Silver Lightning!
by Ron Krabbies
September 19, 1999

Woo-hoo! It's here, it's early, and it's more powerful than anyone expected! No, I'm not talking about the new crack baby at the local hospital or the latest "Touch-Me-And-I-Sue" Elmo doll, I'm talking about Apple's amazing new G4 PowerMac. In a word: Orgasmic. In two words: Oh, yes. In three words: C'mon, let me put it in you, baby. Okay, that's four words, but you get my point. This latest "super computer for Grandma," as Apple calls it, is, according to Apple Labs, 16.3 times faster and more powerful than the world's largest, most expensive Cray supercomputer. That's fast! It performs calculations so quickly, that by the time a single calculation is concluded, the light that left the monitor when the calculation began has yet to hit your face. That's really fast! Or, to put it in a more real-world perspective, it's fast enough to make MacOS 8.5 run about half as fast as Windows for Workgroups 3.11! That's really really fast!

While Byte magazine may have gone belly-up two years ago, its ancient ByteMark integer benchmark lives on at Apple headquarters. According to the latest tests, released by Apple just today, the G4 PowerMac, with 128 megs of RAM and 16 megs of video memory, is a whopping 180-200% faster at rendering images in Adobe's Photoshop, when compared with an equivalent Intel-based machine*. And as for encoding QuickTime videos, Apple's new G4 performed about 85,000% faster than the equivalent TRS-80 it was tested against. Man, that's almost enough power to warrant a second mouse button, but not quite.

Apple is touting the G4 as a next-generation "Windows killer" that will set a new standard in desktop computing. Said Apple Interim CEO Steve Jobs at his keynote speech introducing the G4, "It hurls a flaming brick through Windows with a racist epithet scrawled on it." He went on to note that, "The G4 bends the Pentium-III over, gags its mouth and fucks it in the ass in front of its wife and kids," to which the audience assembled at the Seybold auditorium burst into wild cheers.

But John C. Dvorak, long time Mac-hater and semi-retarded columnist for PC Computing magazine, spewed his usual idiotic blather: "We really should wait until an independent lab gets a chance to run some benchmarks on the G4. I don't think we should blindly trust Apple's numbers, especially considering the heavily skewed benchmarks it released for the iMac a year ago." Whatever, John. I think your mommy is coming to wipe up your drool and change your diaper now.

As for the new form factor, gone is the childish blue-and-white scheme that marked the last generation of PowerMac G3s. Here now is a machine in sexy three-tone gray with clear plastic handles and Apple's famous easy-access "side door." It's so smooth and sexy, "I've got an erection just looking at it," commented Jobs. When he asked for a show of hands regarding how many in attendance were also sporting "raging woodies," everyone in the audience raised their hands, including the one woman in attendance and the illiterate Cuban janitor backstage.

So as to not interfere with the sleek new design, Apple intentionally left out of the G4 a CD/DVD-ROM drive and monitor out port. "That's old technology," Jobs explained. "We want to move everything toward USB. USB is the future paradigm of computing." True to his word, the G4 has an optional $300 add-on that can be plugged into the back of the machine to give the G4 a USB port. "Our customers asked for it, and we listened."

Apple hopes to position the G4 as a computer not only for elementary school students, the elderly and the developmentally impaired, which have been Apple's key demographics up until now, but as a serious business and gaming machine also. To drive its point home, Apple announced the May 2000 release of a Macintosh version of Microsoft WordPad, as well as a Macintosh port of the original Tomb Raider, which brought a standing ovation from the audience.

In my personal opinion, the G4 is an exciting machine that will get even more exciting when Apple finally releases its long-awaited OS X in the second quarter of 2004. Originally set to be released in 1995, Apple's next generation OS has gone through much restructuring that has pushed the release date back beyond the horizon of the foreseeable future. The next OS, according to Apple's latest press release, will not include any pieces from Rhapsody or NeXt whatsoever, but will, Apple promises, have better support for sticky menus, feature a newly designed Apple logo in the upper-left corner, and include "a few other incremental updates and bug fixes." It will be reasonably priced at $105 for the upgrade and $499 for the full version. I don't know about you, but I'm wondering where I can order my copy in advance. The marriage of the PowerMac G4 and OS X will be an event that is nothing short of a religious experience; due to legal constraints, however, it will only be officially recognized in Hawaii.

* * *
Ron Krabbies is Apple's senior press release writer and owns voting shares in Apple.

*Tested against a Compaq 680-LP, running a 486DX2/66 processor, 4MB of RAM and 1MB shared video memory.

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