Apple Releases Faster iBooks and PowerBooks — Apple refreshed its entire laptop line last week with the release of improved iBooks and PowerBooks. The entry-level 12-inch iBook, at $1,100, contains a 1 GHz PowerPC G4 processor, 512K of L2 cache running at 1 GHz, 256 MB of RAM, and a 30 GB hard drive. A 14-inch model, at $1,300, shares the same specs as the 12-inch, with the exception of a 40 GB hard drive (and the larger screen, of course!). The high-end 14-inch iBook, at $1,500, features a 1.2 GHz PowerPC G4 processor, a 60 GB hard drive, and AirPort Extreme built in (AirPort Extreme is available as an option on the other two iBooks). All iBooks include an ATI Mobility Radeon 9200 graphics processor with 32 MB of video memory, along with a Combo drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW); the two 14-inch models offer a build-to-order option for a SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW), which runs at 4x speed (compared to previous 2x SuperDrives for laptops). The iBooks can now also support up to 1.2 GB of RAM, versus the 768 MB limit of the previous generation.
The PowerBook line leapfrogs the previous generation’s speeds with 1.33 GHz PowerPC G4 processors on the two 12-inch models and one 15-inch model, and 1.5 GHz processors for a second 15-inch configuration and the still-enormous 17-inch model. Starting at $1,600, the 12-inch PowerBook includes 256 MB of RAM, a 60 GB hard drive, and a Combo drive; for $200 more, the other 12-inch configuration adds the 4x SuperDrive. They also include Nvidia GeForce FX Go5200 graphics processors with 64 MB of video memory, and a FireWire 400 port. The 15-inch Combo drive model, at $2,000, adds a FireWire 800 port, the ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 graphics processor with 64 MB of video memory, and a 4x SuperDrive. Moving up to the top of the 15-inch pile, the $2,500 configuration features 512 MB of RAM, an 80 GB hard drive, and the now-famous backlit keyboard. For $300 more, the 17-inch model offers the same specifications as the top 15-inch model, but with a who-cares-about-plasma-displays beautiful 17-inch screen. All PowerBooks feature built-in AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth, 512K of L2 cache, and now use 333 MHz PC2700 memory across the board. [JLC]