will launch a revamped line of Aptiva
consumer PCs early next week that could put IBM at the head of the home computer pack in terms of innovation and technology.
The new Aptivas will initially be priced between $2,000 to $3,000,
according to sources close to the company, and will include such cutting-edge
home PC features such as:
--Universal Serial Bus (USB) plug-and-play technology.
--new 200-MHz Pentium processors.
--technology that allows control of electrical
appliances via the PC.
--advanced 3D graphics.
IBM will be one of the first PC vendors to use USB technology on PCs
targeted at the
home market. USB paves the way for true plug-and-play on personal computers
because all new USB hardware, such as joysticks and scanners, is plugged in
externally and recognized on the fly by Windows 95 without having to install
the internal add-in boards that add cost and are notoriously
difficult to set up.
IBM will also use the 200-MHz Pentium processors slated to be
announced early next week by Intel. With the new chip, processor speeds in the Aptiva
line--and the rest of
the consumer market--will jump from the current limit of 166 MHz to
IBM will also include innovative technology for controlling home electrical appliances by using the Aptiva as a control hub of sorts. Dubbed Home
Director, the system allows users to regulate heat, lights,
and services such as home security systems. The company said it
will offer software and hardware that will let users set this up in the home with relative ease.
On the 3D graphics front, the Aptivas will integrate ATI Technologies' new Rage 3D chip, one
of the hottest 3D graphics processors on the market, putting IBM in the lead
for introducing advanced 3D graphics into the home.
The prices for these new models should drop even further later in the year,
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