IBM today unveiled its newest Aptiva S Series models, also known as the "Stealth" machines, designed to set new standards for PC design.
As first reported by CNET earlier this month, the dark gray IBM "Stealth" PC comes with a separate pizza-box-sized unit that can sit beneath the monitor and houses the CD-ROM drive, the floppy drive, and the power switch. This puts all of the most-used peripheral devices in one easily accessible compartment so that the rest of the computer--the main CPU unit--can be stored elsewhere.
To further maximize desktop space, an enhanced multimedia monitor is equipped with integrated speakers and a microphone, IBM said.
The S Series is built to support future technologies including DVD drives and Universal Serial Bus (USB) peripherals. Also, in the future, IBM will ship models using Intel's P55C processors with MMX multimedia capability when these processors become available, IBM said.
The S Series machines are priced between $2,499 and $3,099. Monitors range from $499 to $799. The PCs go on sale Wednesday at retailers such as CompUSA and models and specification details include:
--the s64, which features a 166-MHz Pentium processor, 16MB of EDO RAM, an 8X CD-ROM drive, and a 2.5GB hard drive.
--the s78, which features a 200-MHz Pentium processor, 32MB of EDO RAM, a 3.2GB hard disk drive, and an 8X CD-ROM drive.
The S Series' multimedia monitor features speakers with a Multidome design. Each speaker is mounted inside a sound chamber, enabling the production of "superb, intense" sound without the creation of vibrations that affect monitor images, IBM said.
The S Series offers advanced communications including a 33.6Kbps DSVD (Digital Simultaneous Voice and Data) modem and RingCentral software, enabling users to control the communication center. RingCentral allows users to control the telephone, speakerphone, answering machine, fax machine, address book, email and paging system functions, as well as advanced Caller ID support. IBM has also included Speech Mail, which allows users to control RingCentral through spoken commands, as well as remote voice playback of email messages.
Bundled software include Lotus SmartSuite '96, Microsoft Works for Windows 95, Microsoft Encarta and IBM AntiVirus, as well as 3D applications such as MechWarrior II and VR Soccer '96.
Support is provided through HelpWare. If a technician cannot diagnose a problem over the phone, HelpWare's Online Housecall lets the technician "see" inside the user's machine via a modem connection.
The Stealth presents stiff competition to Toshiba's just-announced Infinia consumer PCs, which sport a push-button panel attached to the monitor for operating the computer's built-in TV, radio, and telephony features.