MacWorld Expo Singapore — Day 1 Report
Jul 24, 1998
Not quite NY, but close...
First off, I thought that unlike the New York event two weeks back, this wasn't going to be another iMacWorld, given the theme of the conference keynote. I'm glad to report I was mistaken.
The morning's conference session kicked off with an opening preamble by David Moody, Apple's director of worldwide design product marketing. He recapitulated Apple's fine performance over the previous three quarters, leading up to the resounding US$101 million profit in the immediate last quarter. I got in late, and found my seat just as the iMac Executive movie came on. After that, for the most part, it was like a rerun of Steve Jobs' NY keynote, from the rationalising of the Macintosh line into the 4 Great Products, to the Simplicity Shootout video. The iMac was given a fairly heavy dose of centerstage publicity all this while, needless to say.
Following that was the keynote address by Jeff Martin, director of worldwide design and publishing, who spoke about the Four Pillars of Publishing, which I respectfully won't care to elaborate here, although they most certainly are significant in light of the conference theme. They comprise:
Some other significant issues raised included:
- Education recognised by Apple as a key market in Asia. As much as the iMac is being promoted as a consumer product, it is equally relevant to the educational market.
- The Internet's significance in getting the region out of its current economic turmoil, by enabling the re-emergence of small or home-based businesses. The iMac - powerful yet affordable - could play a potentially significant role in this recovery process.
Curiously enough, Allegro (Mac OS 8.5) wasn't demoed due to "non-disclosure issues".
Okay, that done, let's move on to the good part...
Up until the expo, I'd never seen nor touched one, so excuse me if you've heard this all before...
Firstly, it's gorgeous, to say the least, and more compact than I imagined. The translucent turquoise-and-white shell really gives it a touch of chic. And because it's got an all-round matte finish (except for the glossy front panel) it looks soft as a gumdrop. The translucency allows you just a hint of the iMac's internal hardware, but it's enough to require that the internals had to be aesthetically designed. Certainly gives new meaning to the term "hardware architecture", I thought. The compactness extends to the keyboard and the mouse as well, and the whole ensemble should easily fit nicely onto most desktops.
There were at most a dozen of them (okay, six) around the Apple booth, and only around the Apple booth. Probably shipped in specially for the expo, because the translucent casings (yes, just the casings) were spotted at Apple Asia's manufacturing plant only about a week ago. Plus the power cord used during the stage demo was Singapore-spec and painfully opaque.
Same as the latest specs announced by Apple, namely:
- 233MHz PowerPC G3 processor
- 512K of backside L2 cache
- 66MHz system bus
- 15" (13.8" viewable) high-quality display with 1024x768 resolution max
- 32MB SDRAM (expandable to 128MB)
- 2MB SGRAM (expandable to 6MB)
- 4GB IDE hard disk drive
- ATI 3D Rage II Graphics Controller
- 24x CD-ROM drive
- 10/100BaseT Ethernet
- Built-in 56K modem (supports both K56flex and V.90 standards)
- 4Mbps infrared technology (IrDA) port
- Built-in stereo speakers with SRS sound
- Two built-in 12Mbps Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports, with the keyboard serving also as a dual-port USB hub, usable for additional USB peripherals
- Apple USB Keyboard and Apple USB Mouse
Incredibly high refresh rate of 117Hz at 640 by 480 resolution, and at the maximum resolution of 1024 by 768, it's still a decent 75Hz, as good as that of my 1710AV. That's the specs. In reality, it's not a noticeable feature (although it's not half bad), but I think it'll be a significant point after long hours in front of your screen.
I've heard some past misgivings about the limited USB ports on the iMac, so I figure I'd share my thoughts. As most of us know already, there are two USB ports on the side of the iMac. Now, although the keyboard takes up one of these ports, it has two of its own, one to either side (kind of like the old Apple Keyboard II ADB ports). Also, the keyboard cord which connects to the iMac is hardwired to the keyboard itself. With the mouse plugged into the keyboard, there is one port left free on the keyboard, plus the one spare on the iMac, making two free USB ports. That's plenty, as far as I'm concerned. And besides, if you're really out of ports, all USB devices are hot-swappable/pluggable.
Another underrated feature about USB is that low-powered peripherals (which probably include external floppy drives) are able to draw their power either through the iMac or the keyboard. That means less power cables to mess with.
Apple USB Keyboard and Apple USB Mouse
I remember reading an article or a newsgroup posting about the keyboard being noisy. Thankfully, that's not true. The mouse is incredibly small, measuring only about 3" in diameter at most, and fits very nicely in your hand. Looks and feels great!
Built-in SRS stereo speakers
It didn't occur to me to find out for myself just how good the sound quality really was. (I did detect a triumphant Bwonngg! when the kid in the Simplicity Shootout video started up his iMac, but then I remembered the illuminated mouse...) In fact, I'm thinking if they couldn't demo the SRS surround sound at the expo just to prove how great it really is.
Not as extensive as what you'd be getting in the US, but anyway, here's the list of goodies:
- Mac OS 8.1
- AppleWorks 5.0
- Pangea Software's Nanosaur
- MDK from Interplay
- Williams-Sonoma Guide to Good Cooking from Broderbund
- Microsoft's Internet Explorer & Outlook Express 4.01
- Netscape Navigator (ver 4.05, I presume)
- FaxSTF from STF Technologies
I also heard from a source that the bundled software could possibly include an ISP package as well (Pacific Internet was mentioned).
In contrast to its US counterpart, Apple Asia is keeping a tight lid on the launch date in Singapore. However, I got word elsewhere on the floor that Sept 5 was a possibility. Similarly, no clues about the price, so it'll have to remain for now at around S$2,200 (the current equivalent of US$1,299). Just for a laugh, Apple may retail it here for $2,199 :-) And to those in the sg.comp.mac newsgroup, I wouldn't think about $1,500 for another 6 months at least.
Already on display at the expo was Imation's USB SuperDisk (no firm price yet), and Iomega's USB Zip drive (S$240, I thought I heard). Imation promised to bring in their SuperDisk in time for the Singapore launch of the iMac, while Iomega's Zip drive is due late December or early January '99. Also mentioned were the USB-to-parallel adapters for Hewlett-Packard's 670/690 printers.
Ready for Singapore-ONE!
Thanks to its built-in fast 100BaseT Ethernet capability, the iMac is Singapore-ONE ready. A check with the people at the Singapore Cable Vision (SCV) booth confirmed this. They said getting the iMac onboard Singapore-ONE was a cinch. "The iMac was designed for this..." one of them said. I had it coming.
Moving right along, assuming your home is cable-ready, just subscribe to SCV, and for a flat monthly fee of S$35, you get a cable modem that plugs into the incoming cable TV point with one end, and to your iMac's Ethernet port with the other. Next, set your TCP/IP control panel to the following settings: Connect via: Ethernet; and Configure: Using DHCP Server. That's it. Your iMac's ready to go!
The other great thing is there are no time-based charges, and no limits to traffic imposed unless a user disrupts the service level of other users. Normally, that shouldn't happen.
So what does this all mean? It simply means you can stay online round-the-clock at no extra charge and at speeds significantly faster than what's possible over a phone line. Great deal, huh?
So say it with me: The iMac is Singapore ONE-ready!
Can't confirm the truth behind this, but it seems the iMacs coming out of the Singapore assembly line will be shipped out not only to the Asian marketplace but possibly even to Europe. Apparently, the facility in Cork, Ireland is already inundated with orders to tackle the current short supply of G3 Powerbooks to have to deal with the production of iMacs. Rumors, what would we do without them...
| DAY 2 REPORT |
Upgraded Twice Over — And Grateful [Oct 10, 2001]
Welcome To The Future [Mar 21, 2001]
iM2 — Incredible Milestones of The iMac NewsPage [Jun 1, 2000]
What's to like about Netscape 6? Quite a bit [Apr 17, 2000]
Dealing with IE5's font and resolution settings [Mar 28, 2000]
Free Internet Arrives in Singapore [Dec 12, 1999]
Mac sales in Japan (Dec 1999) [Dec 9, 1999]
Mac sales in Japan (Nov 8-14) - iMac DV SE, iBook still #1 [Nov 23, 1999]
Adding Movies To QuickTime Favorites [Nov 23, 1999]
Black Magix: Try saying hocus-bogus [Nov 19, 1999]
Mac sales in Japan (Oct 25-31) [Nov 11, 1999]
QuickTime Live! Conference Keynote Highlights [Nov 10, 1999]
Apple tops October PC sales in Japan [Nov 7, 1999]
About that mysterious Magix freeze [Nov 7, 1999]
Magix Miscellany [Nov 7, 1999]
Make Kihei while the Sun shines [Nov 3, 1999]
Apples in Eden — The Singapore iBook Launch [Nov 1, 1999]
One Country, Two Systems — The Apple Store (Hongkong) Opens [Oct 28, 1999]
Apple Store Singapore Opens — Right On Time [Oct 20, 1999]
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Magix For The Mac — The Unofficial FAQ [Oct 25, 1999]
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Magix Broadband for Macintosh — for just $48! [Oct 20, 1999]
Asia Apple Store Update [Oct 18, 1999]
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Sorenson Broadcaster™ Press Release [Sep 15, 1999]
Magix for iMac Update [Sep 10, 1999]
Magix for iMac Update [Aug 30, 1999]
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AirPort Delays: More Revelations [Aug 12, 1999]
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UniTrap: Contour Enhancement for the iMac Mouse [Jun 1, 1999]
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QuickTime 4: The Beta Just Got Better [May 5, 1999]
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Tales From The Dark Side [Mar 31, 1999]
Has The Age of Disposable Computers Arrived? [Mar 30, 1999]
A Solution For The iMac's Mouse: Simple As A Dimple [Mar 24, 1999]
Steve Jobs Interview on Channel NewsAsia [Mar 14, 1999]
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Tokyo Tidbits: Carbon iMacs and Cool Colored Speakers [Feb 27, 1999]
The iMac Book [Feb 26, 1999]
iCab: Readers Views [Feb 25, 1999]
Review: iCab Preview 1.1 (US) [Feb 24, 1999]
iCab: Why Bloat When You Can Float? [Feb 22, 1999]
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Disney Blast and the iMac's Circular Mouse [Feb 18, 1999]
HAL Freezes Over [Feb 1, 1999]
Another Look at Internet Explorer 4.5 [Jan 19, 1999]
Old Wine In New Bottles? [Jan 16, 1999]
The Unofficial iMac Web Ads [Jan 15, 1999]
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Theft of an iMac: A Victim's Story [Jan 8, 1999]
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Product Review: iMacFloppy.com [Oct 24, 1998]
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Steve Jobs Seybold Keynote '98 [Sep 1, 1998]
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iMac to be released in Singapore in October [Aug 22, 1998]
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Famous Myths Revisited [Aug 3, 1998]
The Countdown Begins! [Aug 1, 1998]
If not now, when? [July 26, 1998]
Four Great Programs? [July 26, 1998]
MacWorld Expo Singapore - Day 2 Report [Jul 25, 1998]
MacWorld Expo Singapore - Day 1 Report [Jul 24, 1998]
Enter The iMacGotcha [Jul 16, 1998]
iMac's for the rest of us, not just US [Jul 1, 1998]
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