At Monday's Worldwide Developer Conference in Silicon Valley, Apple interim chief executive Steve Jobs rolled out two new notebooks, along with updates to the Macintosh operating system and a new distribution deal for the iMac.
Jobs told the audience of about 2,500 Apple partners and developers that the Macintosh has, "again become the centre of innovation in personal computing and our developers deserve a great deal of the credit for this."
He pointed out that there are now more than 3,100 new or updated Mac software titles that have been announced during the past 12 months.
Apple also unveiled two new Powerbooks, powered by copper based 333MHz and 400MHz Power PC G3 processors. According to Jobs, the new notebooks provide "true desktop performance" and run up to twice as fast as the processors in Pentium II based notebooks.
Weighing 5.9 pounds, the new Powerbook line is nearly two pounds lighter and almost 20 per cent thinner than their predecessors. The notebooks are powered by up to two lithium ion batteries and run up to five hours per battery. The Powerbook line comes standard with 14.1inch LCD screens and include industry standard USB, 10/100Base-T Ethernet and 56Kbps v90 modem ports.
Apple also announced the immediate availability of Mac OS 8.6, a significant upgrade to the Macintosh operating system which Jobs said is free to owners of Mac OS 8.5. Improved features include an easier to use and more powerful Sherlock search feature, system stability improvements including on battery life and better USB and Firewire integration.
"Mac OS 8.5 has been a hit with Mac customers all over the world and Sherlock has changed the way people access information on the Internet," said Phil Schiller, Apple's vice president of worldwide product marketing.
Schiller demonstrated the new features which he said would, "benefit millions of Macintosh customers, whether they have an iMac, Powerbook or Power Macintosh."
Jobs also made the announcement that OpenGL for Macintosh, a new version of SGI's application programming interface (API) and software library for 3D graphics is shipping.
OpenGL is a mature 3D software library that offers a set of rendering, texture mapping, special effects and other visualisation functions and also provides for close coupling with graphics acceleration hardware.
Jobs also pointed out that Apple has received much publicity and more than 10 million hits on its Internet site for hosting trailers to the upcoming film, Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.
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