Magazine article Technology & Learning

Apple Introduces New Macs, Peripherals, and More

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Apple Introduces New Macs, Peripherals, and More

Article excerpt

Among the many Apple products announced during the first few months of 1993, there are several of special interest to educators.

It's hard to keep up with product announcements from Apple Computer these days. In January, the company introduced an array of new peripherals; in February, they rolled out several new Macintosh computers; and in March they followed up with a number of networking announcements.

There may be more to come before September. After all, Apple often saves some educationally oriented announcements for the National Educational Computing Conference in late June. And if the company does finally roll out its long-awaited Newton later this summer, we expect Apple's education folks to have something to say about plans to market the personal digital assistant to schools.

Nevertheless, at the risk of being somewhat out of date by the time school begins again, we've decided to fill you in on the first-quarter 1993 introductions and what they might mean for education.

A New Mac LC III--and More

Apple's February announcements, which took place at the MacWorld show in Tokyo, included several computers-at least two of them with special importance for schools. First, there's a new member of the LC family. The LC III offers many of the same features as the LC II, including the slim-line design, internal add-on slot (the processor direct slot, or PDS, in which such cards as the Apple IIe emulator are designed to fit), and 68030 microprocessor. But the LC III is almost twice as fast as its predecessor and has a greater memory and storage capacity, offering from four to 36 megabytes of RAM, and shipping with either an 80- or 160-megabyte hard drive. Apple's current plan is to continue manufacturing and selling the LC II in the education market but at a new, lower price, offering schools a choice between an entry-level color system for less than $ 1,400 and the faster LC III for a few hundred dollars more.

Also of interest to education is the new Centris line, with its 610 and 650 models. These two computers, along with Apple's most recent Macintosh II machines (the IIvx' and IIvi), are being positioned as midrange models for the business and professional markets-above the LC and below the Quadra families. In the education market, Apple is promoting the Centris 610 as a high-end option for teachers' and administrators' desktops or for schools that are looking for powerful workstations with multimedia capabilities.

Built around the Motorola 68040 microprocessor, the Centris 610 and 650 both start at four megabytes of RAM (expandable to 68 or 132 Mb respectively), come with hard disks ranging from 80 to 500 megabytes in capacity, offer built-in video support for all Apple displays (rendering 256 colors on monitors up to 16 inches in size), and have stereo sound-out and mono sound-in capabilities. Options include an internal CD-ROM drive and on-board ethernet networking.

The Centris 610 is built around a slower version of the 68040 microprocessor than its more expensive cousin, the Centris 650. In addition to this cost-saving measure, the Centris 610 achieves its lower price tag by cutting down on size and the number of expansion slots. While the 650 offers three NuBus slots (compatible with the higher-end Macintosh models) plus one processor direct slot, the 610, which weighs a little more than half as much, has room for only one slot--a PDS that, with the addition of a special $100 adapter, can also accommodate NuBus cards measuring less than seven inches. Although it's risky to choose a computer that offers limited access to future add-on cards (such as video digitizers), Apple points out that most of the other features you might want (including monitor support, sound input and output, a CD-ROM drive, and networking) are built into the 610 or available without taking up an internal slot.

A Color PowerBook and a Color Classic

Also of interest, if only because they represent technological breakthroughs, are Apple's littlest color computers--the newly announced color versions of the PowerBook and Classic. …

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