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Tuesday, April 12, 2005, 04:00 pm PT (07:00 pm ET)

Special Apple NAB event to usher in new products

Apple Computer next week will hold a special event at the National Association of Broadcasters Conference to unveil a slew of new and updated software applications as well as a new HD camcorder from Panasonic, AppleInsider has learned.

The Event

The invitation-only event will kick-off Sunday, April 17th at 11:00 a.m. PST at the Rivoli Ballroom of the Paris Las Vegas Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Apple has dubbed the event "The Production Value of HD."

The Software

Among the many software announcements reportedly planned for the event are new versions of Final Cut, Motion, DVD Studio Pro, and Shake. Rumblings imply that Apple may also introduce all-new media software applications, though details remain shrouded in secrecy.

According to reliable sources, the company has been working on a media management software package for over a year now, but it remains unclear if and when it will be announced. In short, the software project has been compared to a professional version of iPhoto that keeps track of video clips and other large media files.

Apple is also expected to debut a new production suite for professional HD video editors, which will bundle several existing applications and possibly a new piece of software at a discounted cost. As originally reported by ThinkSecret, the suite is being developed under the code-name "Happy Meal" and will be marketed similar to Apple's existing software suites — iLife and iWork.

Panasonic's New Full Resolution HD Cam

Also at the event, sources say that Apple will co-announce and preview Panasonic's new FireWire-equipped HD camcorder. The new AG-HVX200 camcorder is expected to revolutionize filmmaking by offering independent filmmakers the first and only full-resolution HD camera available for under $10,000.

Said to be the industry's most anticipated technology breakthrough, the hand-held P2 camcorder will provide 1080i, and 720p recording with the production proven image quality of 100 Mbps DVCPRO HD. The AG-HVX200 will record on a P2 card in 1080 in 60i, 30p and 24p; in 720 in 60p, 30p and 24p; in 480 in 60i, 30p, and 24p either in DVCPRO50 and DVCPRO.

Macintosh Hardware Updates?

While Apple, to our recollection, has never introduced new professional Mac hardware at the NAB conference, an increasing number of external reports are suggesting that this year may be an exception.

Specifically, Mac insider news and rumors site, ThinkSecret, reported today that Apple is preparing to introduce new Power Mac G5 models at the show. As of yet, AppleInsider has not received corroborating information.

However, sources recently reported that Apple is performing quality assurance tests on new Power Macs based on IBM's unannounced dual-core PowerPC 970MP processor, code-named "Antares." In order to properly test the systems, which reportedly sport two of the dual-core chips, engineers have been seen upgrading office and test-lab power outlets to enable proper testing of the desktop's power-hungry power supply.

Sources also report that the company is testing lower-end systems based on IBM's single-core PowerPC 970GX.

Both the 970GX and the 970MP offer better performance while running much cooler than the PowerPC 970FX chips found in the current Power Mac offerings. This will allow Apple to do away with the costly, and seemingly unreliable, liquid-cooling systems featured in Apple's high-end dual-processor Power Mac G5.

These liquid-cooling systems, which were designed by Delphi, manufactured in Mexico, and shipped to Apple's manufacturing facilities in Asia, have been the topic of concern at several Apple exec meetings.

According to reliable sources, Delphi only guarantees the cooling systems to Apple for a period of 2.5 years, though the expected life-span of each unit is rumored to be closer to 2 years. Sources say the lifespan is limited by potenial leakage of the thermal conductive fluid inside the systems. Apple reportedly fears the fluid could cause damage to consumer's valuables or expensive carpets, which would leave the company exposted to potential lawsuits.