Apple Computer on Tuesday, Oct. 16, fulfilled the predictions of Mac handicappers across the Web when it rolled out buffed-up configurations of its professional and consumer laptop lines.
The latest iteration of the professional-strength Titanium PowerBook G4 includes a top-of-the-line configuration that packs a 667-megahertz PowerPC G4 processor and a 133-MHz system bus. The system costs $2,999 and includes an ATI Mobility Radeon AGP 4X graphics processor; Gigabit Ethernet; 256 megabytes of SDRAM, expandable to 1 gigabyte; a 30-GB Ultra ATA/66 hard drive; and an AirPort card for wireless networking. Apple offers hard drives with a capacity of up to 48 GB, and users can choose between a slot-loading DVD-ROM drive or a new slot-loading CD-RW drive.
When it debuted at Januarys Macworld Expo in San Francisco, the PowerBook G4 was available at a top processor speed of 500 MHz and bus speed of 100 MHz for $3,500. Like the original release, the new system weighs in at 5.3 pounds and features a 15.2-inch-wide screen and titanium chassis.
Apple also rolled out a $2,199, 550-MHz system that includes a 100-MHz system bus, 128 MB of SDRAM and a 20-GB Ultra ATA/66 hard drive; it lacks an AirPort card. The company announced an introductory offer for the new notebooks: Through Dec. 31, each new model will ship with double the listed amount of RAM.
On the consumer front, Apple rolled out three new configurations of the sleek iBook that it debuted in May. The new top-of-the-line iBook, priced at $1,699, packs a 600 MHz PowerPC G3 processor, a 100-MHz system bus, a 20-GB Ultra ATA hard drive and a DVD-ROM/CD-RW "Combo" drive. The previous top-drawer iBook included a 500-MHz processor and a 66-MHz system bus and carried a price of $1,799.
Apple also unveiled a $1,499, 600-MHz configuration with a 15-GB hard drive and a DVD-ROM and a $1,299, 500-MHz model with the original 66-MHz bus, a 15-GB disk and a CD-ROM drive.
Like their predecessors, the new iBooks weigh 4.9 pounds each and include 12.1-inch active matrix displays with a top resolution of 1,024 by 768 pixels.
All the new PowerBooks and iBooks will ship with Mac OS X version 10.1 and Mac OS 9.2.1 preinstalled.
The latest product tweaks should give a boost to Apples laptop sales, which it has credited as an important driver of revenue in 2001. On Wednesday, Oct. 17, Apple will announce its results for the fiscal fourth quarter.