Apple Computer has announced plans to eliminate or reduce support for some of its technologies, but reaffirmed its commitment to others. OpenDoc is the big casualty, and with the freezing of OpenTransport and AIX server technology, Apple is clearly concentrating its networking aspirations on the Next technology to be incorporated in the Rhapsody OS. Newton, however, stays - for now.
The Hit List
OpenDoc and Cyberdog. Apple will include its OpenDoc component software and Cyberdog Internet software in Mac OS 8, but plans no major updates for either technology. Apple will not port OpenDoc to Rhapsody, but instead will rely on Java to provide component technology. Still unclear is the future of CI Labs, an organisation established by Apple, IBM and Just Systems to ensure compliance with OpenDoc standards.
Open Transport, the Mac OS networking component, will not be ported to OpenStep in Rhapsody, but will run in the Rhapsody Blue Box, which is designed to run current Mac OS applications. Apple says its network engineering efforts will focus on Rhapsody, which supports TCP/IP and NetWare IPX networking protocols. This action marks a further shift by Apple away from AppleTalk toward TCP/IP. However, despite its stated strategy of moving to TCP/IP, Apple has yet to ship Apple Remote Access 3.0, which will use the Point-to-Point Protocol, and AppleShare/IP 5.0, the TCP/IP version of its network operating system - two key components to fulfilling this promise. The previously announced Open Transport 1.5 has been canceled.
Games Sprockets. Apple will retain the Games Sprockets API in Mac OS, but will not upgrade it or port it to Rhapsody. Applications - mostly computer games - that support Games Sprockets will run in the Rhapsody Blue Box.
AIX Servers. Apple will release an update to AIX, version 4.1.5, but plans no further upgrades. Apple will focus on Mac OS and Rhapsody as its server operating systems.
Videoconferencing. Apple will discontinue its videoconferencing products, but will investigate videoconferencing systems from third parties.
Mac OS Tools. Apple will not upgrade its Mac development tools, noting that other companies offer "excellent third-party products." Metrowerks' CodeWarrior is the most popular software for Mac application development.
Performa. As expected, Apple will phase out the Performa brand name, but will continue to sell Power Macintosh systems to the consumer market.
On the Bubble
Newton. Apple did not announce plans for Newton, other than to say it is investigating its options. The company has reportedly been seeking a buyer for the technology. The Newton products include the MessagePad 2000 personal digital assistant and eMate 300 notebook computer for schools.
Pippin. Apple says it will continue to work with current licensees of its Pippin set-top technology, primarily Bandai Digital Entertainment. There will be no Apple-labeled Pippin product.
The Hot List
Imaging. The highly profitable Imaging division, which is responsible for printers, scanners, displays and digital cameras, "remains absolutely an integral part of Apple's business," Apple says.
Mac OS Releases. Apple has changed its plans for Mac OS releases in 1998. Originally, the company planned two releases, code-named Allegro and Sonata. Apple now says it will release Allegro in mid-1998 rather than in January 1998, and the Sonata release originally planned for mid-1998 has been cancelled. In January 1998, Apple will release a bug-fix collection instead of the original Allegro OS release. Mac OS 8 is still scheduled for release in summer 1997. The full Rhapsody OS, which will include OpenStep and the Allegro Mac OS, is still slated for summer 1998.