|Apple notebooks get a boost |
By Molly Wood
Senior associate editor
update Breaking its longstanding tradition of saving new hardware announcements for Macworld Expo, Apple recently released a revamped PowerBook and a slightly beefed-up iBook line and dropped the prices of both notebooks by $200.
Just in time for the holiday shopping season, the G4 Titanium PowerBook line now includes a 1GHz processor and a slot-loading CD-RW/DVD-R drive (the Apple SuperDrive). In deference to the Quartz graphics engine found in Mac OS X, the PowerBook also gets an ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 graphics card with 64MB of double-data rate (DDR) video SDRAM.
Apple says the new PowerBook offers support for up to 1GB of memory and for hard drives up to 60GB. The new line, available now, starts at $2,299 for the 867MHz model with a DVD-ROM/CD-RW Combo drive, 256MB of RAM, the Radeon 9000, a 40GB drive, and integrated 802.11 wireless networking. The top-of-the-line model, at $2,999, includes the 1GHz G4, the SuperDrive, 512MB of RAM, a 60GB drive, the Radeon 9000, and integrated wireless networking.
Don't be fooled by price drops, however; the PowerBook remains an extremely expensive notebook, and with extras such as an AirPort base station, a .Mac account, a full 1GB of RAM, Apple's additional paid support option, and maybe an accompanying iPod, you'll easily top an eye-popping $4,000. But the PowerBook offers more bang for the buck than Apple's budget choice, the iBook.
The snow-white iBook gets a processor boost and a graphics card improvement, and its price drops to less than $1,000--at least, the low-end model's does. Apple announced that it will pair the iBook with an 800MHz processor on both the 12-inch and the 14-inch models and include the ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 graphics card with 32MB of video RAM (but not the fast DDR video RAM found in the updated PowerBook).
Starting immediately, Apple has dropped the price of the 12-inch, 700MHz iBook to $999, which buys you the Radeon 7500 card with just 16MB of video RAM, 128MB of RAM, a 20GB hard drive, and a CD-ROM drive. At the top of the iBook heap, you'll get a 14.1-inch model with the 800MHz model, 32MB of video RAM, a DVD-ROM/CD-RW Combo drive, 256MB of RAM, and a 30GB hard drive. That package will run you $1,500, a fairly steep price, but we think it's a better value than the stripped-down $999 option.
Editor's note: This story has changed from its original version. Earlier, we stated that the eMac included a G3 processor when in fact, it does not.