|The rumor mill has been going full force, and the Observer staff was not disappointed when, during the later part of the keynote, Steve Jobs finally put up a chart showing the four sectors of their product line. The professional portable (PowerBook) and desktop (G3 Blue and White) as well as the consumer desktop (iMac) were already filled in, with a big question mark in the consumer portable category.
As Steve mulled over the logic of their naming scheme (consumer products having an 'i' and portable products having 'book') the name iBook was the logical choice. We were then able to gaze upon the product on the projection screen above the stage. The unit has the same friendly industrial design as the other products, making you want to reach out, touch it, admire the curves and styling, etc.
The specs are impressive given the price. There is a 300 MHz G3 processor, 12.1" TFT display which can do 800 x 600 pixels, an ATI graphics chipset with 4 MB VRAM, a 24X CD-ROM, 32 MB base RAM, and USB, 56K modem and 10/100 Mbps Ethernet ports for communications. The battery will last up to 6 hours, and a charger is included. Initial color choices will be Tangerine and Blueberry.
One item of note is the clasp, or lack thereof. Instead of latching closed, the iBook makes use of a dual-staged hinge in much the same way that cell phones "flip." As you close it, it snaps shut and stays that way until you open it back up. Very handy, indeed.
In an effort to make the machine affordable for the consumer and educational markets, the pricing has been set at $1599, which is very competitive when compared to the pricing of similar Wintel notebooks with the same feature set.
In another move that will continue to position Apple as a technology leader and not follower, 11 Mbps wireless networking is included. This could create a new paradigm where numerous users can access networking services without the annoyance of cables, hubs, and the like.
We can't wait to get our hands on one for an extended period of time. The Apple booth was mobbed immediately following the keynote, so we'll provide more info as it comes in.
You can find more information about the P1 at Apple's web site.
The Mac Observer: Tangerine? Is it the fact that Tangerine is among the least popular choices of color for the iMac, or just the fact that its ugly that Apple chose it to be half the color options for the iBook? Very strange indeed although Steve Jobs' choices have proven fairly on track so far. :-)
While many had hoped the iBook would be priced a little cheaper than US$1600, when you consider the feature set, it is a great price indeed. There are no comparable Wintel laptops with anywhere near the power of a 300 MHz G3 in that price range. The iBook will be a huge success. Not "could" be, "will" be.