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Apple unveils Mac OS 8 machines

The company refreshes its Power Macintosh 6500 line of computers for consumers and small businesses.

Apple Computer (AAPL) today announced its first Macintosh desktop systems to ship with its new operating system, as the company refreshed its Power Macintosh 6500 line of computers for consumers and small businesses.

The new 6500 systems are hitting the market in the wake of Motorola's announcement last week that it was pulling out of the Mac market because Apple wouldn't license the Mac OS 8 operating system on mutually agreeable terms. Power Computing, another Mac clone maker, is exiting the Mac market after Apple bought back that company's Mac OS license as well.

Both companies are now selling off their inventory of systems, creating keen price competition in the market. Umax will remain as the only major clone vendor.

Mac OS 8, which began shipping to retail stores in July, features a revised user interface and other enhancements for better performance and stability. It was to be an important release for clone vendors because it supports key technologies such as CHRP that would have allowed Mac clone vendors to independently enhance system performance. Apple, however, has declined to allow clone companies to use CHRP and will only allow Umax to ship systems with Mac OS 8.

Today Apple introduced new Power Macintosh 6500/300 and 6500/275 Home Edition models, as well as a 6500/275 Small Business Edition model. The latter comes with a 6GB hard drive, a 24X CD-ROM, a 56-kbps modem, and internal 100MB Zip drive for backup data storage. A 6500/250 Home Edition comes with a 4GB hard disk drive but no Zip drive.

The Power Macintosh 6500/300 Home Edition with 300-MHz 603e PowerPC processor and 64MB of memory will be priced at $3,000, while the 6500/275 Small Business Edition with 275-MHz 603e PowerPC processor and 48MB of memory is priced at $2,800.

Apple says the Power Macintosh 6500/275 Home Edition with 275-MHz 603e PowerPC processor will be priced at $2,500, and the 6500/250 Home Edition with 250MHz 603e PowerPC processor $2,000. The company also cut the price on the Power Macintosh 6500/225 Home Edition, which will now sell for $1,600. All prices are estimated retail price, Apple says.