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Fans jazzed by Apple's quick delivery

Mac enthusiasts give company kudos for presenting faster Intel-based computers ahead of schedule.

SAN FRANCISCO--Sure, the new Intel Macs are faster than their predecessors, but what fans really appreciate is how quickly Apple Computer raced the machines to market.

Last June, Apple stunned the electronics world by aligning with Intel, saying at the time that the Intel-powered Macs would be ready by June 2006. Apple outpaced its own timetable by nearly half a year: The new iMacs began shipping Tuesday and MacBook Pros are scheduled to ship sometime in February.

"I saved my money and was just waiting. I'm glad I did."
--Fernando Escalante, San Jose, Calif.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Tuesday unveiled the new MacBook Pro laptop and iMac, both powered by Intel's Duo dual-core chip instead of the IBM processors Apple has used for years.

"I was waiting for them to come out with a more powerful laptop," said San Jose, Calif., resident Fernando Escalante, as he stood in line waiting to kick the tires on the new MacBook at the Macworld Expo here. "I saved my money and was just waiting. I'm glad I did."

During his Macworld keynote, Jobs whetted the audience's appetite for speedy machines by calling the new computers "screamers."

Jennifer Gove, who recently graduated from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., said she wished the speedy MacBooks were available back when she was writing term papers and video conferencing with her family back in Los Gatos, Calif.

"It connects really fast and the picture is really clear."
--Jennifer Gove, Los Gatos, Calif.

"Yeah, it's faster," said Gove, 21, after testing a MacBook at Macworld. "It connects really fast and the picture is really clear. When you're running multiple programs on other computers it really slows them down. I had a bunch of applications up and it ran smoothly."

Mac users also seemed pleased with the new Mac software that Apple introduced, including iWeb, designed to create Web sites that combine video, audio and blogs. The company also upgraded a host of other features that help users share and edit photos, edit sound and create podcasts.

"I've already asked my bosses for one of the 15-inch MacBooks," said Jim Parkin, an IT worker and Macworld attendee from Provo, Utah.

Working for the Provo School District, Parkin helps the district operate its Web sites, and he waited in line to see whether iWeb could help him.

"It doesn't matter because we use our Macs for a lot of things," said Parkin, 45. "For instance, we use (Apple's audio-editing tool) Garageband to put music and sounds to recordings of poetry. This is for elementary school kids and they love it."