You will recall that at Comdex, Pioneer would only say that their new DVD-R drive would cost "under $2,000" (please refer to my post-Comdex DVD recordable wrap-up for the full details). After seeing that Apple had apparently stuck a Pioneer DVD-R drive in their new top o' the line G4, I whipped out the calculator and figured out that the cost of adding the drive was around $700, less if you take into account that the jump from 667 MHz to 733 MHz has to cost something, especially in a MHz-challenged Mac. Time to e-mail Pioneer.
After hearing back from them, it seems their estimated price of $2,000 was, umm, cautious. Very cautious. In fact, the MSRP on the drive will be $995. According to Pioneer, Compaq will make the drive available in some of their systems sometime in February, while Apple won't ship systems with the drive until March. Expect retail units shortly thereafter.
Apple has made a huge deal about how the G4 is the first consumer-level computer to have a DVD-R drive. However, if the above is correct, Apple won't be the first manufacturer to actually ship systems with one.
Of course, Apple will still probably be able to claim at least one first; unless Compaq's marketing department is on crack, it's safe to say that Apple will be the first to ship a DVD-R named "Superdrive." That's fine with me, personally; as Damage pointed out, there are enough Superdrives in the world.
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