NEW YORK -- Apple Computer Inc. Monday unveiled 16 networking products designed to link its Macintosh personal computer with machines from other computer makers, including two huge competitors in the business market.
The offerings make it easier for Macintosh users to retrieve data from large mainframes and data bases already installed in many offices and are designed to make the Macintosh more attractive to business users.
The products enable the popular desktop machine, first introduced in 1984, to be tied to huge office computer networks made up of equipment from International Business Machines Corp. and Digital Equipment Corp.
Many computer companies have recognized the need for their products to be compatible with those of rival computer makers as businesses seek to make the most of out existing equipment investments.
Donald Casey, vice president of networking and communications for the Cupertino, Calif.-based computer company, said the products were designed chiefly to make it more pleasant for users to perform office tasks.
'We are a personal computer company,' he told those at a splashy product introduction. 'We believe that networking doesn't have to be difficult. Our goal is to interconnect beyond Macintosh.'
Chief among the new products are hardware and software that enable the personal computer to be connected with IBM terminals and mainframes.
These products include two 'servers' that translate data stored on IBM mainframes into a form that can be displayed on Macintosh screens and three NuBus communication cards that are compatible with IBM computer links.
Accompanying software enables Macintosh users to add information retrieved from IBM computers directly into graphics or spreadsheets applications on the Macintosh, Casey said.
Apple also introduced a server that enables the Macintosh to retrieve data from VAX computers made by Digital Equipment.
Apple's MacX software, a program that lets users retrieve Unix software applications on a host computer, also makes it easier for Macintosh users to gain access to information stored by Digital's VAX minicomputers.
Unix, a computer operating system originally developed by American Telephone and Telegraph Co., is used primarily in scientific and engineering environments.
Also unveiled Monday was an improved version of AppleTalk, software used to link Macintoshes in local and global networks. Each product can connect up to 16 million machines at once, compared with about 250 previously.
AppleTalk is currently used by about 300,000 networks, Casey said.
Other new Apple offerings included a modem and tools for developers of software applications.
Prices for the AppleTalk products, which are available in the third quarter, range from $149 for a basic file and print sharing program to $399 for software capable of linking local and ring Macintosh networks.
Cards that allow the Macintosh to be connected to IBM machines range from $1,195 to $1,495 and are available in the fourth quarter. The servers will be available for a licensing fee in the first quarter of 1990.