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Beefier Laptops & Faster G4s at Macworld Tokyo

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During his keynote at Macworld Expo Tokyo, Apple CEO Steve Jobs rolled out enhanced versions of Apple's laptop and professional desktop products. The latest PowerBook G3 (known as the "PowerBook (FireWire)" in Apple's increasingly inane nomenclature) uses a case similar to the previous PowerBook G3 (Bronze Keyboard) and features speeds up to 500 MHz, up to ten hours of battery life with the dual-battery feature, room for an internal AirPort card, and two new FireWire ports supporting digital video, all for prices between $2,500 and $4,000. Other changes in the PowerBook (FireWire) include different RAM upgrade modules from previous PowerBook G3s, no SCSI port, a new iBook-style power adapter, and a DVD-ROM drive that isn't compatible with the media bay in the PowerBook G3 (Bronze Keyboard), although batteries and other media bay devices are currently compatible.

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The $1,600 iBook product line now sports 64 MB of memory and a 6 GB hard drive in each model, while a new $1,800 graphite-colored iBook Special Edition offers a faster 366 MHz G3 processor. Meanwhile, Apple announced a speed bump for its Power Macintosh G4 line, with the three configurations shipping at 400, 450, and 500 MHz at the same price levels as the previous models, starting at $1,600. These enhancements bring Apple's G4 systems back to the processor speeds originally announced in August of 1999.

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Also at Macworld Tokyo, Apple announced an agreement with Dai Nippon Screen Manufacturing Co., Ltd., of Japan, to include that company's high quality Japanese fonts with Mac OS X. The fonts will support the largest character set ever available on personal computers. Mac OS X should be released as a software product in mid-2000, and be pre-loaded on all Macintosh computers in 2001.

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