Apple Introduces Quadra 840AV and Centris 660AV
Apple Pushes The Boundaries Of Personal Computing With AV Technologies
New Macintosh Models Combine State-of-the-Art Telecommunications, Video and Speech Capabilities for Mainstream Business and Education Use
MACWORLD, BOSTON--July 29,1993--Redefining the boundaries of personal computing once again, Apple Computer, Inc. today announced two new Macintosh computers that feature a unique combination of communications and computing capabilities. The Macintosh Quadra 840AV and Macintosh Centris 660AV bring together telecommunications, video and speech technologies on a desktop computer for the first time, offering users new and enhanced ways to communicate.
Apple refers collectively to the set of technologies that distinguish the new models as "AV Technologies". With AV Technologies, Apple adds a new dimension to personal computing. For example, with these new systems, customers can:
"No other personal computer on the market today can provide all of these capabilities
in one integrated system," said Ian Diery,
executive vice president of Apple's Personal Computer Division. "With AV Technologies, we are extending the Macintosh platform, and providing countless new communications possibilities for our customers and developers. Once again, Apple is raising the industry standard in personal computing."
Powered by the Motorola 68040 microprocessor and an AT&T 3210 Digital Signal Processor (DSP), the new Macintosh Quadra 840AV and Centris 660AV computers are powerful personal computers that extend the capabilities of the Macintosh family with new levels of performance and functionality.
While the Motorola 68040 microprocessor does general-purpose computing work, the DSP handles specialized tasks and real-time data -- including speech, audio, modem, telephone and fax signals -- to provide customers with advanced performance. Third-party developers also can tap into the power of the DSP to provide performance enhancements, such as "plug-in filters" for the popular publishing program PhotoShop by Adobe.
With AV Technologies, Apple is laying a foundation for future Macintosh systems. Apple intends to begin integrating thesetechnologies as appropriate into its next generation Macintosh products based on the PowerPC RISC chip.
AV Technologies include the following technology components:
The GeoPort telecommunications architecture featured in the Quadra 840AV and Centris 660AV is a plug-and-play access system for telecommunications that integrates data, fax and voice telephony. Unlike a traditional modem, the GeoPort architecture is a software-based telecommunications architecture. With the GeoPort Telecom Adapter and associated software, users can immediately connect to telephone services and support phone calling and answering, as well as send and receive data and fax.
The GeoPort Telecom Adapter will be sold separately. At introduction, the adapter will support analog services at 9600 bits per second (bps). Apple is also working with third parties to offer additional GeoPort adapters for PBX and ISDN services in the future.
The new Macintosh AV models feature a rich video and graphics architecture, permitting seamless display of full-motion video from sources such as VCRs, camcorders and laserdiscs, plus the digitization and capture of single frames as pictures or video sequences. For video-in, all major standards are supported--NTSC, PAL and SECAM--and composite and S-video ports are provided.
The Macintosh AV series' video-out capabilities make it possible to connect to a regular television, which allows users greater access to inexpensive large screen TV for presentations--without the cost and complexity of additional hardware circuitry and equipment to support the connection. At the same time, business and education users will find it easy to create inexpensive presentation materials by simply connecting their VCR and using their Macintosh to print a presentation to videotape.
The sophisticated video capabilities of the new Macintosh AV models, when combined with GeoPort and built-in Ethernet networking capabilities, enable a new class of collaborative applications for-document sharing and local area network (LAN)-based videoconference capabilities. As ISDN becomes more pervasive, Apple believes these built-in video and telecommunications capabilities will open more cost-effective ways to communicate with electronic desktop videoconferencing over wide area networks (WANs).
Equipped with Apple's PlainTalk speech technology, the Quadra 840AV and Centris 660AV are the first mainstream personal computers to offer both speech recognition and text-to-speech capabilities as a standard user interface extension, complementing today's keyboard and mouse. The first release of PlainTalk supports North American English only.
The PlainTalk speech recognition system offers a robust speaker-independent, continuous speech system for voice commands. Users can manipulate standard Macintosh menu commands, and streamline computing tasks with applications that take advantage of PlainTalk. Or they can create their own speech-activated commands, using either AppleScript or QuickKeys as a scripting engine. Both technologies come bundled with the new systems. The latter is licensed from CE Software.
With PlainTalk's text-to-speech system, Apple delivers a standard way for applications to synthesize a human voice. Today, this capability is particularly useful in applications such as language instruction and proofreading. In the future, with third-party applications, users also will be capable of accessing electronic mail or faxes from a remote location over their voice mail and have the text of messages read to them.
"Although it represents the first generation of speech technology, PlainTalk is a robust speech engine that will grow in richness," said Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, Apple's chief speech technology scientist. "We hope to learn from real users' experience as they explore the benefits of speech in mainstream settings and provide valuable feedback on future speech product enhancements and development."
Based on a 40 MHz Motorola 68040 microprocessor, as well as a 66MHz AT&T 3210 Digital Signal Processor (DSP), the Macintosh Quadra 840AV becomes the highest performance Macintosh in the line. With a balanced mix of high performance and expandability, the Quadra 840AV is well suited to designers, publishers and media authors, engineers, scientists and power users. Expandable from 8MB of DRAM to 128MB, the Quadra 840AV features four standard expansion bays for internal storage, including two 3.5-inch bays for hard drives or removable media, and two 5.25-inch bays for removable devices. Offering up to 2MB of VRAM, the Quadra 840AV supports 24-bit color on displays up to 16 inches and 16-bit color on 21-inch displays.
The Macintosh Centris 660AV is the highest performance offering in Apple's midrange line and is an ideal system for educator, trainers, business professionals and telecommuters. Powered by a 25 MHz Motorola 68040 microprocessor, as well as a 55 MHz AT&T 3210 DSP, the Macintosh Centris 660AV is expandable from 8MB of DRAM to 68MB. For internal storage, the Centris 660AV provides one 5.25-inch bay for removable devices. The Centris 660AV offers up to 1MB of VRAM for supporting 16-bit color on displays up to 16 inches and 8-bit color on 21-inch displays.
Both systems come standard with Ethernet and feature the fastest implementation of NuBus ever, NuBus 90. NuBus 90 transfers data up to four times faster than the existing Macintosh NuBus implementations. The Quadra 840AV comes equipped with three high-speed, 13-inch NuBus slots and the Centris 660AV supports one 7-inch NuBus slot via an optional NuBus adapter. In addition, both models support a Digital Audio Video (DAV) connector that provides a high- speed path to and from the raw digitized video and audio data produced by the computer. The DAV slot can be used for real-time audio and video hardware compression cards such as JPEG, MPEG, DVI and H.261.
The new systems also support 16-bit stereo audio input and audio output at various sample rates including 44.1kHz and 48kHz for outstanding quality audio.
Accessories and Applications
The Apple PlainTalk Microphone and software that supports North American English voice recognition and text-to-speech will be shipped standard along with the new AV Macintosh computers in the United States. Outside the United States, the Apple PlainTalk Software Kit and Apple PlainTalk Microphone can be purchased separately. The GeoPort Telecom Adapter is sold separately, with a U.S. suggested retail price (SRP) of $129.
For an introductory period in the United States, Apple is bundling a number of applications on the hard drive of the new systems, to make the new AV Technologies useful out of the box. These include: Apple Phone, a screen-based phone application developed by Apple; ExperFax by ExperVision, a fax-to-text conversion application; FusionRecorder by VideoFusion, an application that provides users with the capability to record video and high-quality 16-bit audio; and ES.F2F, a LAN-based videoconferencing application by The Electronic Studio.
Pricing and Availability
The Macintosh Centris 660AV will be offered worldwide through authorized Apple resellers beginning Aug. 3, 1993. The Macintosh Quadra 840AV will be available worldwide beginning Aug. 25, 1993. Pricing and availability will vary outside of the United States.
Apple plans to make logic board upgrades available for Macintosh Centris 610 customers to the Macintosh Centris 660AV and for Macintosh Quadra 800 customers to the Macintosh Quadra 840AV later this year. Both new Macintosh computers will support upgrades to PowerPC in the future.
Configurations and U.S. SRPs are as follows:
Configurations U.S. SRP Macintosh Quadra 840AV 8/230, 1MB VRAM, Ethernet $4,069 Macintosh Quadra 840AV 8/230, 1MB VRAM, Ethernet, CD-300i $4,399 Macintosh Quadra 840AV 16/500 1MB VRAM, Ethernet $5,119 Macintosh Quadra 840AV 16/500 1MB VRAM, Ethernet, CD-300i $5,449 Macintosh Quadra 840AV 16/1000 1MB VRAM, Ethernet, CD-300i $6,249 *Macintosh Centris 660AV 8/80 1MB VRAM, Ethernet $2,139 Macintosh Centris 660AV 8/230 1MB VRAM, Ethernet $2,489 Macintosh Centris 660AV 8/230 1MB VRAM, Ethernet, CD-300i $2,799 Macintosh Centris 660AV 8/500 1MB VRAM, Ethernet $3,139 Macintosh Centris 660AV 8/500 1MB VRAM, Ethernet, CD-300i $3,449 Macintosh Centris 660AV NuBus Adapter Card $129 GeoPort Telecom Adapter $129 **Apple PlainTalk Software Kit $39 **Apple PlainTalk Microphone $29 *Education market only configuration. **Available outside of the U.S. only.
Apple, the Apple logo and Macintosh are registered trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc. Centris, Quadra, PlainTalk, GeoPort, and AppleScript are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc. QuickKeys is a registered trademark of CE Software. ExecuFax is a trademark of ExperVision. FushionRecorder is a registered trademark of VideoFusion. ES.F2F is a trademark of The Electronic Studio. PhotoShop is a trademark of Adobe.
Betty Taylor, Apple Computer, Inc., (408) 974-3983
Jen O'Mahony, Apple Computer, Inc., (408) 974-0643