New Mac PowerBook shipping

A new low-cost PowerBook model from Apple has begun appearing at resellers.

A new low-cost PowerBook model from Apple Computer has begun appearing at resellers.

The new portable computer offers a relatively small 12.1-inch active-matrix LCD screen--compared to the large 14-inch screen on typical PowerBooks. Correspondingly, the price is lower.

The system goes for $2,299 and comes with the 233-MHz PowerPC 750 chip with a "backside cache" memory chip for improved performance. This compares favorably to the older "cacheless" 233-MHz models with lower-quality dual-scan LCD screens that are currently priced at $1,999.

The model is available at Computer Discount Warehouse and ClubMac.

As for the outlook for Apple with these new PowerBooks, "As long as they have the parts, they'll sell it, but there's no telling how long going that's to be," one industry source said.

Meanwhile, customers could still find themselves waiting for the 300-MHz PowerPC PowerBook models, including those who ordered the preceding high-end model with the 292-MHz PowerPC processor that was discontinued in early September, sources at several major resellers reported.

Availability of the 266-MHz PowerBooks has improved over previous mid-range models, but overall, supply has not met demand, resellers report.

Apple interim chief executive Steve Jobs said at the beginning of the month that the company should be able to fulfill demand by the end of September.