Apple Shows New Intel Notebooks, Software

At the Macworld Expo, CEO Steve Jobs emphasizes the speed of the first two Macintosh computer models to be based on Intel chips and demonstrates updated versions of iLife and iWork.

SAN FRANCISCO—Once again, Apple Computer Inc. CEO Steve Jobs succeeded in confounding any one rumormongers prognostications. During his Tuesday keynote address opening the Macworld Expo conference here, he unveiled not one but two of the first-ever Macintosh computer models to be based on chips from Intel Corp.

In addition, Jobs demonstrated updated—and Intel-ready—versions of Apples iLife and iWork software suites of creative and productivity applications, respectively.

Midway through his speech, Jobs introduced Intel Corp. CEO and president Paul Otellini, who entered the stage through a curtain of smoke, clad in a "bunny suit," or clean suit used in the production of processors.

The two said the companies were "a little ahead of schedule" in their goal, announced last June, of producing Macs powered by Intel processors.

As proof, Jobs debuted a new iMac model based on Intels new dual-core Core Duo processor, formerly code-named Yonah. The new iMac became available Tuesday.

Perhaps to minimize the perception of a sea change in the product line, or to reassure potential purchasers of these or the remaining Power PC-based models, Jobs stressed that the new iMac will retain the same design, the same features and the same pricing as the models introduced in October.

Inside, however, the new iMacs will be all-new. The 17-inch model, which retails for $1,299, includes a 1.83GHz Core Duo processor with a 667MHz bus, 512MB of RAM, a 160GB hard drive and an 8x SuperDrive, as well as Airport Extreme wireless connectivity and a 128MB ATI Radeon X1600 PCI Express graphics card.

The 20-inch model, priced at $1,699, ups the processor spec to a 2.0GHz Core Duo and the hard drive to 250GB.

Jobs said the new models were two to three times faster than the previous model, the PowerPC G5. He quoted SPECint (integer) and SPECfp (floating point) test ratings to support this statement.

However, he said, in real-world usage, not all applications will see that corresponding speed gain.

All of the days presentations were made on the new Intel-based iMacs, with no glitches. Jobs said the new iLife 06 and iWork 06 suites ship as UB (Universal Binaries); that is, with Intel-native and Power PC-native versions.

In addition, Jobs introduced the MacBook Pro, a PowerBook replacement laptop.

"Were done with Power," Jobs said, referring to both the name and the PowerPC processor. He said the company had struggled, and failed, to mitigate the heat issues of PowerPC G5 processors in notebooks.

Jobs said that from now on, there will be a dual processor in every MacBook Pro, making the new model four to five times faster than the PowerBook G4.

"Its the fastest Mac notebook ever," he said, "and the thinnest." The MacBook Pro, which will ship in February, will weigh 5.6 pounds and be only 1 inch thick.

/zimages/3/28571.gifRead more here about the first Intel-based iMacs.

The MacBook Pro will feature a 15.4-inch LCD display that, Jobs said, "is as bright as our Cinema Displays." The notebook will also include a built-in iSight video camera, an Apple Remote with Front Row, DVI (Digital Video Interactive) out, one FireWire 400 port, two USB 2.0 ports and an ExpressCard slot.

The notebook will also feature Mag Safe, a new power adaptor connector held onto the case by magnets. If the cable is tugged, the adaptor will release safely, preventing the possible fall of the notebook.

"Nobody thinks of the details as Apple does," said Bob ODonnell, vice president with IDC in San Mateo, Calif., adding that the notebooks price was at the high end. "Its a premium expression and an equally premium price—classic Apple in that regard."

Next Page: Modem issues and updates to iLife and iWork.