Apple Unveils New Laptops, Mac Browser

By Matthew Rothenberg  |  Posted 2003-01-07

Apple Unveils New Laptops, Mac Browser

SAN FRANCISCO—After promising "two Macworlds worth of stuff," Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs kicked off this weeks Macworld Expo/San Francisco Tuesday by introducing 17- and 12-inch versions of its professional PowerBook portable, a new Apple-developed Web browser, an Apple-branded Mac presentation package, and a variety of new and enhanced consumer multimedia applications.

The 17-inch PowerBook features a 1,440-by-900-pixel, wide-screen display with a 16-by-10 aspect ratio and a backlit keyboard that automatically senses ambient room light. It measures 1 inch thick; the anodized aluminum frame weighs 6.8 pounds. It supports Bluetooth and 802.11g wireless networking as well as 800-Mbps FireWire; it packs a SuperDrive, a 1GHz PowerPC G4 processor with 1MB of L3 cache and a GeForce 4 440 Go graphics chip. It also includes two USB ports, a standard 400-Mbps FireWire option, support for a variety of external displays and audio-in.

The device will ship next month for $3,299.

Meanwhile, Apple rolled out a 12-inch version that measures 1.2 inches thick and weighs 4.6 pounds. It features a full-size keyboard, a slot-loading combo drive, a 10-by-7 display, an 867-MHz G4 chip, a GeForce 4 420 Go graphics chip and built-in Bluetooth.

The system is slated to ship in two weeks for $1,799; an 802.11g option will be $99, and a SuperDrive-equipped model will cost $1,999.

Apple also released AirPort Extreme, a new 802.11g-compliant base station with throughput of 54 Mbps and support for up to 50 users as well as USB printing and wireless bridging. It costs $199.

As rumored on the Web in the days before the big Mac show, Jobs took the wraps off Safari, a fast new Web browser that he said the company based on KHTML, an open-source HTML rendering engine popular in the Linux market. Jobs said Apple will make the Safari enhancements to KHTML available today as open source.

Safari, which features a minimal user interface in the brushed-metal motif that has become an Apple trademark, downloads HTML, runs JavaScript and performs other tasks significantly faster than competing wares, such as Internet Explorer, Netscape Communicator and the open-source Chimera. It features a bug-report button as well as new controls for navigating through multipage sites and managing bookmarks.

Safari runs atop the 10.2 "Jaguar" release of Mac OS X; a public beta version is available now for free download.

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In a surprise move, Jobs announced Keynote, a new presentation application for Mac OS X that he revealed he secretly used to create every public presentation he gave through 2002.

Keynote features a variety of typographic effects; graphics features with full alpha-channel controls and compositing capabilities that tap Mac OS Xs Quartz imaging technology; and built-in tools for creating a variety of multimedia-rich tables and charts. A Themes feature lets users apply a variety of looks to presentations.

Keynote supports a plethora of graphics formats, includes an extensive graphics library, and comes with a library of 2D and 3D transition effects that use Quartz and OpenGL technologies. It uses an XML-based open file format, and imports and exports PowerPoint presentations, PDF documents and QuickTime files.

Keynote runs on Mac OS X 10.2 and is available now for $99.

Jobs also showed off more tightly integrated upgrades to Apples range of consumer-friendly multimedia applications—iPhoto, iDVD, iMovie and iPhoto—and announced that the software will be bundled under the moniker "iLife" and will ship Jan. 25. iLife will be bundled free with all new Macs; while current Mac owners will be able to download iTunes, iPhoto and iMovie free, the iLife bundle with iDVD will retail for $49. "Were going to do for digital-lifestyle applications what Microsoft Office did for productivity applications," said Jobs.

On other consumer fronts, Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Philip Schiller demonstrated Final Cut Express, a new, easy-to-use version of the companys Final Cut Pro video-editing package, available now for $299.

Jobs also touted Apples recent efforts to lure Windows users into the Mac camp. He said that for December, the companys 51 retail stores in the United States generated $148 million in revenues; 50 percent of the computers sold via the outlets were to Windows "switchers," he said.

Repeating a key Apple theme of the past couple years, Jobs continued to promote the companys ongoing campaign to migrate the platform from the classic Mac OS to the Unix-based Mac OS X.

In an announcement that will please audio professionals whove hesitated to leap to Mac OS X, Jobs announced that DigiDesigns Pro Tools audio-editing application will finally ship this month for Mac OS X.

Meanwhile, Jobs aimed a thinly veiled barb at Quark Inc., whose XPress page-layout package is now the major professional Mac application still available for Mac OS 9 only. "The Mac OS 9 transition is basically over," Jobs said. "Weve got a few laggard apps—we all know which one were talking about," he said, provoking laughter from the crowd.

Jobs predicted that 9 million to 10 million users will have standardized on Mac OS X by the end of 2003.

Building on Apples vow to end Mac OS 9 booting in new Mac models, Jobs announced that all new versions of Apples application software will boot in Mac OS X only.

(Editors Note: This story has been modified since its original posting to correct an editorial error; the 17-inch PowerBook was originally identified as a 1MB PowerPC G4 processor, instead of a 1GHz PowerPC processor.)

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