The Rumor Mill

Color Classic III Rumored

- 2000.11.30

Apple has a long tradition of not quite getting a product right the first time around, but nailing it on the second or third version. For instance, the first Mac simply had too little memory, the 512K had just enough but excruciatingly slow hard drive storage. Enter the Mac Plus: 1 MB (expandable to 4) and SCSI for up to seven fast (for 1986) hard drives.

Again, the LC and LC II were a bit too crippled (see Road Apples), but the LC III hit a home run.

Then there was the behemoth 16 pound Mac not-so-Portable - supplanted by the small, light, innovative PowerBook 100. A lot of Mac users wish Apple offered a PowerBook that small and light today.

The Mac with the greatest cult following is the Color Classic and it's rare sibling, the Colour Classic II. Everyone Color Classicagrees the Color Classic was way cool despite some serious limitations (again, see Road Apples), but the CC II fixed 'em very nicely.

Steve Jobs knows a fanatic audience when he sees it. If people are already finding ways to put G3s into a Color Classic case (and I've heard of at least one person trying to fit an iMac's guts into one), there's a definite market for a new Color Classic.

Our sources are divided on the name: Color Classic III or Color Classic G3. Since Apple has a penchant for Roman numbers (Mac II, LC III, OS X), we're leaning toward III.

Whatever.

The new Color Classic will have a G3 processor and a slot-loading CD-ROM drive. (Putting CD-ROM drives in Color Classics is another challenge for owners, but several have done so with the old case - see here and here.) It will also have a subwoofer projecting sound downward and narrow ribbon speakers beside the 10" viewable display.

The CC III will be about 2" wider than the older Color Classics to make room for the slightly The iClassic, image © Jeff Fosterlarger screen and ribbon speakers. Height should be about the same, as should depth, resulting in a box under 15" tall, about 12" wide, and 12-13" deep. Styling will be a bit less boxy, but not nearly as curvaceous as the iMac.

In fact, our sources are unanimous in telling us the CC III will not come in translucent colors, so it won't look anything like Jeff Foster's image on the right, but it looks nice, so we decided to use it again. Instead, the CC III will be available in the same silvery gray as the Cube - and at least two other colors.

We expect the third Color Classic will have transparent feet, giving it the levitating appearance of the Cube. And, like current iMacs and the Cube, the CC III will have no fan.

Technical details include a 100 MHz system bus, a 400 MHz 750Cx (G3e) processor, and a multisync monitor supporting the traditional Color Classic 512 x 384, the traditional Mac 640 x 480, and the iMac's 800 x 600. Video is also ported out the back of the computer with a regular VGA connector that supports resolutions to 1280 x 1024. (At higher resolutions, the internal screen blanks out.)

For convenience, there will be two USB ports near the front of the right side and two more on the back. There will also be a FireWire port next to each pair of USB ports, making it very easy to add peripherals.

We expect the CC III to ship with 64 MB of memory, a smallish (6-10 GB) hard drive, and a 24x CD-ROM in a base configuration selling for under US$1,000. The Special Edition will include 128 MB, a 20 GB drive, and DVD. We anticipate it will sell for about US$1,250. Both will also be available on a build-to-order basis.

Although Apple is expected to unveil the Color Classic III at Macworld Expo in January, the release date has been pushed back to April 1, 2001 so Apple can reduce their inventory of iMacs, which are expected to see a 20-30% drop in sales once the CC III becomes available.

As always, Apple will not comment on rumors, so you'll just have to take our word on this. Would The Rumor Mill mislead you?

- Anne Onymus

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