The iMac Channel

An iMac G4?

4 September 1999 - Dan Knight

Just last week Apple unveiled the Power Mac G4 in two versions and three speeds.

The G4/400 uses a modified Yosemite (Blue G3) motherboard, comes with a 10 GB hard drive, and sells for the same US$1,599 price as the G3/350.

The G4/450 and G4/500 use the new Sawtooth motherboard, which has two separate USB controllers, three FireWire ports, a faster memory design, and a 2X AGP slot for hyperfast video.

The Macintosh Guy is already running a Power Mac G4 list, which has grown to several hundred members. We've discussed just about every aspect of the nearly available G4/400 and how it compares with the forthcoming Sawtooth machines.

One interesting revelation on the list: Motorola is making a 350 MHz G4 processor, but Apple isn't building a 350 MHz Power Mac G4.

What's up with that?

The rumor sites are already talking about a PowerBook G4 in the January-to-April time frame, but Motorola is building the CPUs now.

And only one of the four companies announcing G4 upgrades says it will make a G4/350 card. Even if all four companies did, it probably wouldn't make a dent in the supply of G4/350 processors Motorola is making.

Let's try to steal Apple's thunder and speculate that the next iMac won't run a G3 at 350 MHz or even 400 MHz.

No, the improved iMac will have a 17" screen and a G4/350 processor.

Following on the heels of the first personal computer to be classified as a supercomputer by the federal government, the iMac G4 will be the first consumer computer to fall under export restrictions.

In five fruity flavors.

Apple is making a concerted effort to share as much technology and as many components as possible between its four product lines. For the next iMac, this probably means:

  • a 100 MHz memory bus, just like Sawtooth
  • two independent USB controllers, just like Sawtooth
  • bootable USB, just like Sawtooth
  • one or two FireWire ports, down from three on Sawtooth
  • the same US$1,199 price tag as today's iMac/333

If you've seen the Tank ad (download here), picture the possible ad for the new iMac G4. A tank drives behind a G4. The script is the same - until the end. Then, instead of the G4 being surrounded by five tanks, it is surrounded by five fruity G4 iMacs.

"The new iMac G4. The $1,200 supercomputer. Get your hands on one."

After all, if Apple can sell a G4/400 for the same price as a G3/350, there seems no obstacle to replacing a G3/333 iMac with G4/350 version at the same price point.

At least that's what I'm guessing Apple will unveil next, possible (as rumored on Think Secret) at Apple Expo 99 in Paris later this month.

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