Thanks to MacWEEK and their ability to sniff out the facts ahead of time, we're all starting to get some glimpses of this fall's slate of new Macintosh computers. The article in last Tuesday's MacWEEK gives us new names for the products we've been expecting, which include two 68040 Macs, a 68030 Classic, and three new portable Macs.
The new portables, the first Apple computers that can really be called notebooks, are called PowerBooks. They fold down to 8.5 by 11 inches, and the lower section includes a keyboard and a trackball placed below the keyboard. Apparently some testers have expressed some discomfort due to the trackball's placement, but on an eleven-inch panel, there's a limit to the number of places you can put a trackball! Obviously having to have a separate mouse would not do.
Power users won't be disappointed by the raw power of Apple's '040 offerings, the Mac Quadra 700 and its big brother, the Quadra 900. These are the "Desktop" and "Tower" '040 Macs from earlier reports, with snazzier names than the "Macintosh IIex" that had been rumoured. One thing the MacWEEK article neglects to mention about these machines is the significance of their names. The "Quadra" name, from the Latin for the number four, would seem to be in atonement for the ill-fated Apple /// computer. Since the flop of the Apple ]['s would-be successor and business counterpart, Apple has quietly vowed never to name another computer with the number "three." It would have sounded silly to have a Macintosh IV without having had a Mac III, so they presumably did the next best thing and skirted the issue with some linguistic fiddling.
The least impressive of the fall's batch will be the Macintosh Classic II, a 68030 version of last fall's enormously-successful Mac Classic. This machine should really be replacing the Mac Classic, rather than the SE/30. With no expansion slot and no new features, the Classic II is hardly going to fill the void left when the SE/30 is discontinued. The void this machine will more likely fill is that created by the Classic itself, that of real computing power for the masses. People who've been considering a Classic would do well to wait for this new machine, with its rumoured retail price of $1900, and those who didn't wait will be pleased to learn that an upgrade from Classic to Classic II is expected.
Along with two new printers, these six computers represent the largest new-product offering from Apple in a long, long time, if not ever. They show Apple's return to its commitment to the high end, without the lack of attention to the low end that some had feared would accompany the '040 Macs. A good sign in an industry where diversity in the marketplace is critical.
MacWEEK -- 20-Aug-91, Vol. 5, #29, pg. 1