For the May general meeting, Washington Apple Pi hosted the Apple User Group Road Show. There was lots of excitement and great attendance. During the setup, someone came and asked me to bring extension cords to the lobby. When I took them back, the line to get into the meeting was out the front door! I wish we could have such attendance at every meeting! Nobody got a firm count due to the moving around, but we had over 450 door prize slips turned in. The auditorium holds 700 and it was pretty nearly full! I even got to finally meet our esteemed Journal Editor, Kathryn Murray in person.
Apple had the Flat Panel Studio Display, two G3 PowerBooks and an iMac in the lobby. Unfortunately, they took them back. We had three special guests from Apple and a bunch of media folk including I.J. Hudson from Channel 4! We were featured on Sunday on his Digital Edge segment on the Sunday morning news show. Also visiting from Apple Headquarters were Brighid Brady-deLambert, Apple's User Group Liaison person and iMac product manager Mike Shebanek. J.D. Mankovsky from the Reston Office was there to give us the scoop on Software.
The meeting started with the static displays in the lobby and Lawrence Charters and Tom Witte doing the Q & A session as usual. J.D. also pitched in on a few answers. Following the Q & A, J.D. launched directly into the new Apple OS strategy.
The new strategy focuses on fully supporting and enhancing the current MacOS8 while transitioning to a new Mac OS called MacOSX (ten, for those of you who are Roman numerically challenged.)
MacOSX departs from the old Rhapsody strategy, based on re-writing all applications to run in an environment based on the technology acquired from Next. Instead, Apple took a microscope to MacOS8 and determined that there are about 8000 Application Program Interfaces (APIs) in the MacOS. What they found when they examined these APIs, said Jobs at this month's Worldwide Developer's Conference was "a lot of barnacles and cruft." Apple engineers determined that by rewriting about 2000 of those APIs, they could re-craft MacOS8 into a modern operating system with all of the features of Rhapsody, without requiring that applications be totally re-written. The remaining 6000 APIs, which account for about 90% of modern applications, have been given the designation Carbon, and "all lifeforms will be based on it."
A draft Carbon specification is available and a set of application tools, called Carbon Dating, will examine applications and flag those portions, which must be modified to be MacOSX compatible. Engineers from Adobe and Macromedia, who have worked with the specification, say that the process is relatively easy. Adobe engineers were able to convert the latest incarnation of PhotoShop to the draft specification in about a week.
MacOSX will contain all of those elements that everyone says a modern operating system requires:
The timeline for all of this is pretty aggressive. Here is the current plan in a nutshell:
Mac OS 8.5 and Allegro will be delivered sometime late this summer. We were reminded that summer ends on September 21. Sometime in the first quarter of 1999, MacOS 8.6 and the Beta of MacOS X will ship. The release of MacOS X should be sometime in the third quarter of 1999.
That's the good news, now for the bad. MacOSX is "G3 Targeted". What that means wasn't exactly stated. What was stated is that MacOSX will run on all currently shipping machines, which, by the way are all G3 based. The good news is that Carbon applications will be able to run on MacOS8 as well, they just won't be able to access many of the new technologies in MacOSX.
J.D. also gave us a QuickTime update. QuickTime has evolved to the point that it now is to Multimedia what Postscript is to printing. It is a cross-platform tool for creating multimedia content. No matter what program or media you use, QuickTime can probably handle it. In fact, the International Standards Organization has adopted the QuickTime 3.0 file format as the basis for its latest multimedia content standard.
At this point, Mike Shebanek, iMac product manager from Apple Computer took over to tell us about the iMac. This is the most exciting Macintosh since the original. In fact, at the introduction, the screen displayed the famous "hello" in script with "again". Not only is it sexy looking, it is faster than most currently shipping Wintel machines according to the Bytemark benchmark.
The iMac returns Apple to manufacturing computers targeted at the consumer market. It has a really great look, built-in handle and no, it doesn't light up, that effect was done with lights inside the pedestal under the machine at its introduction. Here's what you get for $1,299. A 233mHz G3 processor with 512K of backside cache, 32MB of RAM, 4GB IDE hard drive, 24X CD ROM, 15" monitor, 2MB of Video RAM with 3D acceleration, 33.6KB modem, 10/100 BaseT Ethernet and two USB serial ports on the case with two more on the keyboard and a 4MB/S IrDA infrared port. Interestingly enough, there is no floppy drive. Several third parties have announced USB SuperDrives that use high capacity floppies as well as traditional floppy disks.
That's the meat of the meeting. For and illustrated tour of the meeting, done by WAP Webmaster Lawrence Charters, visit the Pi Web Site at http://www.wap.org/tours/imac/.
There was tons of stuff to give away. Here's a list compiled by Kristen Thomason from the forms I sent to Beth after the meeting. Sorry if there are some mistakes, but with all of the goodies, there was just a little confusion.
"Think Different" Watches: Mary Ellen Jehn, Daniel Ottalini, Jean Turrentine
Think Different Posters, Mac Bible, Internet for Dummies, or Mac for Dummies: Ray Cook, Melanie Price, Mike Hara, Clark Snead, Chris Nidel, Scott Hartwick, Chris Kolb, Jerold Lehmau, Rich and Dave Perkins, Robert Pattay, James Owen, Kimberly Schauff, Scott Newsham, Bob Russell, Russell H Scovillez, Russ Scoville III
Apple T-shirts: Robert Klothe, David Nicolson, Ed Kelty, Bill Harvey, Bennett A Brown, Jack McCalman, John Muller, Daniel Bottner, Larry Ichter, Esta Gladstone, Warren Anderson, Alexander Seidel, Daniel Klothe, Bonnie Cox, Raja Almuk Ahhal, Toru Kawate, Irwin Chuufer Oug, Jon C Thomason, Scott W Boren, Vicky Stoubly, Shawn Van Ittersum, Frank M Zappacosta, R Clifton Bailey, Leslee Marun, Anthony Smith, L Eric Crane, Dave Jones, Jennifer Reed, Keith Lichtenauer, May Ideta, Consuela H Allen, Tom Culbert, Jim Kelly, David Ogburn, Tom Berens, Kathryn Reddie, Bob Canfield, George Copley, Rich Mecall, Nili Kaufman, Dave Weikert, Jeffery P Sprowls, R H Mereness, Andrew Werthmann, Lykara Charters, Arthur R Dahms, Eric K Seidel Jr, Blake Lange, Robert Vandegrift, Harriett Vandegrift, Ira Rosenblatt, Gerald W Lanham, Jesse Kolb, Albert Axelrod, Dave Hull, Nancy Byrd, Pearletta Harris, Tim Nugent, Don Buell, C Campbell David, Mark Kawate, Alex Maish, Dave Felton, Steven Lipson, James Dennis, Saied Tadayon, Neil Laubenthal, Linda Lundin-Seidel, Robert L Hull, Gregory Knott, John Moffit, Jim Taylor, Jan Bailey, David B Maglott, Joe Foreman, Yaowe Ong, Alvin Auerbach, Mary Ann Walsh, Mike Krzykowski, Wayne Norton, Margaret M Culbert, George W Imirie, Patrick L Garvey, Brian Mason, Dana Nuon, Maria Zenaida L Guanio, Marilyn Barrueta, Carl Wigginton, Bill Wydro, Walter Forlini, James Kolb, Kathleen G Charters, Jon Spear, Kevin T Hanretta, H E Adams, Jörg Von Veltar, Donald L Bingham, Marnie Sturm, Donald Fortnum, Nancy Foxon Adams, Charlie Gailis, Bob Mulligan, Dave Ottalini, Seth A Mize Jr, John Malechek, Barbara Leaf, Dozzi Stone, Sidney Koss, Ben Iarocci, Bob Knetl, Karen Kyte, Mary Keene, Elizabeth Trever.