Apple will give itself a headstart against its clonemakers when it releases new Powermac designs this autumn, with rules to delay their access to new technology.
"What happened to those promises that the Mac market would be open to competition?" asked one clonemaker. Already angered by Apple's new certification process, which prevents third parties selling systems based on new PowerPC versions without an Apple licence, the source says rules are becoming even more restrictive.
Apple will release a new system, codenamed Kansas, in September or October, followed by a second, codenamed Gossamer, in time for the Macworld Expo in January. Both will run on new iterations of the PowerPC processor, called G3 and Mach 5.
But the troubled hardware vendor will not allow clonemakers to sell any systems based on these processors unless they are first certified by Apple. This will delay their release and give Apple a headstart that analysts and dealers say it badly needs to establish its new technology and start to rebuild its revenue streams,free from the fierce attacks from rivals such as Umax and Power Computing that have contributed to its recent financial problems.
Apple has also decided not to license motherboards for the new products, at least until its own products are well established.
Apple first introduced the certification policy for the PowerPC 603e CPU, known as Goldeneye. Although it has just started shipping its own Powermacs based on these processors, and will crank up the clock speed to 300MHz next month, it has not certified a single third party product.
The latest systems roadmap has intensified pressure from third party Mac makers to have an independent certification process set up but Apple has not responded to these demands, analysts say.
Kansas and Gossamer will replace the Powermac 9600. Kansas runs at 266MHz and has CPU-cache speed doubled to 100MHz, according to analysts who have received technical previews. Gossamer will run on the forthcoming Mach 5 version of PowerPC, at 350MHz with a 66MHz system bus.
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