1997: Online Apple Store, Apple Event, Phil Schiller

This year (1997) the history of Apple is special and still the most mysterious. It would seem that about him so much is written – very different and contradictory…

It is not surprising. In 1997, predictable and comfortable for the computer history, because of the irresponsible actions of one person (in fact), whirled by eddies that led to the sudden extinction of thousands of companies, changing the landscape of the industry.

It would seem that nothing has happened. One of the companies pushed their own ill-advised actions on the periphery of the computer industry, where she slowly and ignominiously withered, without any (thought) impact on the world suddenly decided not to die.

The fate of this company no radical changes have occurred. She continued to slide for the final point in its existence, and it seems not to stop. But something has changed. As if someone experienced an unknown superweapon, of course without telling about it in the papers and on a moment’s notice, and began a “tectonic shift”.

I apologize for the chronological inconsistency, but not back to the beginning Apple began a metamorphosis can not. I can’t find the answer to two questions: “what was the weapon of choice?” and “when, in fact, all of this happened?”

I don’t know the answer, and simply talk about several mysterious events of the year, suddenly I noticed something important?

This is the seventh part of a series about the transformation of Apple in the NeXT Apple. Previous parts:

  1. NeXT Apple.
  2. Apple chooses the path.
  3. The Carboniferous period (Carboniferous) in the history of Apple.
  4. Honeymoon carbonation
  5. Monster named Mac OS X
  6. Mac OS X: Core Foundation

13th birthday Mac-native system

There were no signs… on the Morning of 8 November (but the new style), 1917, in Petrograd, trams, people returned after a night shift, the stores were opened and it smelled of fresh bread and the check was already pulled out, the explosion was inevitable, it was only a few moments.

24 January 1997, on their 13th birthday, Mac ovsky system received several gifts. First, she was now the official name, Mac OS. Prior to this, all the official documents related to her (not shyly, not arrogant) called just System. Secondly, in this day there was Mac OS 7.6 (Harmony), which, for the first time in many years, was not supported “classic” Mac I. To the list rejected, not only were the Mac Plus and Mac SE, but Mac LC, Mac II, Mac IIx and Mac IIcx. Thirdly, that, too, was new and unusual for Apple, a promise of a “once every six months to update the classic system” was meticulously executed.

About Ellen Hancock we have said many times, unfolding in 1996-97, the drama of her role is not very positive, but we must give her her due: she did a lot of useful and necessary for companies, for example, brought back to life the development of “classical” system, has developed a strategy for its development and now, step by step, embodied conceived.

In Mac OS 7.6, much has changed for the better: on Macs PowerPC c it worked significantly faster than 7.5 (in many critical areas of the system, in parallel with the code for 680х0 now was for PowerPC code), and support for 24-bit mode, much has been simplified. Engineers no longer have to remember about ancient times, now they had the right to “sudden movement”.

Not without bugs “of the first magnitude”. The new operating system installer was named among its most important innovations. He was really good, but…

In the installer there were two modes of installation “Easy Install” and “Custom Install”. If you choose the first one, the installer decide what to install – not the worst choice, between us, the authors of the installer, in the months of its development, established a system of thousands of times more times than you set for your entire life.

And those who chose Custom Install, and within ten to fifteen minutes carefully picking up the composition and characteristics of the installation by clicking the Next button, I got the same Easy Install as their careless carefree colleagues.

This mega-bug was a side effect of some urgent changes at the last minute, and as always in such cases, became a scandal. The correction of this bug required a second or two, but the distributions have already gone to the buyers…

Two days later, on 26 January 1997, a new “permanent adviser to the head of the company”, Steve jobs, crossed the deserted checkpoint (deceptively defenseless).

The pin was pulled out. The world still looked the same as a second ago, but fate has turned the page.

G3, Phil Schiller, “Ready, Set, Go!”

Contemporaries of the Apple Event (it was officially called that way) in November 1997, something that is not thought: in their view, news was scarce, and they had some not cool. I thought so, too. But after reviewing the video of this event for almost 21 years later, I changed my point of view…

PPC 740/750, the fourth generation of the PowerPC processor, was a real “piano in the bushes” for Steve and for Apple. And they pushed this gift all that was possible, and even more. In the Macs were used only the PPC 750, the Apple they were called G3. Like, exactly (the letter “G”), generation of processors was called in the secret plans of the consortium, the Apple-IBM-Motorola: G0, G1 (PPC 601 and 602), G2 (PPC 603 and 604), and – G3.

They had no relation to the creation of this processor. Motorola, too, was in shock: actually, 740/750 was created as a “light” processor (like the 601 and 603), which is planned to complement the “heavy” version (like 602 and 604), but it turned out that miracles with the sign plus too happen – 740/750 was phenomenally good. Its performance surpassed the planned “big brother”, and the power consumption is low, in strict accordance with the technical specifications…

The project to develop a “big brother G3” was closed, the forces are transferred to the next generation, and Apple received a powerful an unfair trump card. G3 is really “fried” Pentium II, G3/266МГц won for performance in a Pentium II/300MHz.

PowerMacintosh G3 and PowerBook G3 were introduced Phil Schiller. He joined the company in March 1997, and… He didn’t talk about Megahertz and benchmarks. Mentioned. He just compared the “weak” (according to the public opinion) Mac c and “cool” PC cool Pentium II with the highest clock frequency available on the market, and was puzzled by their identical assignments in Photoshop (desktop computers) and Macromedia (laptops), and… Won. Broke! The audience clapped!

These races Phil Schiller (sometimes assisted by Steve jobs) probably thousands of times – but the video presents it makes it the very first time.

Online Apple Store

In one of the articles about Metrowerks, one of the most promising companies of the late 90s who fell victim arranged by Steve jobs tectonic shift, described the complexity of software products “in off-line mode”. Box, production, logistics…

Therefore overestimate the opening of Apple’s own online store (for sale of hardware and software) difficult.

Another important step to profitability and prosperity, which is evident and clear – about it you could just mention in passing, and move on.

But in the history of the Apple Online Store, in addition to its explicit relevance and usefulness, there’s something else. At the time, promoting WebObjects, NeXT Software have developed for a number of companies willing to pay dearly for high-quality online store turnkey, this store is for Dell.

This fact, with enormous pleasure, mentioned by Steve in all convenient cases. But when Steve returned to Apple, made a “special relationship” with Microsoft, Michael Dell, head of Dell, has publicly stopped using the store from the NeXT (instead of Dell Computer, in conjunction with Microsoft, has created her) – apparently, Steve had to return the Dell Store for the money.

Developers of the former Dell Store, they are also the developers of WebObjects, and Apple employees were given the task to adapt the project to the needs of their new homeland. Saving at least six months and a lot of money, they created the Online Apple Store.

Thank You, Dell!

To be continued in the next part I will talk about how Microsoft bought Apple…

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