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Apple's Amelio aiming high.

CUPERTINO, Cal.--The first Apple Performa computers in the Gilbert Amelio administration are aimed at the high-end of the home consumer market, as Apple steers clear of the low end of the retail spectrum.

Amelio, the new chief executive, had said in discussing Apple's turnaround strategy earlier this year that the company couldn't compete with low-end competitors. Amelio said Apple will focus instead on higher-profit units that target specialized audiences, such as graphic designers, who are willing to pay more for the Apple brand.

The new Performas, including the first mini-towers in Apple's line, will run on PowerPC-based 180MHz and 200MHz speeds, end will boast the kind of specifications found on high-end models: 3D sound with integrated subwoofer, 16Mb of RAM, 1.6 of 2.0Gb hard drive, 8x CD-ROM drive, two PCI slots that let users add special functions, an Apple digital video editing system, or video card for adding a second monitor.

The Performa 6400 models include an internal, 28.8Kbps modem, and bundled software designed to help users access and navigate the Internet.

The units also feature an interactive, multimedia guided tour combining full-motion video, audio, animation, and live user interaction.

The Performa 6400 series software comes with a multimedia reference library, including an encyclopedia, dictionaries, an atlas, and a health reference guide.

In all, more than two dozen software applications and 15 CD-ROM discs are included with every Performa 6400 sold (see separate list for specific titles).

The Performa 6400 series will ship this month. The model, with a 180MHz PowerPC chip, 16Mb RAM and 1.6Gb, has a suggested retail price of $2,399, plus an additional $99 for the high-performance module with level 2 cache. A 200MHz unit retails for $2,799.

Some analysts have questioned the company's strategy of emphasizing high-end computers. "If Apple wants to stay a big company, it's going to need to figure out how to serve a variety of needs," said Eric Lewis of IDC, noting that Compaq has figured out how to do it.

Apple officials say they are not exiting the low end of the computer market, pointing out that existing machines at retail sell for between $1,500 and $2,000.
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Title Annotation:new chief executive Gilbert Amelio targets high-end of computer market
Author:Ryan, Ken
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Date:Aug 12, 1996
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