Week in review: Seeds of Apple's speed

Apple Computer kicked off Macworld by introducing a new laptop and desktop with a new ally "Inside."

Apple Computer kicked off Macworld this week by introducing a new laptop and desktop with a new ally "inside."

Addressing a crowd of the Mac faithful in San Francisco, Apple CEO Steve Jobs served up the first Intel-based Macs, introducing a new high-end laptop and a revamped iMac. The new machines both include Intel's Duo dual-core chip.

The iMac will come in the same sizes and sell for the same prices as the current models, but the Intel chips make it two to three times faster, Jobs said. The new laptop, called the MacBook Pro, will be available in February, he said.

In addition to the crop of new Macs, Jobs announced a new version of the iLife suite that adds a tool--iWeb--designed to make it easier to create Web sites with video, audio and blogs. The updated suite also includes features meant to simplify the sharing of photos over the Web and the creation of podcasts.

The release of the new Macs comes just seven months after Jobs shocked the computer world with an announcement that Apple would move to Intel chips, after years of using the PowerPC hardware made by IBM and Motorola.

As always, reaction to the new products was mixed, with the Mac bashers and Mac defenders squaring off.

"I am a PC user and would love the ability to run iLife on cheap dell box," . "The reason I can't is because Apple is a hardware company--they make iLife to sell hardware. If I could run iLife on my dell I definitely wouldn't be looking so closely at those now iMacs."

The new Macs may have Intel inside, but on the outside they don't advertise the chipmaker's presence. Most brand-name PCs that use Intel processors take part in the "Intel Inside" program, which gives the computer makers marketing dollars for displaying the chipmaker's logo on their products and in their advertising. But Apple decided not to sign on to the program with its new lineup of Intel-based Macs.

In another twist, Apple broke with its usual practice of having its newly launched products completely replace its old ones and will instead continue to sell iMac G5s with IBM processors even as its new Intel-based iMacs are now available.

And even odder may be that the pricing for both sets of computers is the same. The new machines will cost $1,299 for a 17-inch display and $1,699 for a 20-inch, exactly the same price as the previous models.

In the mail
Late last week, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing one's true identity. The prohibition is included in the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act. Criminal penalties for such e-mails include stiff fines and two years in prison.

The law says that "Whoever...utilizes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet...without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person...who receives the communications...shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."

While this provision was not widely reported by the media, CNET News.com's Declan McCullagh ignited a firestorm with his column criticizing the new

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