Apple To Unveil Information Appliances
CUPERTINO, Calif.- Apple Computer, responding to Microsoft's launch of its
Windows CE for
mobile computing and handheld devices, says it will introduce new classes
of information devices.
"You will be hearing from us in terms of some specific product plans in
this area going forward over the
next six weeks," Jim Groff, the senior vice president of Apple's
Information Appliance Division, said in
a hastily arranged telephone conference with reporters.
Apple would work with partners on a wide range of new devices based on
"user-centric" designs, he
Apple was a pioneer in the area of handheld computing devices with the
much-heralded introduction of
its Newton personal digital assistant three years ago, but the device
failed to live up to the hype that had
proceeded its launch.
Disappointment over the Newton's poor performance was a factor in the
departure of John Sculley, the
master marketer who had taken over the helm from Apple founder Steve Jobs.
Gilbert Amelio, who became chairman and chief executive of Apple in
February, has now moved the
Newton and its cousin, Pippin, into an information appliance group charged
with extending the
technology to whole new classes of devices.
"This is a marketplace that we've been a participant in for quite some
time. In fact in the handheld area
we arguably created the market with the original introduction of the
Newton," said Groff, noting Apple
has experience in the area from four generations of hardware and two
Apple has accumulated more than 200 applications for its appliance
platforms and has been working
with more than 300 organizations developing products and services around
its technology into the
future, he added.
But Apple declined to address specific products or services until they are
introduced at a later date.
"What you're going to see from us is a focus on specific customer groups,
including education, health
care, business professionals, sharing some of the characteristics which
have been Apple's since the
beginning," he said.
These included what he termed user-centric design aimed at delivering
"absolute simplicity" by
concentrating on products and services that would fit together for specific
classes of customers with
certain specified needs.
Groff said Apple's announcements would extend the platform beyond its own
Newton and the Pippin,
which was initially produced for the Japanese market by Bandai.
Groff and other Apple executives said the company may be expected to build
on its model for Pippin,
which it has structured as a licensing business for products designed and
manufactured by other
Groff said, for example, that while Apple believes the Newton will play at
the higher end of the Web
browsing and multimedia playback market, it expects others will also use
its Newton technology and
the Newton microprocessors designed by Advanced RISC Machines of Cambridge,
He noted that Motorola is positioned to use Apple's appliance technology in
smart phones, for
Groff acknowledged there would be a market for handheld devices compatible
with the desktop
computers; for example, Microsoft Windows CE operating system is designed
to easily operate with
Windows desktop machines as well.
But, he said, Apple expects consumers will use mobile and handheld devices
for tasks that are "a very
small subset of what they do at the desktop, and, in some cases, very
different from what they do at the
"We expect to see products from our licensees in a whole range of price
points," he said.
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** History 101** Hiroshima 45 - Chernobyl 86 - Windows 95 ============================================= "The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste, they have absolutely no taste, and what that means is, I don't mean that in a small way I mean that in a big way. I have a problem with the fact that they just make really third rate products."
Steve Jobs, Triumph of the Nerds, PBS Documentary