[9:30 AM] MACWORLD Tokyo - Apple Bumps PowerBook To 500 MHz, Adds Two FireWire Ports
Apple has announced an evolutionary upgrade to the PowerBook that will make creative professionals very happy. The company has bumped the product line to 500 MHz with the low end model being bumped to 400 MHz. The company has also announced the addition of FireWire to the portables, a long awaited feature. The new models are also AirPort ready. According to Apple:
Apple® today unveiled its new PowerBook®, the ultimate portable tool for creative professionals. Powered by PowerPC G3 processors running at up to 500 MHz, the new PowerBook features up to 10 hours of battery life* and two built-in FireWire® ports, which let creative professionals easily transfer pro-quality digital video with DV camcorders or external hard drives. Coupled with Apple's Final Cut Pro 1.2 software, the new PowerBook is a complete pro-quality mobile video editing system.
The new PowerBook is AirPort ready with a built-in slot for the AirPort Card and two built-in antennas for communicating with the AirPort Base Station. AirPort, Apple's revolutionary wireless networking solution, provides totally untethered Internet access at speeds of up to 11 megabits per second.
Providing outstanding desktop performance in a slim, lightweight design, the new PowerBook outperforms Pentium III-based notebook systems by up to 30 percent**. Key features include:
PowerPC G3 processors running at speeds of 400 MHz or 500 MHz;
1MB level 2 backside cache and 100 MHz system bus;
Two 400 Mbps built-in FireWire ports for providing data transfer and power to high-speed peripherals;
Support for up to 512MB of SDRAM;
Brilliant 14.1-inch active-matrix display;
A thin and light design that weighs only 5.7 pounds with weight-saving module and battery, or 6.1 pounds with DVD-ROM drive and battery;
High performance Ultra ATA/66 internal hard drives of up to 18GB;
ATI RAGE Mobility 128 graphic controller featuring AGP 2X support for exceptional 2D/3D graphics performance, and 8MB SDRAM of video memory;
DVD-ROM drive with DVD movie playback;
VGA and S-Video ports for dual display and video mirroring;
Two USB ports for connection to the latest generation of computer peripherals;
Built-in 10/100BASE-T Ethernet;
56K modem with V.90 support;
Easy access to RAM expansion and removable hard drive through flip-up keyboard; and
Mac® OS 9, featuring 9 Internet power tools.
Pricing and Availability The new PowerBook is available immediately from Apple Authorized Resellers and The Apple Store in two standard configurations:
PowerBook 400 MHz with 64MB SDRAM, 1MB L2 backside cache , 6GB hard drive, 6x-speed (max) DVD-ROM for an estimated retail price of US$2,499; and
PowerBook 500 MHz with 128MB SDRAM, 1MB L2 backside cache , 12GB hard drive, 6x-speed (max) DVD-ROM for an estimated retail price of US$3,499.
Additional build-to-order options for the new PowerBook include: an 18GB hard drive; up to 512MB of RAM; and third-party options such as the Adaptec PC Card SCSI Adapter, and ZIP and SuperDisk expansion bay modules from VST Technologies.
* Up to 10 hours using the system's dual-battery capability.
** Based on 16 actions in Adobe Photoshop 5.5 when running on battery and AC power.
The Apple Store is all set with the models, so go check it out.
The Mac Observer Spin: This is a strong upgrade to the PowerBook line, though we had hoped to see a model with a 15" screen introduced. Perhaps at the WWDC. Apple still competes very favorably against Wintel in the portable market concerning power. The emasculated Pentiums found in PC laptops can't hold a candle to the G3 which is not hobbled to make it run cool enough o run in a portable enclosure.
It's nice to see Apple finally bring FireWire, their own technology, to their laptop line. Gateway and Sony were first to market with FireWire equipped portables. With Apple joining that club, we hope to see a boost to the FireWire peripheral market.