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Power Mac G5 Not at 3GHz, But 'Speed Doesn't Matter,' Says Analyst

TMO Reports - Power Mac G5 Not at 3GHz, But 'Speed Doesn't Matter,' Says Analyst

by , 2:45 PM EDT, April 27th, 2005

Apple's Wednesday announcement of new Power Mac G5 computers has drawn criticism from some users who continue to fret over the company's failure to hit the 3GHz mark, which was promised within a year by CEO Steve Jobs upon the machines' initial introduction in June 2003. Jupiter Research analyst Joe Wilcox, however, told The Mac Observer that "speed doesn't matter much anymore. We've moved beyond the 'speed and feeds' debate."

Mr. Wilcox pointed out that chip efficiency has increased to such a degree that "a processor with less GHz can perform better than chips with more GHz." He noted that Apple has avoided the GHz speed wars over the past few years, choosing instead to focus on the benefits of technology rather than checklists of features that don't always serve users.

Delivering Benefits First

For example, Mr. Wilcox said that the addition of Double Layer SuperDrives to the Power Mac G5 line is more important than incremental speed increases. While such DVD burners have been available as stand-alone units since last year and became standard equipment in some Windows computers late in 2004, Mr. Wilcox said that Apple "did the right thing by waiting [to include the drives]. There's been a lag between the drives coming to market and the availability of media. What's the point of including something that consumers can't use?"

Now that SuperDrives are compatible with Dual Layer DVD media, Mr. Wilcox said he sees "more opportunities for people working with HD video, as well as those who want to put longer movies on these 8.5GB discs." In addition, he noted that the higher-capacity media allows users with, for example, large iTunes libraries to back them up to one disc.

Apple's inclusion of Bluetooth 2.0 in the new computers is also an important development, according to Mr. Wilcox, even though compatible peripherals are just starting to come on the market. While the speed difference in the new version won't make a difference with such devices as wireless mice and keyboards, he noted that users who want to sync data from cell phones and PDAs will appreciate the boost in transfer rates.

Apple's LCDs Even More Attractive

The computer maker also dropped the prices of its 20- and 23-inch Cinema Displays on Wednesday, a move that Mr. Wilcox said makes them "look pretty good now." In his opinion, the monitors' pricing "didn't look bad before," either. "US$1,500 for a 23-inch HD display? Wow," he said. "I'd put one in the living room in place of a TV."

Mr. Wilcox dismissed comparisons between Apple and its competitors in terms of display pricing, noting that the former's "displays are beautiful. You could walk into an Apple store and come out with a Mac mini and a 20-inch Cinema Display for $1,300. That's pretty good."

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