Apple Announces First Personal Mainframe Computer
Irving, TX, April 1, 2004. Apple Computer, Inc., collaborating with DesiSoft Systems, announced the world’s first personal mainframe computer. Using DesiSoft Systems’ patent-pending JanusPMC® (Personal Mainframe Connection) interface, the soon-to-be-released Janus Macintosh line of computers will be the world’s first personal mainframe computer — mainframe in that multiple users can use the computer at the same time, personal in that pricing and configuration are affordable and easy enough for the small family or business, as well as keeping the same look-and-feel everyone has come to recognize as the Macintosh operating system.
The Janus Macintosh line, due to be released in time for the fall school season, will come in four basic configurations:
In a move reminiscent of the mid-1990’s, the first digit in the naming for each configuration is based on how many users can be set up to have their own personal media, monitors, and peripherals on the system. The last digit represents the version of the JanusPMC interface being used. The middle digit represents Apple’s basic design version of the motherboard being used (non-technical users may not be aware that in some computing technologies, zero signifies the first unit of counting rather than one).
Utilizing an evolutionary motherboard design, the Janus Macintosh will contain a single CPU (Central Processing Unit), initially a G5 running at 1.8 GHz, slots for up to 16 GB of RAM, up to 8 GB of VRAM (working in concert with the evolutionary JanusVVC® (Virtual Video Card) 1000), bays for up to four 3.5 inch hard drives, and slots for JanusPMC cards with at least one upgradeable JanusPMC card installed per system. For the 301 and 501 systems, each computer will have two cooling fans, with the 701 boasting four, and the 901 having five fans. Rather than running all of the fans in an underutilized system, the fans are strategically placed around the JanusPMC cards, and, if the appropriate number of cards are not installed, the adjacent fans will not be used.
An interesting thing to note is that besides the power plug and ports for a single 10/100/1000 Ethernet and modem, there are no other cables that run from a Janus Macintosh computer without a JanusPMC card. And, for each JanusPMC card installed, a single cable is run from the computer to a user’s desktop.
The JanusPMC card, in concept, design, and development now for over 18 years, provides the Janus Macintosh motherboard with an additional CPU, two slots for additional dedicated RAM up to 1 GB and two for VRAM up to 256 MB, and the connection capable of plugging all of a user’s peripherals (including mouse, keyboard, monitor, DVD recorders, modem, Ethernet, scanners, digital video cameras, etc.) in via a media bay unit that sits on the user’s desk.
Connected to the computer via JanusWire®, a connection that sports data throughput of 2.4 Gbps in JanusPMC Release 1, the user will believe they’re connected directly to one of today’s Power Macintosh G5 computers. With the port coming from the computer looking like two FireWire ports back-to-back with a diagonal connection in between and looking much like the symbol for Infinity, a single JanusWire connection provides more than enough throughput from the system’s video card and internal media to satisfy even the most demanding group’s needs. Each JanusWire currently can be run over a distance of 50 feet without the use of signal enhancement and is a little wider than two FireWire cables.
Each JanusPMC card can be individually configured without affecting the other cards, although all RAM and VRAM changes must be done with the JanusPMC card removed from the motherboard. The state-of-the-art design to do this is as easy as a user logging off, unplugging the appropriate JanusWire connection, opening the case of her shared Janus Macintosh system, and pressing the spring-loaded catch button next to the location of where the JanusPMC card interfaces with the back of the Janus Macintosh. Since each JanusPMC card rests within a sliding tray, the user never has to physically touch the card to add additional RAM or VRAM to their card. Once the changes are completed, the user only has to reverse the steps after pressing the card back in place in order to be able to access their upgraded system. For the security conscious, though, each Janus Macintosh does come with a lock to prevent unauthorized users from opening the case.
The Apple JAM (standing for JAnus Macintosh) Bay, initially shipping in a single configuration as the Apple Jam Bay 102, will sport two 5.25 inch bays for removable media, such as the Apple SuperDrive and a standard DVD-ROM drive, and ports for DVI, VGA, S-Video, composite video, component video, stereo headphones, microphone, and two each of USB 2.0 and FireWire 800. In addition, a built-in set of stereo speakers are on each side of the Apple JAM Bay facing forwards and can be adjusted by a front-side volume control. Power is maintained via a standard power plug, and a cooling fan is installed and turned on if at least one of the media bays are occupied. The size of the Apple JAM Bay measures in at 7.25 inches wide, 10.25 inches long, and 4 inches high, just a little bigger than two external DVD-ROM drives stacked on top of each other.
Besides all the great evolutionary technologies that will be part of the Janus Macintosh line, the price is the best news for the family or business needing two or more computer systems with plenty of performance. With the entry-level 301 configured with 1 GB of RAM, 256 MB of VRAM, 160 GB hard drive, and one Apple JAM Bay with Apple SuperDrive and no additional RAM or VRAM installed, the price is $2,299. Each additional Apple JAM Bay, with a CD-RW/DVD-ROM installed, is only $159 more, and one with an Apple SuperDrive is priced at $189. Prices for other configurations are yet to be determined, although fully-stocked systems purchased via the Apple Store will qualify for automatic price reductions. Also, specials will be offered when purchasing the same number of Apple peripherals, such as monitors, keyboards, and mouse devices, to match the ordered configuration. Apple is still considering the kinds of specials to offer to educational institutions, but reportedly is considering some rather significant discounts.
In order to support the multiple users running on a Janus Macintosh system, Apple will release an upgrade to its Mac OS X 10.3.x Panther operating system. Although the version number has not been determined yet, the product will carry the nickname Hydra (in mythology, the Hydra had nine heads just as the high-end Janus Macintosh will support nine users) and will support an as-yet-to-be-announced set of enhancements beyond the required multi-user support.
Developers attending Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference this summer will get the first chance to try the Janus Macintosh line out, and those signed up for the full week of sessions will be the first ones able to take delivery, with orders being taken the third day of the conference and shipments starting on the last day with a beta version of the Hydra version of Mac OS X installed; developers will also get free upgrades up to and including the shipping release of the new operating system. Those not purchasing a Janus Macintosh will still be eligible for receiving a beta version of Hydra and will also get free upgrades up to the time of the shipping release.
JanusPMC®, JanusVVC®, and JanusWire® are registered trademarks of DesiSoft Systems. Other products and technologies mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective owners. To learn more about DesiSoft Systems and their solutions and how they may benefit you, visit their web site at http://www.desisoftsystems.com/. To learn more about Apple Computer and their solutions and how they may benefit you, visit their web site at http://www.apple.com/.
The products and related announcements mentioned in this article are fictional. Any resemblance to actual pending events, products, or offers is entirely coincidental. Happy April Fool’s Day. This article has been produced solely for your enjoyment (and as a product request to Apple Computer) by Gary L. Wade of DesiSoft Systems. The only thing true is about the concept of a Macintosh mainframe, which I suggested to a fellow student 18 years ago while in college when I was designing text-based windows on a PRIME minicomputer to be utilized by the system’s terminals to make my programs look more Mac-like.
Since 1984, DesiSoft Systems has been building custom DESIgned and innovative SOFTware SYSTEMS for a diverse group of customers across a myriad of platforms and a variety of industries. Please visit DesiSoft Systems’ web site at http://www.desisoftsystems.com/ today to submit your product development ideas or to get a quote on a current project idea.