There are signs of relief from the drought in software for Apple Computer's Power Macs. Will owners of the PowerPC-based computers finally get to use some of the speed they paid for? Power Macs are notorious slowpokes running versions of computation-intensive programs, such as Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet, written for older Macs.
Some nonscientific testing hints at how big a boost is coming. I used Wolfram Research's Mathematica to plot a fractal design called a Julia set. The PowerPC version took 14 minutes on a Power Mac 6100/60, the Mac version 36 minutes on a Quadra 800. Power Mac software now shipping includes Claris' MacWrite word processor and Impact presentation graphics. Microsoft Office, including Excel for Power Mac, should be out in October.