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17 Macrotime (When should I buy a new mac?)




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This article is from the Macintosh for sale FAQ, by Elliotte Rusty Harold elharo@shock.njit.edu with numerous contributions by others.

17 Macrotime (When should I buy a new mac?)

Apple releases new models of Macs about every three months. In
September the first PowerPC 603e based PowerBooks will hit the
market. The 5000 series PowerBooks will include two Type II
PCMCIA slots, a PowerBook 500 form factor, 100 or 117 MHz PowerPC
603e CPU's, an infrared LocalTalk port and 10.4 inch active and
passive matrix color and 9.5 inch passive matrix gray scale screens.
Street prices will run from about $2000 to $6000 dollars. The Duo
2000 series will debut in October with an 80 MHz PPC 603e CPU for
around $3500. Also in October the PowerBook 190 will take its place
at the low end with a 68LC040 CPU and a PowerBook 500 form factor.
As usual all new models will be faster and cheaper than the models
they replace. Prices on models being replaced often drop by 15-20%
either shortly before or after the introduction of new models. In
particular the introduction of a rebate program is a sure sign that
Apple is clearing out old stock in preparation for the introduction
of new models.

Now is a GREAT time to buy a Mac. While prices may drop after
the initial back orders are filled (probably around February, 1996),
no major new models or significant changes in hardware are expected
after October (when the new Duos debut) for about the next year.
There will of course be models released with faster CPU's, bigger hard
disks and more memory, probably starting around January; but it will
still be quite some time before anything significantly different
(e.g. FireWire, PowerPC 615 or 620 CPU's, CHRP Macs or even new
form factors) comes out of Apple.

I advise against buying any more 680X0 series Macs though. The future
lies with the PowerPC, not with the 68040 and 68030 models available
now; and if you buy one of those now, it's going to become obsolete
and slow even faster than Macs have done in the past. (The Mac
doesn't really become slower. It's the software that gets more
bloated and less efficient, but you get the idea. When I recently
complained about the speed of some software I was beta-testing, the
programmer told me it seemed fine on his low-end Mac, a IIci that's
twice as fast as my SE/30. It took four years for my high-end SE/30
to become something not worth programmers' time to worry about.
Today's Quadra 630's should make that same journey in less than half
that time.) Apple may not even port the next version of its system
software, codename Copland, to the 680X0.

 

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