PowerPC G4 goes to school

Computers for education – the most controversial segment of the personal computer industry. This concern for future generations, and a great opportunity to get rid of excess legacy components. Cheaper. But Apple was abnormal in this segment. The invasion of Apple Computer in the educational segment of the computer market started in the days of the Apple II. I do not know now, but at the end of zero in outlying areas of the U.S. and Canada the Apple II is still actively used.

Mac was no less popular in education, especially special educational model, cheaper than “normal Mac” and something less – but even in the most difficult times, she never stooped to outright trash…

The most important challenge in this segment was the educational Commission of the counties, with their hard (cruel) control over expenses. PowerPC fourth generation has sold millions of copies, but computers based on them still cost an unacceptable price for the public auditors. In school they did not get.

The money from the schools was that technical staff have convinced everyone that a Mac with G4 they need, and if not the prices beyond the acceptable…

It would be a dream come true (if you look at the situation from Apple’s perspective).

In 2001/2002, along with the iMac G4, Apple has developed another family c G4 Macs, specifically for the education market. In the terms of reference had two main requirements. The cost model was to ensure its profit margins even when selling at very low prices, it’s time. From a technical point of view, despite the price, the model was to attract the attention and excite interest. That’s two.

Code name of the project was P69 (after the GAZ-69? Joke, if someone does not understand), and what was the result, called the eMac. Where “e” stands for “education”. Education.

Both objectives were achieved and 29 April 2002, Apple announced to all stakeholders on eMac. Releasing and circulating a press release. The school budget committees for the 2001/2002 academic year closed on 30 June 2002, and they was just thinking what to spend the remains (who they were). Two months is sufficient time for decision-making, preparation and approval of documents…

As is often the case with Apple, they did not consider some factors, and something was wrong…

Native eMac (700 MHz)

Rather, in the development of the computer designers Studio of Jonathan Ive, if he participated, it is minimal. It looks bearable, but not great. Those for whom the main thing – the design, the eMac is not impressive. In fact, they were not included in the target audience.

The case is “colorless” (white and opaque), on the grounds iMac G3, adapted to the more bulky cathode-ray tube with a diagonal of 17 inches. These 17 inch were in the model designation, but the screen of this tube was a 16 inch (40.6 cm).

The CRT is a flat screen… It was great, but looked awful. If the Quinces are allowed to lend a hand, he would have found a way to fit this is the case, but a hundred to one that this decision would complicate production and raise the price.

Excel did not. Not the case, it would be harmful.

Heart was the first eMac PowerPC 7441, second level cache “on the chip” the size of 256K. The clock frequency of the front system bus (FSB) of 100 MHz. For connecting hard disk drives UltraATA/66, In the basic configuration consisted of a disk of 40 Gigabytes with a speed of 7 200 rpm.

In a press release it was reported that eMac used RAM PC100 SDRAM. It was not true. This information could bring serious problems, if the computer intended for the average user…

Really – PC133 SDRAM. EMac is incompatible with PC100, but the problem with this, no one but the clerk responsible for drafting the press release was not. The technical staff of educational institutions managed to warn.

The ID of the model PowerBook4,4.

The basic kit – 128 MB, maximum 1 GB.

Display – 17-inch cathode ray tube with a flat-screen with a diagonal of 16 inches (40.6 cm), with a resolution of 1024×768 (16:10!). The external monitor support resolution 1280×960 mode extending the desktop was, according to tradition, locked.

Graphics card – NVIDIA GeForce2 MX with 32 Megabytes of video memory.

In eMac wasn’t the modem. Other communication ports available: 3 ports USB 1.1 2 ports FW400, Ethernet 10/100Base-t Computer is AirPort Ready.

The optical disc drive – 32x CD-ROM.

In Geekbench 2 the computer scored 360 points, but it cost $ 999.

A pleasant surprise

Every time there’s a new type of the Mac, its creators hope to succeed. So much time and effort invested in it, so many days and nights it turned into something trivial…

Usually, this “non-trivial” is sold and profitable, but there are also some surprises. About the eMac quickly learned not only the members of the school committees, but their friends, parents, friends of parents…

People have a bad habit to communicate, and rarely keep quiet about what they liked. In the end, to the email address Apple came thousands (tens of thousands) of emails asking to release the eMac available for sale.

At the time of writing concerned user saved Apple. Negotiations about its acquisition of Sun Microsystems has entered the final phase, they already did not hide – it would be the end of Apple, no options… But the letters are users forced Gil Amelio to think, and the negotiations were stopped.

Letters saved Apple as the geese saved Rome. Read them. Special people whose daily work consists of reading… mostly absolute nonsense. And not to miss in the murky stream of something important and serious.

Net sales of the eMac to educational institutions exceeded expectations, production was well-established, substantial costs could continue, and even increase, but by early June, the school Commission to cut their budgets, and sales fell almost to zero…

Stop adjusted production was undesirable, and then this comes up…

Apple Computer comes to meet…

June 4, 2002 eMac came in a wide sale, at a price of 1099 dollars. Configuration has changed: instead of a 32 × CD-ROM eMac for ordinary customers have installed a CD/RW, 24x read speed CD, but with the ability to record on CD-R and CD-RW. In addition, the configuration for the “privateers” returned the modem (56k V. 90).

Reviews about the product have been mostly positive – but, as always, there were also critical users. They do not accept the insufficient, in their opinion, performance. They claimed that the Apple CD-ROM for the learning process is not enough.

Some of the insatiable desires of the users decided to meet. The result is a small improvement, August 13, released a model with a clock frequency of 800 MHz processor, “vibeaway” Geekbench 2 is a more or less respectable 419 points, with the disk 60 GB (7 200 rpm).

And most importantly, in the basic configuration now includes a 2x SuperDrive (DVD-RW/CD-RW).

Minimal, but pleasant change. A new variant of the PowerMac4,4 1 cost $ 499 for retail buyers, the price for the educational market was below $ 200, but the exact data I have.

And most importantly – Apple has changed the plans. Work began on the creation of a second generation eMac that was not originally planned…

It was breaking the pattern: it turned out that the value of design to the success of the somewhat… exaggerated?

To be continued

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