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Apple gooses Power Macs

Apple Computer revs up the speed of its Power Macintosh computers while many are wondering when it will rev up production of the PowerBook.

Apple Computer revved up the speed of its Power Macintosh desktop computers today while a growing number of customers are wondering when it will rev up production of the PowerBook computers introduced in early May.

Apple Computer announced today that it is shipping desktop computers with 350-, 400-, and 450-MHz PowerPC G3 processors with prices remaining at the same levels of the previous versions.

A PowerMac G3 with 350-MHz PowerPC and 64MB of memory will be priced at $1,599, compared to the same price for a 300-MHz system previously. At the high end, a 450-MHz system with 128MB of memory and high performance hard disk drive is priced at $2,999.

The announcement marks the first revision of the PowerMac G3 systems since models with new case and motherboard designs were introduced in January.

Meanwhile, customers wanting to get their hands on the latest PowerBooks are finding that they still have to wait on Apple for a little while longer.

Some customers complained that they were told to expect their new systems by May 20, only to have that date changed to something less definite, according to posts on one Web site tracking the issue. Another site tracking PowerBook availability reports most major Mac resellers are currently telling customers to expect the systems will become available by mid-June, at latest.

Indeed, Apple's own Web site said the systems are expected to ship in early June, with build-to-order systems available in July. One reseller noted that distributors--the companies that ship notebooks to the resellers--are supposed to receive product on Friday, with shipments to customers slated to occur shortly thereafter.

Slight delays in product shipments are quite common in the computer industry. For some Apple customers, however, the latest developments harken back to last year's ongoing delays with PowerBook availability, especially availability of Apple's fastest notebooks. Those availability issues dragged on for several months.