."

Link: Apple Prunes iMac G5 Pricing

Apple Cuts Old 20" iMac Price

TechWeb News's Gregg Keizer reports:

"Apple Computer reduced the price of its once top-end iMac by $200, signs that it wants to move inventory of the older PowerPC-equipped systems after switching the line last month to Intel's Core Duo processors.

"The 20-inch iMac G5's new price is $1,499, $200 less than before and only $200 more than the 17-inch PowerPC model....

"The price of the 17-inch iMac G5 remained at $1,299, the same price as the similar-sized Intel iMac."

Link: Apple Cuts Old iMac Price

Intel-based iMac Off to a Promising Start

AP's Matthew Fordahl says:

"Normally, a speedier computer that appears to be carbon copy of the one it replaced isn't worthy of much attention.

"Not so, with the new iMac from Apple Computer Inc., the first with silicon brains from Intel Corp.

"The new iMacs remain visually stunning, with the entire computer squeezed into the frame of a 17-inch or 20-inch flat-panel display. They still have built-in video cameras. They run most of the same software titles. And they cost the same ($1,299 or $1,699) as the last generation of iMacs, which ran IBM's PowerPC chips.

"Given all that could have gone wrong in the historic chip switch, all this similitude is significant."

Link: Apple's Intel-based iMac Off to a Promising Start

Test-driving the New iMacs

The San Francisco Chronicle's Matthew Yi reports:

"Years from now, the Macintosh faithful will look back on January 2006 as a pivotal time for Apple Computer Inc.

"That's when Apple started selling its first batch of computers using microprocessors from former rival Intel Corp. In Apple's nearly 30-year history, this is only the second time that the Cupertino company has switched the brains of its Macintosh computers.

"Inserting a new microprocessor is no easy task. Perhaps the biggest challenge is retooling all the software to run on the new computer. Not only does Apple have to rewrite its software - like its Mac OS X operating system - but everyone else who makes software for Macintosh PCs has to rewrite their software, too...

"So, let's take a closer look at the new iMacs that use Intel's Core Duo chips."

Link: Test-driving the New iMacs

Universal Binary the Future of Mac Apps

The Mac Observer reports:

"Don't expect to see developers writing Universal Binary applications ten years from now. Odds are that they will be writing Intel-only versions by that point. Although we may go through some rough patches now, things will smooth out once we all have shiny, new, faster and more powerful Intel-based Macs sitting on our desks.

"Just like Apple's transition from Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X required new versions of the applications we use every day, the transition to Intel-based Macs is forcing developers to update their code once again.

"Apple is doing its best to make that transition as painless as possible for developers and end users alike through a new type of application type called Universal Binary (UB). A UB application contains the necessary code to run natively on a PowerPC-based Mac as well as an Intel-based Mac, like the new iMac or MacBook Pro."

Link: The Future of Mac Apps: Universal Binary

Widescreen Trend Just Getting Started

Mercury News's Mike Langberg says:

"Computer screens are sliding into a kind of middle-aged spread, becoming both bigger and wider.

"While mostly a good thing, the change is driven more by the needs of manufacturers than the demands of consumers. Big widescreen monitors can make it easier to do several things at once, but they also can put an unnecessary dent in the wallet.

"The full extent of this shape-shifting transformation hit me in early January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas."

Link: Widescreen Trend Is Just Getting Started

Adios Internet Explorer 5 for Mac

A notice on Microsoft's site informs us:

"Internet Explorer for Mac no longer available for download

"In June 2003, the Microsoft Macintosh Business Unit announced that Internet Explorer for Mac would undergo no further development, and support would cease in 2005. In accordance with published support lifecycle policies, Microsoft ended support for Internet Explorer for Mac on December 31st, 2005, and is not providing any further security or performance updates. Accordingly, as of January 31st, 2006, Internet Explorer for the Mac is no longer available for download from Microsoft. It is recommended that Macintosh users migrate to more recent web browsing technologies such as Apple's Safari."

Link: Internet Explorer for Mac

Products

One Keyboard/Mouse to Rule Them All with KMremoteControl

PR: Derman Enterprises announces an update to KMremoteControl, the cross-platform program that lets you use one system's keyboard/mouse to operate all the PCs and Macs on your desk:

  • control all your PCs and Macs via your favorite Mac or PC
  • avoid buying that KVM switch . . . add a cheap LCD monitor, instead
  • great for laptop users
  • use with ClipCommControl to synchronize Clipboards (Mac only)

Version 1.52 (Mac) adds the following:

  • fixes a problem returning to the correct foreground application
  • updates LicenseControl to 2.11 with significantly improved capabilities

System requirements:

KMremoteControl requires Mac OS X 10.2 or newer or Windows 2000/XP. A trial version can be downloaded and operates in trial mode until a license is purchased ($24.95 for a 2-license Starter Pak).

Link: KMremoteControl One

Sonnet Releases 1.8 GHz Encore/ST G4 Duet, Drops Some Prices

PR: Sonnet Technologies announces the immediate availability of its new top-of-the-line dual processor upgrade - the Encore/ST G4 Duet 1.8 GHz (Part No. SG4D-1800) - for most "Sawtooth" Power Mac G4 systems, including AGP Graphics, Gigabit Ethernet, Digital Audio, and Quicksilver models. This product represents a new high point in performance and value in Sonnet's most popular line of processor upgrades; it is priced the same as the 1.7 GHz dual processor upgrade it replaces.

This upgrade, using the latest and fastest PowerPC G4 7447A processors from Freescale Semiconductor, features 512K of SRAM on-chip L2 cache and is compatible with Mac OS 9.2, and Mac OS X Version 10.3.5 and higher. The Encore/ST G4 Duet 1.8 GHz fits seamlessly into all supported systems, and auto-configures to its host without the need for switches or jumpers. Like all Sonnet processor upgrades, this new Encore/ST G4 Duet model carries a three-year warranty and includes free technical support.

Pricing & Availability

The Encore/ST G4 Duet 1.8 GHz (Part No. SG4D-1800) is available now with an MSRP of $599.95.

Prices for the rest of Sonnet's Encore/ST G4 line of single processor upgrades are as follows:

  • Encore/ST G4 1.8 GHz, $399.95
  • Encore/ST G4 1.4 GHz, $299.95 (price drop from $349.95)
  • Encore/ST G4 1.33 GHz, $259.95 (price drop from $299.95)
  • Encore/ST G4 1.2 GHz,t $239.95
  • Encore/ST G4 1.0 GHz, $199.95

Compatibility

The Encore/ST G4 Duet 1.8 GHz is compatible with the following Power Mac G4 models:

*Some AGP Graphics systems will not support the Encore/ST G4 Duet. For complete details, please visit the web site at http://www.sonnettech.com/support/techtips/duet_tt04.html

Mac OS Requirements and Compatibility

The Encore/ST G4 Duet 1.8 GHz requires Mac OS 9.2 for software installation and firmware updating. Mac OS X compatibility requires Mac OS X Version 10.3.5 or later.

Western Digital Ships 500 GB Desktop Hard Drive

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Western Digital (WD) has upped the capacity of its Caviar Serial ATA desktop hard drive range to 500 GB, pitching not only the part's storage but also its low power consumption and low operational noise level - features it also highlighted for its new 120 GB Scorpio 2.5in notebook drive."

iListen Works with Intel Macs Using Rosetta, Native Version Coming

PR: MacSpeech, Inc. Chief Evangelist Chuck Rogers says:

Our most frequently asked questions these days is "will iListen work on the new Intel-based Macs?" and "when will iListen be native?" The good news is that iListen works fine on the new Intel-based Macs, running under the built-in Rosetta emulation. Performance is about the same as you would get on a new G5. We are also working on a native version of iListen for later this year. It will be released as soon as development and testing are complete.

Link: MacSpeech

Desktop Mac Deals

Low End Mac updates the following price trackers every two weeks:

For more deals on current, recently discontinued, and older notebooks, see our MacBook Pro deals, 12" PowerBook G4 deals, 15" aluminum PowerBook G4 deals, 17" PowerBook G4 deals, titanium PowerBook G4 deals, iBook G4 deals, PowerBook G3 deals, and iBook G3 deals.

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