|The Apple train rumbles on at Macworld 2003
By Molly Wood
Senior Associate Editor
During his keynote address at Tuesday's Macworld Expo 2003 in San Francisco, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that Mac rumor sites had predicted the "most boring Macworld ever" this year. Apparently, he took such reports as a personal challenge. In his nearly two-and-a-half-hour speech, Jobs unveiled Apple's three new software applications, two new additions to the G4 PowerBook line, a revamped AirPort station, three software updates, and a brand-new bundle of iApps. Take that, rumor mill.
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Power to the PowerBooks
The 17-inch PowerBook breaks the old G4 PowerBook mold: it's no longer made out of titanium (a selling point so strong that the original G4 PowerBooks are frequently referred to as "TiBooks"). Instead, it's made out of an unpainted aluminum alloy and weighs just 6.8 pounds. The new G4's specs are impressive: a 1GHz G4, 512MB of DDR RAM, a CD-RW/DVD-R SuperDrive, built-in Bluetooth and 802.11g wireless networking, and an Nvidia GeForce4 440 Go graphics card. Its 17-inch display shines at 1,440x900 pixels. But the new PowerBook really shines--literally--with a backlit keyboard, which has built-in ambient sensors that detect low light and automatically illuminate the keyboard. The 17-inch PowerBook will be available in February and will start at $3,299, which--to us--seems a worthy price.
On the lower end, Jobs unveiled an amazingly compact 12-inch PowerBook that's even smaller than the 12-inch iBook. Also made of aluminum alloy and weighing 4.6 pounds, it sports an 867MHz G4 processor, 264MB of DDR RAM, a slot-loading CD-RW/DVD-RAM combo drive, an Nvidia GeForce4 440 Go graphics card, and built-in Bluetooth. Unfortunately, it lacks a built-in AirPort card (a $99 option) or a snazzy backlit keyboard. However, the 12-inch model starts at $1,799--appropriate for the reduced feature set.
As for wireless networking, Apple announced that, in addition to its new AirPort card, which features the up-and-coming, 54Mbps wireless standard 802.11g, it has equipped all new AirPort base stations with 802.11g and is now selling them for $199.