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By: Paul Bernstein, Esq.

Recent events suggest that Apple Computer may be making a comeback. Earnings have gotten better, a new product has been announced (which needs some thinking before realizing that the idea is exceptional) and there have been proper changes in viewing the next operating system for the Mac. Here are the happy details.

Mac is Still easier to use and more stable

The strongest recommendation for the Mac comes from the fact that its operating system and hardware were, for years, both produced by the same source, Apple Computer. That means that the software works with the hardware. And, in earlier times, Apple demanded that software developers adhere to the standards and requirements of Apple for all software products. The result was a very stable and consistently operating, Operating System (AOS@). To this day, Windows, which pretty well emulates the overall Alook and feel@ of the Mac, still does not come close to the ease of use, ease of installation and stability of the Mac OS.

Further, a one-button mouse is just fine, thank you, for the average lawyer, which is most of us. And, also happily, major vendors, such as Microsoft, TimeSlips Corporation and Gavel & Gown Software (Amicus Attorney) still have current products that work on the Mac.

The Best of Both Worlds - Mac and Windows running on the Mac

And, for those now Ain the know@, you can run Windows software on a Mac, via either software products or add-on boards. In our June, 1998 issue of Computers For Lawyers, we published a memorandum from John Cambra, Technical Consultant and Macintosh Product Champion, extolling the powers of the Mac, particularly the ability to run Windows better on the Mac than on an Intel-based machine. Take a look at this article on page 24 of the June issue.

The iMac is introduced and should be a winner

In early May, 1998, Apple Computer announced its plans for the new G3 PowerBook and the new iMac computer. Apple has been famous for its laptop computers for some time. It is the iMac that is generating such great excitement.

The iMac is scheduled to sell for $1,299.00 and will have the following features: 233 MHz G3 speed, a 15" monitor (built in), a 4 gigabyte hard drive, 24-speed CD-ROM, Ethernet built in, a 33.6 bps modem, infrared resources and 32 megs of RAM. The product is expected to ship in August of this year. No floppy disk drive is included, but it is expected that third party vendors will be providing this resource.

Alan George, Mac and Windows consultant to law firms around the country, stated: "The iMac, coupled with Virtual PC software, may be the ideal computer for lawyers. It combines low cost, the ease of use of Macintosh, and access to Windows-only software that might be essential to your practice."

When one thinks about this new machine, its built in resources and the direction that the computing market is taking, you begin to realize that this may just, again, be the machine for the Arest of us@. Note my Avisions@ below.

The new OS, with Rhapsody, should run existing Mac programs

Some months ago it appeared that the Mac OS would be entirely replaced with the introduction of Rhapsody. A totally new OS would mean that older software programs would operate in a separate environment that did not take advantage of the features of the new OS; however, Apple has changed this and now projects releasing Mac OS version 8.5, code named AAllegro, in the third quarter of this year. Future versions of the Mac OS, incorporating more Rhapsody features will come later. After software developers make minor changes in their Mac software their software can take advantage of the new Rhapsody features instead of needing to be totally rewritten. This future OS, to be released in mid-1999, will be called Mac OS X (ten).

The future of computing, in general

The future of computing is a movement towards simpler operation of the computer and an acknowledgment that it does not matter where information is stored, as long as it is accessible.

Thus, even your software (with proper licensing) could be on your work-station, or the server in your office or a server in your remotely located office or on someone else=s file server anywhere in the world. The same goes for your client=s files, documents, spreadsheets, databases and the like. In fact, there are many benefits to having your files off of your premises, working with a Atime sharing@ service such as the Avirtual office@ vendors are now marketing. (See prior issues of Computers For Lawyers on the topic of the Virtual Law Firm, and focused articles on ALegal Anywhere@ and AHotOffice@, two exciting resources for your virtual law firm. Also, in this issue we have an article on Calendaring on the World Wide Web...exciting stuff.)

But what this all means is that your Aportal to the world@, must have very strong graphics capability, have lots of memory, be easy to install, network and use. With the miracle of World Wide Web browsers, such as Netscape and Microsoft=s Internet Explorer, using software and tooling around the Internet is as easy as clicking on an Icon here, clicking on a left-arrow or right-arrow there, or pointing at a pull-down menu to click on whatever it is that you want to do. The Mac and the Internet take you to wherever your work is located.

Thus, your Aoffice@ becomes redefined. It is a very disbursed office, with different resources in different locations. And, with the advent of lower and lower cost video conferencing, it is easy to see when spacious offices, with conference rooms, law libraries and the like will be, properly so, out of fashion.

The Internet and the browsers to use the Internet with ease is a development of undefinable and unmeasurable proportions. It is as important as the industrial revolution and the invention of the printing press and telephone.

So, these Macs and therefore Apple Computer have more then an even chance of regaining their proper place in our competitive, international society. Those of us who have been Mac enthusiasts from day-one are very pleased with these new developments and encourage Apple to keep up their good efforts and remember, among their most loyal followers, are lawyers!

For more details see the following articles:

Apple releases innovative design PC@ - InfoWorld, May 11, 1998 at page 17.

Apple revamps Mac OS plan@ - InfoWorld, May 18, 1998 at page 31.

Hello Again. Steve Jobs says the cool new iMac he unveiled last week is only the latest sign of a freshly polished Apple@ - Newsweek, May 18, 1998 at page 46.

Apple refines OS strategy again@ - InfoWorld, May 25, 1998 at page 38.

The Sun is Rising For Apple@ - Internet Week, May 25, 1998 at page 19.

Paul Bernstein, Attorney At Law

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