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Apple gets more Mac support, services

Most of the peripheral products at Macworld revolve around services that can be added via the Universal Serial Bus or FireWire connection technologies.

Macworld roared into New York today with a host of new products supporting Apple's Macintosh computers, especially the popular iMac line.

A slew of announcements served to validate a technology that has increased in popularity since the introduction of the iMac, Apple's consumer system, one year ago. Apple stoked iMac enthusiasm today by announcing a new product, the iBook portable, to a standing ovation at Macworld, the industry trade show devoted to products from Apple and others.

Most of these product announcements revolve around services that can be added via the Universal Serial Bus technology, a plug-and-play connection scheme for attaching devices such as printers,Eskape Labs MyTV digital cameras, and scanners to computers. Apple's newer Power Mac G3s, its slim-line PowerBook G3 notebooks, and the new iBook support USB.

The announcements included:

• Eskape Labs introduced MyTV and MyTV/fm. MyTV includes a 125-channel TV tuner for USB-equipped G3 Macs. MyTV/fm adds FM radio reception, and both tuners can capture video at full-frame rate.

• Neopost introduced a Mac version of Simply Postage, the metering device for ordering and downloading metered postage from the Internet. The device supports USB-equipped iMacs and Power Mac G3 systems.

• Boca Research unveiled the Global Village SuperDrive 2X drive, a high-capacity storage drive for the iMac and newer Power Mac G3s. The SuperDisk can hold up to 120 MB of data. The SuperDrive, which is backward compatible with 1.44 MB floppy disks, will be available in matching colors for both systems.

• VST Technologies announced two new USB hard drives, with 4 GB or 6 GB of space, available in September. The new drives support all USB-equipped Macintoshes.

• VST introduced the first FireWire Zip drives, available in September in 100 MB and 250 MB versions. Firewire, also known as IEEE 1394, is a high-speed connection developed by Apple for transferring data from devices such as digital video cameras and hard drives.

• Fujitsu unveiled the DynaMO 1300FE, an optical FireWire drive offering 1.3 GB of removable and rewritable storage capacity. The product, which ships in October, will also support PCs running Windows 98 Second Edition. A similar drive, the DynaMO 640FE, connects to USB-equipped Macs.

• Ariston Technologies introduced a new FireWire line of products, featuring a CardBus Card for PowerBooks, PCI-to-FireWire card, and FireWire camera.

• Canon showed off its first multifunction printing, faxing, copying, and scanning device, which is expected to ship the second week in August. Supporting both the iMac and the Power Mac G3, the MultiPass C635 is designed for the Apple market and comes with a Mac version of the Canon Creative software bundle.

• Xlr8, a division of Georgia-based Interex, said it is cutting prices on products in its MachSpeed and Mach Carrier line of processor upgrade cards. Cards with PowerPC 750 chips will receive price cuts of up to 12 percent.

Also, the company introduced a new version of its InterView video capture card for Macs with PCI slots. The card allows users to capture images from VCRs and camcorders and edit them, using included software. A USB version is already available. Both are priced at $129.

• Newer Technology said it will offer a docking station for the newest PowerBook G3 notebooks, referred to as the Bronze G3s for their bronze-colored keys. The BookEndz has an estimated street price of $229 and is scheduled to ship in September.

Newer also introduced a number of new processor upgrade cards, including a card with a 466-MHz PowerPC 750 for computers such as the PowerMac 7200 through 9600 series Macs.

Many software announcements were also made at Macworld today. Connectix introduced the version 3.0 upgrade of Virtual PC, its emulation software for running Windows programs on Macs. New features include support for PC USB devices, improved disk performance, and shared Internet access between Mac and Windows environments.

Avid Technology upgraded its Avid Xpress professional video editing software to version 2.5 and announced a 3.0 version for release later this year.

Corel followed yesterday's announcement of three new Mac small office products, including Print Office and Print House, by offering WordPerfect Enhancement Pack 3.5 for free download. Corel introduced this latest version of WordPerfect for Mac in August 1997.

Not to be left out, Microsoft showed off Internet Explorer 5 and Outlook Express 5 for the Mac as well as Word 98 Special Edition, which is targeted at users of the iMac and Apple's new iBook consumer portable.