TMO Gets Close To The New 12" PowerBook (With Pics)

A pple may have pushed off the delivery of iLife for a week, but it made good on producing the 12" PowerBook on time by making them available last Friday, Jan.24, 2003. TMO stopped by an Apple Store to get a closer look, and these are our first impressions.

One thing that may strike you about the new diminutive Mac is that it is, indeed, very small. Compared to an iBook, the 12" PB somehow manages to look a lot smaller, even though they are very near the same size. It could be that the iBookis plastics gives it the look of being bulkier, or it could be the perspective difference from the PowerBookis larger keyboard. Whatever the reason, for anyone looking for a tiny but powerful portable, this PowerBook could be for you.

The 12" PowerBook
(Click the thumbnail for a larger image)

As you might expect, there are engineering touches on this PowerBook that you wonit find anywhere else. For instance, when you look at the tiny unit, with its full size keyboard, you have to wonder just where in the heck the speakers are? If you look on the back of the 12" PowerBook, youill find what looks like small fan vents, but are, in fact, speaker ports. When the PB is opened the screen dips away and down from the base and puts a reflective surface in front of the speakers and, voila! Sound seems to appear from nowhere. Itis very cool, and it seems to work well.

The speakers are in the back
(Click the thumbnail for a larger image)

Another nice touch has to do with the feel of the unit. When you start typing on the new 12" PB you may notice how good the keys feel. We are not sure just what it is that makes the keys feel so different; maybe itis the way they are concave, and maybe itis the "action" of the key mechanism, but we found that the new keyboard felt very good.

The keyboard looks and feels good.
(Click the thumbnail for a larger image)

As you might expect, the new PB feels like a quality piece of work, its 4.6 pounds feels solid. All of the other nice features that many have come to expect from PowerBooks are there: instant-on when you open the lid, OS X, the complete compliment of ports, and that cool glowing Apple logo on the lid.

Speaking of the lid, the display on these units is bright, crisp, and sharp. Appleis 12" portables have been tops in their class for a number of reasons, and the quality of the display is certainly a part of that. Even with a white display behind them, the display on this unit, and the units we saw at MWSF 2003 looked good. With a 1024 x 768 resolution, power users on the go wonit think they are working on a 23" Cinema HD Display, but they will have the resolution they need to get things done.

Our take is that Apple will sell a lot of these units. Weive seen tiny notebooks from other PC makers and, at times, you feel like you arenit working on a real computer at all, but rather on a toy. We donit think youill get that impression with the new 12" PowerBook; it feels very capable of being your only computer.

Product: 12

Company: Apple Computer

List Price: US $1799

Vendor Price: US $1794


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