Apple unveils 'pro' photo software, Power Mac Quad

Company introduces new high-end photo processing software and upgraded its Power Mac desktop and PowerBook laptops. Photo: Apple's big picture

CUPERTINO, Calif.--Adding to its steady stream of recently announced products, Apple Computer on Wednesday introduced new high-end photo processing software and upgraded its Power Mac desktop and PowerBook laptops.

The new Power Mac G5 Quad has two 2.5GHz dual-core PowerPC G5 processors. At a press event at Apple headquarters here, the company said all Power Macs will now feature dual-core chips and improved graphics cards.

"With quad-core processing, a new PCI Express architecture and the fastest workstation card from Nvidia, the new Power Mac G5 Quad is the most powerful system we've ever made," Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, said in a statement.


Meanwhile, Apple pitched the photo software, called Aperture, as a way for professional photographers to regain tools lost in the move from film cameras to digital technology. The application allows photographers to work easily with thousands of uncompressed RAW files and compare and edit the photos using a digital equivalent of a light table for sorting and a loupe for magnification.

Another key feature is what Apple calls "nondestructive image processing," in which a master file is preserved and any edits stored merely as a list of changes. That saves file space and protects the original.

Apple downplayed the competitive threat that Aperture potentially poses to Adobe's popular Photoshop software, describing it as "complementary" to Photoshop.

"This is to do a whole different set of things," Schiller said in an interview. "There's been no software that does what Aperture does."

However, analyst Kathleen Maher from Tiburon, Calif.-based Jon Peddie Research said she was impressed with Aperture and thought it represented an opportunity for Apple to attract some Photoshop users.

"The advantage for Apple is they could completely rethink the interface." But that's also the challenge, Maher said. "They have to create something for that user base that is going to make them willing to take that leap."

Aperture will be available in November for $499. Photoshop retails for $599.

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As for the new Power Macs, all will include a FireWire 800 port, two FireWire 400 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 1.1 ports, optical and digital audio input and output, and built-in support for 802.11g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0.


• The Power Mac with a dual-core 2.0GHz PowerPC G5 processor is available now at $1,999. It includes 512MB of memory, a 160GB hard drive, an Nvidia GeForce 6600 LE video card, three PCI Express expansion slots and a 16x SuperDrive with double-layer support.

• The Power Mac with a dual-core 2.3GHz processor is available now at $2,499. It has a 250GB hard drive, the Nvidia GeForce 6600 and double the video memory at 256MB.

• The Power Mac G5 Quad with two dual-core 2.5GHz processors is priced at $3,299 and will be available next month. Other than the additional processor, it is equipped similarly to the single-chip, 2.3GHz model.

Apple's PowerBook notebooks are getting higher-resolution displays

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