Week in review: Apple pie

For observers of all things Apple Computer, this week was chock-full of the good, the bad and the what-is-that?

For observers of all things Apple Computer, this week was chock-full of the good, the bad and the what-is-that?

Apple unveiled a 13-inch MacBook, the newest member of its family of Intel-based laptops. Billed as a replacement for both the iBook and the 12-inch PowerBook, the 13-inch wide-screen MacBook, which is on sale now, starts at $1,099 for a 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo processor with a 60GB hard drive. Like the former iBooks, that model and the next model up--which packs a 2.0GHz processor, a 60GB hard drive and a $1,299 price tag--are cased in white.

The top-of-the-line 2.0GHz model, starting at $1,499, comes equipped with an 80GB hard drive and is available only in black. Each of the new MacBooks comes with a built-in iSight video camera, which can be used for video conferencing and video podcasts.

For some Mac faithful, the wait to buy Apple's new products can be unbearable, so they take matters into their own hands--so to speak. On the day the MacBook was released, a CNET News.com editor waiting at the store to buy one of the new machines witnessed a shoplifter and his quick subsequent arrest. Who says Apple has a security problem?

They aren't exactly a steal, but Apple's Mac isn't that much more than a comparable Windows-based computer. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said his research shows an average price difference of only 13 percent for desktops and 10 percent for laptops, once you factor in the same components Apple uses.

"We believe both consumers and investors tend to believe that purchasing a Mac will cost 20 percent to 30 percent more than a PC," he said in a research note.

The launch gave CNET News.com readers plenty to debate, with discussions centering on color, configuration, software and price.

"The MacBook is a great computer, but $200 is an enormous premium to pay for a color and a somewhat larger hard drive," one reader wrote in the TalkBack forum. "The differential ought to be $50 maximum. I hope that customers will stick with the standard white model to send Apple a message about this ridiculous pricing arrangement."

Apple is also set to open its new 24-hour flagship store in Manhattan on Friday, giving Apple enthusiasts access to products and face-to-face support all day and night.

The new midtown underground store, which features a distinctive 32-foot glass cube entrance, is the most ambitious Apple store to date. The entrance sits atop the public plaza in front of the General Motors building opposite the Plaza Hotel and Bergdorf Goodman on 767 Fifth Ave. between 58th and 59th Streets.

Apple store

In addition to landing an incredible location, Apple may also have created what could become a new New York City landmark. All that is visible of the store from the street is its glass cube entrance, reminiscent of I.M. Pei's glass pyramid entrance to Paris' Louvre Museum.

Tell it to the judge
Apple itself was accused of some theft when Singapore-based electronics maker Creative Technology filed two legal actions against Apple, charging that the popular iPod infringes on its patented technology. In a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission, Creative is seeking an injunction that would stop Apple from selling the iPod and iPod Nano in the United States. Separately, Creative filed another suit seeking an injunction and damages.

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