Apple enhances iBooks and Mac Minis

Company touts changes to its iBook laptop and Mac Mini lines, including increased memory and built-in wireless technology.

Apple Computer on Tuesday unveiled updates to its iBook laptop and Mac Mini lines, including increased memory and built-in wireless technology.

Between the two products, Apple's iBook G4 line features the most changes, including a scrolling TrackPad and sudden-motion sensor that protects the hard drive if the iBook is dropped. The new iBooks feature Power PC G4 processors running at up to 1.42GHz, with double the memory at 512MB.

In addition to increased memory, the new iBooks offer built-in AirPort Extreme--54mbps 802.11g Wi-Fi networking--and Bluetooth 2.0 wireless connectivity. The wireless features also are compatible with Bluetooth 1.2 devices, such as Apple's wireless keyboard and mouse.

The iBook with 12-inch screen and a 1.33GHz PowerPC G4 costs $999, while the model with a 1.42GHz chip and a 14-inch screen is $1,299.

Apple's updated Mac Mini line also has double the memory, offering 512MB in every model. The Mac Mini with a 1.25GHz PowerPC G4 chip will sell for $499.

In addition, Apple is offering a 1.42GHz Mac Mini with built-in AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth wireless networking technology for $599. A version of that machine with DVD- and CD-burning capabilities via a SuperDrive will sell for $699.

All of the new models are available now.

"Our overall Mac business is very strong," David Moody, a vice president of worldwide product marketing for Apple's Mac line, said in an interview.

Earlier this month Apple reported better-than-expected sales for the past quarter but offered an outlook for the current quarter that was slightly less than what some analysts were forecasting.

Apple said it had not seen a slowdown related to its planned move to Intel chips , but CFO Peter Oppenheimer said that the company was "being prudent" and that the company would have a better sense after this quarter whether Mac sales would remain strong ahead of the company's transition to Intel processors.

With the changes to the iBook, the product moves closer in features to the low-end of Apple's PowerBook line. However, Apple portable executive David Russell said he doesn't expect the improved iBook to steal sales from the PowerBook.

In addition to its aluminum case, Russell noted, the 12-inch PowerBook offers a faster processor and system bus as well as a speedier hard drive. The 15-inch and 17-inch models also have added features such as Gigabit Ethernet networking, faster FireWire ports and an illuminated keyboard.

CNET News.com's Ina Fried contributed to this report.

 

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