Apple Unveils New Laptops, Mac Browser

CEO Steve Jobs kicked off this week's Macworld Expo by rolling out a new Mac browser and presentation package as well as a raft of new and enhanced consumer multimedia apps.

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.