Hello and welcome to the first anniversary edition of Apple Notes. Yes, it's a year since this column (formally known as Mac Notes) and the other computer columns first graced the pages of Sound On Sound. So what was happening in May '92? Well, the Emagic team (then still part of C-Lab) announced Notator Logic, and Yamaha demoed the CBX-D5 — the twin stars of Frankfurt '92 . Well, a year later Notator Logic is finally with us (see review this issue) but where is the CBX-D5?
Apple have gone from strength to strength under the leadership of John Sculley, the man from Coca Cola who took over the hot seat in 1989. Initially criticised for steering Apple down the road to the mass market, the latest figures prove that Sculley knew where he was going. For example, Apple's total sales increased by 20% last year, producing a total revenue of $7bn (£500 million). We Europeans provide Apple with almost 30% of its gross turnover — hence the significance of System 7.1's World Ready capability. Here in the UK, independent Researchers Context claim that Apple sales rose 42% in 1992, compared with a modest 7% rise in IBM compatible PCs over the same period.
Apple is, in fact, now the world's largest supplier of computers, a title held formally by IBM. Big Blue lost their lead by licensing their hardware—allowing third party manufacturers to manufacturer PC clones. Only Apple make Macs, and only Apple supply the Mac's Operating System (System 6 and 7). IBM, on the other hand are subject to the whims of software giant Microsoft, who publish DOS (5.0) and Windows 3.1 (and shortly Windows NT).
Looking ahead, however, by the time you read Apple Notes May '94 it will be possible to run Mac software on a (Power PC) IBM computer. This is a direct result of Apple's 18 month old romance with IBM which, Sculley maintains, is Apple's best bet for long term survival. Is Sculley still headed in the right direction?
Back to the present and rumours that Digidesign felt that San Francisco based OSC (Deck's authors) built in too many features to Deck 2.0. Feeling their own product lines were threatened Digidesign dropped Deck. Whatever the facts of the case may be (how can you tell I've just returned from Jury Service?)...
In version 2.0, Deck's original portastudio style interface has been removed in favour of a Mixer Window and an all new Waveform Editing screen. Other features include 24-bit resolution, moving faders, LTC (SMPTE/EBU) synchronisation, editing of automation data and QuickTime compatibility. OSC have decided to sell Deck themselves via TSC here in the UK. TSC (Contact Details)
Incidentally, Digidesign Europe are keen that all UK users should check the latest version list below and contact them in Paris to arrange an upgrade where necessary. Digidesign Europe (Contact Details).
Computer Warehouse, a sister company of TSC, is one of several Apple dealers running schemes of interest to potential Centris 650 owners (that will help dealers dispose of their remaining stocks of IIvi's in the process). The deal is that you purchase a IIvi 4/80 now for £1195 (including keyboard and 14" monitor) with the option of purchasing a Centris 650 upgrade board for £800 (normal price £850) when they are released in May. This means that you actually buy a Centris 650 for £1995 instead of £2595 — a saving of £600.
The new Macs described in last month's column fill neatly gaps left by obsolete models and, recession aside, promise to bring 68040 performance to a far larger customer base. However, down at the entry level, the demise of the Classic makes an entry level Mac — the Performa 200 — a £680 experience. This is too expensive in our market sector where the Mac's main rival is the MIDI and DSP equipped Atari Falcon030. Back up market, the Mac price/performance ratio seems linear for models placed between the Colour Classic and the Centris 650, but the jump from Centris to Quadra seems positively cavernous.
Portable-wise, the decision to drop the PowerBook 100 is understandable, since Apple wanted to drop the humble 68000 processor from the Mac range. However, a cheap '030 PowerBook has yet to appear, making the 145 the cheapest portable — at £1395, however, it is far beyond the price range of most potential PowerBook owners. In other words, the Mac, though unspeakably fab, is still too expensive for its fabness to be experienced by everyone who wants to buy a computer.
Do you own a CD Walkperson? No, neither do I, but, like many of you, I could be persuaded to buy one if it doubled as a portable CD-ROM drive. A new Apple product that will definitely see a Summer launch is the PowerCD — yes, it's a CD ROM of Discman proportions. Is this the excuse we've all been waiting for? Well, Apple allege (sorry — just finished a spot of jury service) that the PowerCD "will provide Audio CD playback through both headphone and line out sockets" — great. Unfortunately, you can't actually tell it to play CDs unless it's plugged into a telly or your Mac. I don't believe you wanted to do that.
Feature by Kendall Wrightson
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