[4:30 PM] Rebate Program From CompuServe Puts iMac In US$599 Range
In another very significant announcement from Apple today, the company announced that CompuServe had extended its famed rebate program to people purchasing new Apple computers. The rebate program offers a US$400 rebate to Mac buyers who sign up for a three year contract with CompuServe. That rebate places the new 350 MHz iMac model at US$599 after the rebate. According to Apple and CompuServe:
Apple and CompuServe, the value leader in Internet access and subsidiary of America Online, Inc., today announced an extension of the successful retail rebate program designed to make getting online with Apple computers easier and more affordable.
Beginning in November, Apple and CompuServe will introduce the first rebate offer made available to Mac users. Consumers who sign up for CompuServe for the Mac will receive a rebate in connection with the purchase of a Macintosh computer. The rebate applies to Macs purchased at CompUSA and J & R ComputerWorld and are an extension of the ongoing and successful rebate programavailable through the holiday shopping seasonalready in place with these stores.
"AOL and Apple are celebrating a decade of partnership together in which AOL has always been a premium Internet service choice for Mac users. Now CompuServe joins the family. CompuServe's rebate program with Apple marks the first time that Mac users can take advantage of our rebate program, and we are excited to bring new value to consumers who love their Macs and want CompuServe's robust content to help them manage their lives," said Audrey Weil, AOL SVP and General Manager of CompuServe.
"We are glad to be working with CompuServe to make Macs more affordable than ever," said Mitch Mandich, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Sales. "90% of our iMac users join the Internet, so we know the rebate program with CompuServe Internet access will be a real winner among our audience."
We have not yet found a specific URL for Observers to find more information on how to receive the rebate. CompUSA units will be receiving the information shortly, though we expect it to take at least a few days to penetrate through the floor ranks. We will post an update when we have more information.
The Mac Observer Spin:Analysts have been awaiting some form of announcement along these lines for months as Apple took PR hits for not having cheaper units. This agreement between the two companies finally puts Apple on more even footing in the minds of consumers, especially those who may be less savvy to the differences between platforms. If CompUSA pushes this as hard as they have the PC rebates, iMac sales are simply going to explode.
This going to mean a huge fiscal 1st quarter for the company, absolutely huge. Apple's fiscal 1st quarter is the 4th calendar quarter (i.e. the holiday shopping season).
[3:45 PM] Apple Stock Watch: Apple Pushes Ahead 5% As Street Welcomes New iMac
Apple's stock actually benefited from the announcement of new iMacs and held onto those gains throughout the trading day. Early gains enjoyed by the broader market were washed away as the markets reacted very negatively to news from the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve announced that they would not raise interest rates (an expected move), and that they were adopting a "tightening bias" (another expected move).
Though both moves were expected, the markets turned broad gains from earlier in the trading day into broad losses. This momentarily swept Apple along as well, erasing much of the 4 point gains Apple saw in early trading. Apple held on to stay in positive territory and ended the day more than 5% up.
Apple closed at 67 15/16, a gain of 3 3/8 or 5.23%. Volume was heavy with 7,266,700 shares trading hands.
Macromedia shared in Apple's glory as the stock closed up more than 3 points as well. Adobe and Symantec closed lower. Apple's PowerPC partners were mixed as Motorola closed lower and IBM closed higher.
On the PC front, Compaq, Intel, and Microsoft all ended the day lower while Dell, Gateway 2000, Hewlett-Packard ended the day lower.
The Dow closed at 10400.59, down 0.64 and the Nasdaq closed at 2799.67, a gain of 3.70.
For full quotes on all the companies mentioned in this article, we have assembled this set of quotes at Yahoo! for your reference. We also have these same quotes reported live (20 minute delay) on our home page [Editor's Note: As of this writing, the home page stock quotes are down for maintenance.] For other stories regarding Apple's stock activity, visit our Apple Stock Watch Special Report.
The Mac Observer Spin:Wall Street loves the sub-US$1000 iMac and views the overall new product line as a cheaper product line. The reality is that Apple introduced a new, faster iMac and raised the price to US$1299. The sub-US$1000 model represents a new emasculated version of the iMac when compared to the rest of the new product line, and therein lies Apple's brilliance. No other computer manufacturer could possibly introduce a revision to an existing product line and actually raise prices. Apple, however, will be able to pull this off fantastically as The Street and consumers focus on the low end version.
Please don't misunderstand, the new 400 MHz iMacs are certainly worth US$1299. The video upgrade, DVD player, software, and FireWire all combine to make the iMac DV a fantastic improvement over the iMac 350 MHz model, and well worth the higher price tag. The point of this commentary is that M. Jobs and his team crafted a situation that allows them to raise their prices in a market where that is largely considered suicide. From a business standpoint, this is nothing short of outstanding for Apple's bottom line.
[3:30 PM] Apple Makes New iMac, iMac DV, And iMac DV Special Edition Official!
2 weeks of intrigue and scandal were made good today as Apple introduced the long awaited new iMac product line. As reported here (first) and elsewhere, the new line includes 3 models, FireWire, DVD, new colors, faster processors, video out, and a new case design, as well as other improvements. According to Apple's official press release:
Apple today introduced a family of all-new iMac computers, continuing the revolution in consumer and education computing that began when the original iMac was introduced just over a year ago. The new family includes iMac, iMac DV (for Digital Video) and iMac DV Special Edition, which comes in a stunning new clear Graphite-colored enclosure. The new models are completely redesigned to be faster, sleeker, quieter, and make accessing the Internet even friendlier. Apple is shipping all three models beginning today.
I'm in love with the new iMacit's the finest product Apple has ever created, said Steve Jobs, Apple's interim CEO. Desktop video and AirPort wireless networking are the next revolutionary features for home and classroom computing.
All of the new iMacs feature:
Faster Pentium-toasting PowerPC G3 processors;
64MB memory standard, with expansion up to 512MB through an easy to access door;
A Rage 128 VR 2D/3D high-end graphics accelerator chip for stunningly realistic gaming;
A new sound system designed in collaboration with Harman Kardon which delivers breakthrough quality from a personal computer;
New slot-load CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drives (like those featured in luxury automobiles) which offer greater simplicity and reliability by eliminating the need for a tray;
Fan-less operation, resulting in a reduction of noise to half that of competitive products when the iMac is in use, and to below the threshold of most people's hearing when the iMac is idling;
Support for Apple's revolutionary AirPort wireless networking for fast, wireless Internet access from anywhere in the home or classroom;
Dual USB ports, a V.90/56K modem, and 10/100BASE-T Ethernet for fast connection to networks, cable modems and DSL modems; and
Even easier connection to the Internet using iMac's enhanced Internet Setup Assistant and 30 days of free Internet access.
In addition to the above features, both iMac DV models offer:
A slot-load DVD-ROM drive, with the added ability to play DVD movies directly on iMac's high-resolution super-crisp 15-inch display (13.8-inch diagonal viewable image size) and sound through its high-fidelity Harman Kardon sound system. All iMac DV and iMac DV Special Edition models shipped in the US include a DVD of Disney/Pixar's A Bug's Life, so customers can watch their first DVD movie on iMac right out of the box;
Dual 400 megabit per second FireWire ports to connect to high-speed devices such as external disk drives and digital camcorders (over 8 million digital camcorders have been sold to date);
Apple's groundbreaking new iMovie software, which makes it incredibly simple to create your own pro-quality home and classroom movies. iMovie uses iMac's built-in FireWire port to digitally transfer the video from your digital camcorder into your iMac. Then iMovie lets you easily rearrange clips, add special effects like cross-dissolves and scrolling titles, as well as music soundtracks and even sound effects. Users can save their movie on iMac's hard drive, or send it back to the camcorder to make copies on digital or VHS videotape. They can even send the movie to friends and family over the Internet.
Pricing and Availability
The new iMacs are available immediately via The Apple Store (www.apple.com) and Apple Authorized Resellers in the following configurations:
iMac: With a suggested retail price of U.S. $999, iMac runs at 350MHz, contains 64MB SDRAM, 512K backside cache, Rage 128 VR VR with 8MB SDRAM and AGP2X, a 6GB Ultra ATA hard drive, slot load 24x-speed CD-ROM (maximum), a built-in V.90 56K modem, 10/100BASE-T and two USB ports. iMac is engineered to work without a fan, and features a new sound system with Harman Kardon speakers. iMac is available in Blueberry.
iMac DV: With a suggested retail price of U.S. $1,299, iMac DV has the same configuration as iMac, but runs at 400MHz, has a 10GB Ultra ATA hard drive, 4x-speed slot-load DVD-ROM drive with DVD video playback, two 400Mbps FireWire® ports and iMovie software. iMac DV is available in five colors: Blueberry, Grape, Lime, Strawberry and Tangerine.
iMac DV Special Edition: With a suggested retail price of U.S. $1,499, iMac DV Special Edition has the same configuration as iMac DV, but comes with 128MB SDRAM and a 13GB Ultra ATA hard drive. iMac DV Special Edition is available in a stunning Graphite enclosure.
The Mac Observer Spin: These are hot, sexy new machines. As we remarked in our live coverage of the announcements, M. Jobs appeared visibly moved over the new products. As evidenced in the above press release, M. Jobs called the new iMacs the best products Apple has ever shipped. During the presentation itself, he talked about how quiet the models are for more than 2 minutes, a long time to devote to such a seemingly minor feature. This is definitely the mark of an Insanely Great product and while it is overshadowed by the DVD, FireWire, and new case design for most people, we think it is the most important aspect of the new machines.
The DV models with their ability to play full screen DVD movies and the ability for consumers to make their own movies is going to have a huge impact in the consumer market. Apple will have to get the message out and truly make it apparent to non-techies that it will be easy to make your own movie, but if they can do so, Christmas will be a very big month for Apple indeed.
Steve Jobs was interviewed on CNBC after today's Special Event help in Cupertino at 12:00 PM CDT. CNBC asked M. Jobs about problems that Taiwan may have caused Apple. M. Jobs replied that Apple had been halted with iBook production for a short while, but that they were producing iBooks again at this time. M. Jobs also said that Apple hoped to have a good quarter with the iBook.
CNBC was also interested in the sub-US$1000 aspect of the new low end iMac and commented that marked the first time that Apple had competed in the sub-US$1000 market. CNBC did not ask about, nor did M. Jobs comment on, the CompuServe rebate offer of US$400 back for new Mac purchases when the user signs up for 3 years of CompuServe service.
The interview featured highlights from M. Jobs's presentation including lots of product shots. The interview was short, but once again it was very positive.
The Mac Observer Spin:Wall Street's love affair with M. Jobs seems to continue. CNBC's coverage of Apple throughout the day was very positive. This included coverage of the new products, coverage of M. Jobs, and coverage of their stock performance before and after today's announcements.
Steve Jobs, Apple's iCEO, announced that OS 9 is officially shipping. OS 9 is the next upgrade to the MacOS and contains a host of new features and performance improvements. According to Apple:
Apple today announced that Mac OS 9, a major new release of the Macintosh operating system featuring 9 Internet power tools, will be available in US dealers on October 23 for a suggested retail price of $99. Mac OS 9 features the debut of Sherlock 2, now the ultimate search engine for news and people on the Web plus the perfect personal shopper on the Internet, letting users find products, compare prices, pinpoint availability and even participate in auctions.
Mac OS 9 is the best Internet OS ever, said Steve Jobs, Apple's interim CEO. Sherlock 2 is a groundbreaking way to search and shop on the Internet.
Leading the more than 50 new features in Mac OS 9 are 9 Internet power tools:
Sherlock 2, the ultimate search engine for news and people on the Web, is also now the perfect personal shopper on the Internet. Sherlock 2 features channels that provide tailored lists of search targets, such as news, people, shopping, etc. Users can create their own custom channels as well. The Shopping channel lets users search for merchandise across multiple sources at once (for example: Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, eBay and eToys) comparing products, prices and availability from all sources in one convenient window.
Multiple users can now share one Macintosh while protecting their private files and maintaining all their Internet settings, system and application preferences.
Voiceprint Password allows users to log onto their Mac simply by speaking a pass phrase.
The Keychain manages each user's multiple IDs and passwords and stores them securely. When users log in, they automatically gain access to those password-protected sites and accounts without having to retype individual passwords.
Auto Updating allows users to automatically update their software over the Internet with the latest software and performance enhancements from Apple.
Encryption uses industrial-strength cryptography to easily password-protect files so they can be securely stored on a computer or sent across the Internet.
File Sharing over the Internet lets users turn their Macs into Internet file servers so they can share files or folders with other users as easily as dragging and dropping.
Internet AppleScript® enables customers to automate tasks from the most simple to the most complex, involving a single computer or many Macs working in parallel across the Internet.
Network Browser makes finding file servers, FTP servers, and web servers as easy as selecting a local printer, in small workgroups or the largest organizations.
Minimum requirements to run Mac OS 9 are an Apple PowerPC-based computer and 32MB of physical RAM with virtual memory turned on. Mac OS 9 is optimized to take advantage of the incredible performance of the new Power Mac G4 with Velocity Engine.
Apple said OS 9 should be available at retailers on October 23rd and will be priced at US$99. The company is also offering a US$20 rebate for owners of MacOS 8.5x and MacOS 8.6. It can be ordered immediately from The Apple Store. You can find more information on Os 9 at Apple's web site.
The Mac Observer Spin: This is a significant upgrade to the MacOS in terms of performance and in "goodies." We expect that this should be a very successful release for Apple.
[Lat Updated 1:48 PM] Live Coverage Of Apple's Special Event
[1:48 PM] It looks as if the presentation is actually completed this time. Look for more detailed coverage of Apple's announcements during the next few hours. Thanks to Observer Davian Kaplan for his help in connecting to the Webcast.
[1:46 PM] M. Jobs is recapping the product line and pointing out that the entire product line has been turned over in just 5 months. In another touch of class, he is saluting the employees of Apple and their families. This is a rare moment for M. Jobs and we commend him!
[1:44 PM] M. Jobs saluted Chiat/Day and their creative team. A very nice touch.
[1:43 PM] M. Jobs is showing three new iMac commercials. They play upon existing themes. Voice overs are by Jeff Goldblum. One commercial features Desktop Video concept. All three commercials are excellent.
[1:42 PM] The iMac DV Special Edition is available today! At least for ordering. M. Jobs says that they will be shipping tens of thousands of units this week.
[1:40 PM] The iMac DV Special Edition is Graphite colored, as we had predicted, and ships with 128 MB of RAM standard. It will ship for US$1499. More RAM and a special color will allow Apple to ship this model for the higher price. More brilliance from Apple.
[1:39 PM] M. Jobs has just announced the price of the iMac DV. The unit will ship at US$1299. A brilliant move when coupled with the US$999 model. With each model, he has pretended that he was finished. He has just announced the iMac DV Special Edition. Gotta love it. :-)
[1:37 PM] M. Jobs just recorded a live message to his parents with a digital video camera. He is making a movie with the new iVideo software. He added a sound track, and Boom!, he has a great video to send to his parents. This has tremendous consumer appeal.
[1:35 PM] M. Jobs has built his own video for us, including many video effect, on screen as a demonstration of how simple the new software is to use. Upon playing the video, he got a brief standing ovation.
[1:30 PM] Steve Jobs has introduced the new iMac, including a new low end 350 MHz model at only US$999. CompuServe is now offering their US$400 discount to all new Macs meaning that one can get a new iMac for US$599. Very cool. All new models are very transparent and 1: shorter. They also are fanless and extremely quiet. All new iMacs include built-in AirPort support as well as a new 8MB ATI Rage 128 video card. Include a new speaker system.
M. Jobs has also introduced a new model called the iMac DV. This model ships at 400 MHz, has a DVD drive, FireWire, Video Out (Cool!), video editing software, new refined colors, and more. M. Jobs humorously referred to his "favorite movies" which were, of course, Pixar flicks.
Phil Schiller demonstrated playing Quake II Test across an AirPort network.
The Mac Observer Spin:It was very interesting to see how proud M. Jobs is about the new models. The fanless aspect, the quietness, the apperance, the size, the features, and everything else obviously were much closer to the original vision of an Insanely Great product that he had when he first envisoined the iMac in the first place. Of course, he could have been simply playing the part of the Showman, but we think this reaction was legitimate.
[10:20 AM] Apple Trading Higher In Advance Of "Special Event"
Apple is trading higher this morning in advance of Apple's Special Event scheduled for 12:00 PM CDT. Steve Jobs is expected to announce Apple's next iMac revision at this Special Event, and Wall Street appears to be excited about it.
Apple is trading at 67 7/16, a rise of 2 7/8 or 4.45% as of 10:217 AM CDT (with a 15 minute delay). Volume is moderately heavy for morning trading with 2,540,900 shares trading hands.
We will be bringing you live coverage of M. Jobs's announcement once it begins, as well as its impact on Apple's stock performance later today.
The Mac Observer Spin:Buy on rumor, sell on fact. That's the rule of thumb these days on Wall Street. If that rule holds for today, then Apple could fall in afternoon trading or tomorrow. However, this announcement could be just what the doctor ordered for Wall Street to drive the stock back to the lofty highs set before Apple announced an earnings warning two weeks ago.
XLR8 has released the latest version of their G4 White Paper. This document contains various technical and performance information about the latest Motorolla/Apple/IBM microprocessor. According to XLR8:
Today, XLR8 released the latest version of their Upgrading to a PowerPC G4 Processor Technical White Paper. First published in July, this white paper consolidated public information on Motorola's PowerPC G4 (7400) CPU. The update provides new technical information that was not previously disclosed until the formal release of G4.
[10:00 AM] Trio Of Network Utilities From Maxum Updated
Maxum Development has upgraded their array of server tools. NetCloak, PageSentry, and Rumpus have all received maintenance upgrades. According to Maxum Development:
Maxum Development, best known for it's award winning line of Internet server tools, announced updates to it's NetCloak, PageSentry, and Rumpus products. The latest versions, NetCloak 3.0.2, PageSentry 2.5.2, and Rumpus 1.3.3 are all available now at the company's Web site. All three updates fall somewhere between simple maintenance releases and major feature upgrades.
NetCloak 3.0.2 offers greater flexibility in handling incoming e-mail messages and improvements for international use, in addition to a number of bug fixes and minor corrections. PageSentry 2.5.2 also includes several bug fixes as well as audible warnings when servers fail. The latest incarnation of Rumpus, version 1.3.3, allows FTP server files to be moved between directories and resolves a rare problem that occurs when launching the application on certain systems. All three packages also include a revised validation scheme, making Internet distribution and upgrades easier for users.
NetCloak, the very first Internet server application released for the Mac OS and a past "Eddy Award" winner, adds dynamic capabilities to any Mac-based Web site. NetCloak Pro now includes all the features of Maxum's popular NetForms product, which makes Mac Web servers interactive, as well as dynamic.
PageSentry provides reliable, high-level monitoring of Web, FTP, DNS, E-mail, and other critical Internet servers. Using client application Internet protocols, PageSentry tests Internet services and sends warnings or takes automatic action to ensure crucial servers are always functioning perfectly.
Rumpus is the premier FTP server for the Mac OS. This dedicated FTP server offers three different security models, scalable performance, and high-end speed, combined with the ease-of-use users expect from the Mac.
One user license's are available for each of the three products. NetCloak and Rumpus are available for US$195, while PageSentry is available for US$149. The most recent updates are free to registered users. You can find more information at the Maxum Development web site.
MindVision, the maker of MindExpander software, is seeking input on the MindExpander utility. MindExpander can recognize and decompress many popular file formats. According to MindVision:
MindExpander takes the mystery out of expanding files. And now MindVision makes it easy for you to tell us where MindExpander should go from here. This is your chance to direct software development. We want you to have the features you want most. Here at MindVision, we've made the commitment to welcome all suggestions, so don't rule anything out!
What would make it easier to use?
What would you like it to do?
What could it do differently?
Would you change the way it handles files?
Does it expand all the files that you use?
Are there any features that don't make sense to you?
Have you found any bugs?
MindVision has made it easy to report a bug or make suggestions by posting an on line form. You can find more information on MindExpander at the MindVision web site.
[8:30 AM] New Utility Checks For Apps With Y2K Problems
Blue Line Studios has released their Millennium utility, Y2K App Checker. For those not aware, the Year 2000 (Y2K) bug is a result of using two digits instead of four to denote the year. This may cause some applications to recognize January 1, 2000 as January 1, 1900. Any software reliant on date codes could obviously suffer from such an error. According to Blue Line Studios:
Although your Mac hardware and the Mac operating system are fully year 2000-compatible, it doesn't mean your software necessarily is! Y2K App Checker does a check on your installed software in accordance to an underlying database. If it finds any programs that have a known year 2000 incompatibility, it lists the program's name, its specific problem, and the recommended solution.
Y2K App Checker does a check on your installed software in accordance to an underlying database. If it finds any programs that have a known year 2000 incompatibility, it lists the program's name, its specific problem, and the recommended solution.
System requirements: Any Macintosh, iMac, or Mac clone, 4 MB of available RAM, and system 7 or above.
Blue Line Studios is providing Y2K App Checker free to the Macintosh community, but the product is not yet released. A specific date has not been announced, but The Mac Observer will be sure to bring it to you as soon as it is. You can find more information at the Blue Line Studios web site.
[8:30 AM] Creepin' Critter Educational Games Updated
Mac-Stacks Emporium has released new versions of the Creepin Critter educational line, Creepin' Critter Math 4.2, and Creepin' Critter Clocks 1.1. These educational titles simplify the learning process, while making computer use for children more enjoyable. According to the Mac-Stacks Emporium:
Creepin' Critter Math is a math practice game with problems such as pre-K counting, basic math facts, and double-digit problems involving carrying, borrowing and remainders. Creepin' Critter Clocks helps children learn and practice how to tell time and relate between clock faces, digital clocks, and word problems (e.g., "5 of 10" or "quarter after 12").
The Creepin' Critter format is a multiple-choice challenge in which children choose the answer to a math or time-telling question by swatting one of four bugs which are creeping up a wall towards "picture frames" which contain four possible answers. If the incorrect bug is swatted, the other three continue creeping up the wall giving the child further chances to swat the correct bug. If the correct bug is not swatted by the time one of the bugs crawls underneath one of the picture frames, then the correct answer flashes several times and another problem is presented. After finishing a game, the problems which were answered incorrectly or not at all may be repeated.
The distance the bugs creep before reaching the picture frames may be decreased, giving the child less time to swat the correct bug, but increasing the possible score. An arcade-style "Top Ten List" shows the child's highest scores, and so gives an incentive to improve.
For children who do not like swatting bugs, an alternative game called Bubble Poppin' Math or Bubble Poppin' Clocks is included. As the name implies, this alternative requires popping the correct bubble among four bubbles which are rising from a bubble bath towards a steam enshrouded ceiling. Floating in the steam are four possible answers to a problem.
NEW FOR CREEPIN' CRITTERS VERSION 4.2: "Under the hood" enhancements to make game play easier and more fun. Eliminated the occasional double swatting that occured in the "bug" game. Clicking on a bug will now swat it even if the student moves the mouse away from the bugbefore the swat sound is heard (also applies to popping the bubbles).
Each of the Creepin' Critters programs is available for US$10, with a site license available for US$50. You can find more information on both of these products at the Mac-Stacks Emporium web site.