Apple Computer Inc will be fighting its long-standing customer support problem as MacWorld Expo gets off to a flying start this Thursday at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. In order to answer one of the Cupertino, California company’s biggest criticisms Apple, is laying plans to hook up its first ever direct telephone support hotline. Initially this will be for users of the Unix based operating system for the Macintosh II – which Newsbytes hears comes on a daunting 70 floppy disks – which is due out in February. The hot line will replace existing support where a user must contact his dealer who may or may not be able to help. Meanwhile Apple is expected to open its AppleLink network to product buyers. Until now, it has been available only to dealers, staff, and developers. The target date for the AppleLink public access software is late 1988.
According to chairman John Sculley, although third parties are preparing 68030 add-on boards for the Mac II for MacWorld, 1989 will be the earliest for a proprietary Apple machine using Motorola’s 68030 chip. Those with boards in the works reckon that they will make the Mac II a competitive engineering workstation when they go on sale in March. Novi Systems of Ormond Beach, Florida; Wilmington, North Carolina-Based Dove Computer Corp, and MacPeak Systems Inc, Austin, Texas are all reportedly working on boards in the $2,000 price bracket. PC Week, which estimates that 30% of Mac II users will want the cards, hears that AST Research, Radius Inc and TSI Inc are also in the running. MacWorld itself will see Apple launch its much talked-about laser printer which uses the Quickdraw routine, rather than PostScript, to print out documents. The new printer will be billed as an entry-level product and will be among several laser printers introduced.
All will be upgradeable by exchanging the motherboards; even the high-end LaserWriter NTX, said to run at 16MHz on a Motorola 68020 with a basic 2Mb of memory. MacWorld, which runs until January 17, will play host to a number of other product announcements and debuts. SoftView Inc will be taking on Apple’s Claris unit with its own forms generating software product to be previewed at the show. From Migent Inc – recently reported as cutting back on staff to streamline its organisation (CI No 840) – comes the HyperCard-based tutorial for the Macintosh In House Accountant, on show for the first time. The tutorial, from Training Resources Unlimited of Federal Way, Washington, is thought to be the first time HyperCard has been used for a product tutorial. It provides potential users of Migent’s book keeping program with an accounting tutorial and guided tour of the program. Tutorial stackware and a trial version of In-House Accountant will be bundled together for $19.95. Takers of the tutorial, scheduled to ship this month, will receive a $10 credit toward purchase of the full program. And two hyperware products will be introduced by Activision Inc, with a site licence programme for its HyperCard applications, which currently comprise the Focal Point and Business Class stackware; no details yet on the new offerings. Steve Jobs Steve Jobs’ Next Inc is expected to unveil a new version of WriteNow, said to be the second most popular word processor for the Macintosh. It will be marketed by T/Maker, the firm which wrote the original product and sold it to Next. The new colour version of Illustrator from Adobe Systems of Mountain View, California will also be previewed. At $495, it will run on all Macs and replace the existing model. A new gateway from Synaptic Technologies will enable non-Apple peripherals, like printers and plotters, to make a virtually transparent link through AppleTalk to Macintosh computers. The 68000-based ST3 gateway operates at 12.5MHz, has 1Mb of on-board memory for user applications and supports 64Kb of program ROM. It is tagged at $1,495. Even computer aided design is being catered for by IGC Technology Corp, Walnut Creek, California with an object-oriented package for the Macintosh; and plans for two more. Microbytes Daily repo
rts that the $695 Pegasys I software runs on the Plus, SE, and II computers and can drive pen plotters, laser printers, and dot-matrix printers. According to IGC, Pegasys Expert will add three-dimensional capability, macros, more menus, optional command input and bill of materials to the original model. Expected to retail for $1,295 it is scheduled to ship in the first quarter of 1988. Pegasys II, which will run only on the 68020-based Macintosh II, will work in full colour and take advantage of the machine’s 68881 numeric co-processor. It will cost $1,795.