Apple has revealed its latest Intel-based hardware.
CEO Steve Jobs used his keynote speech at the company's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) to show off the new products, incorporating Intel's brand-new Core 2 Duo chips.
Not only that, Apple also took the opportunity to show off the latest features for its new operating system, the OS X 10.5, code-named Leopard.
"Now I can begin planning our systems purchases," said Robyn Berland, lab manager for the Student Tech Services group at New York University, referring to the new computers. She called the new Mac Pro workstation and Xserve servers, "very exciting."
Brian Weitzner, a chemical engineering student at Cornell University said that the US$2,499 base price was most surprising for a "well-equipped" standard configuration machine. "I could save up and get one in a few months," he said, "if I didn't eat."
Bob O'Donnell, an analyst with IDC, said he was impressed that Apple had now completed the transition of its laptop, desktop and server product lines to Intel chips. But he wondered whether Apple would follow other computer makers and support Intel's historical and aggressive processor upgrade cycle, which runs about every six months.
"Can Apple keep pace with Intel the way other PC vendors do?" he said.
"Normally, Apple has a longer release cycle," said O'Donnell. The question, he said, was whether Apple intended to keep up with other Intel hardware manufacturers or will it need to skip chips on the Intel roadmap.
Henry Norr, an independent hardware reviewer, said it was paramount for Apple to revamp the elaborate cooling system in the prior line of PowerPC-based professional workstations, which had nine fans as well as water-cooling technology to keep the systems from burning up.
The new Mac Pro systems have four fans and no water cooling technology, primarily due to the much lower watt consumption of the Intel chips.
Looking at Leopard, O'Donnell said that end users would get the biggest benefit from Time Machine, a new feature in Leopard that automatically backs up every file and application to a designated external disk drive.
End users can text search or graphically navigate their way to locate lost or previously deleted files that Time Machine has saved so they can restore those files.
However, Berland pointed to the new advanced features in Apple's iChat instant messaging application. "The video conferencing capabilities make it ideal for distant-learning environments," she said.
Jobs couldn't resist a few digs at Microsoft, claiming that the company's developers spent more time chasing innovation at Apple and Google than creating some of their own.
He said he was so concerned about Microsoft copying new features in Leopard that he was not presenting many of the more "amazing" new things in Leopard for public view.
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