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Macintosh PowerBook Duos

We thoroughly covered the Duos in previous issues, but information has arrived from several first-hand sources who claim that the 9", 16-level gray-scale, backlit, supertwist, LCD screen, although not active-matrix, is extremely readable. One source went so far as to say that he preferred the Duo screen over the monochrome active-matrix screen used on the 170. That’s entirely subjective, but nice to hear.

The Duos use new nickel-hydride batteries that Apple claims last between 2 and 4.5 hours (the other PowerBooks use either NiCad [nickel-cadmium] or lead-acid batteries). The Duo spec sheets trumpet about something called EverWatch Battery Saver technology, but the 160 and 180 (which also have EverWatch) don’t have longer battery life estimates, so I don’t know specifically what EverWatch adds. Apple added an LED indicator to the Caps Lock key, so you can more easily see when it’s engaged. Finally, the Duos connect to their docks via something Apple calls PowerLatch docking technology, and surprise, the connector is a 152-pin PDS connector. Can you say, "yet another slot?" I thought you could. Actually, Apple has a good excuse this time given the Duos’ unique requirements.

Although Apple claims the Duos are available immediately, the Duo Dock and MiniDock, along with the external Duo Battery Recharger and the new Express Modem, will not ship immediately. The Duo Dock and Battery Recharger will ship in November, and the MiniDock and Express Modem in December. The holdup on the MiniDock and Battery Recharger stems from the FCC not yet approving them for sale, and there’s no messing with the FCC on that issue.

In an uncommon move, Apple contracted with SuperMac to manufacture the Duo MiniDock and the Duo Floppy Adapter. Only Sony has manufactured Apple-labeled hardware before, although Sharp may manufacture some of the Newton devices in the future. It takes no great mind to add a few small, even numbers and come up with four, and similarly, we presume that SuperMac will soon enter the third-party dock market that currently contains E-Machines, Asante, and a company called Air Communications that is reportedly working on a wireless communication dock. Given SuperMac’s strengths, I would be surprised if a dock from them did not contain accelerated graphics or perhaps some video capture technology taken from the VideoSpigot. Nothing solid here, folks, just some educated speculation.

Information from:
Apple propaganda (like all the rest of the stuff below)

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