Apple Updates iBook, Mac Mini

Apple boosts the iBook and the Mac mini in time for back-to-school sales.

Apple finally announced some overdue upgrades to its iBook line and Mac mini line, just in time for back-to-school. Apple fans are pleased, though PC fans are wondering, What took them so long? Many of the upgrades are similar to those put in place on the PC side more than six months ago.

The upgrade to the iBook was announced, and surprisingly, its still not widescreen, which many of us had anticipated. The upgrades are mostly in the way of "options" that are now standard.

The 12-inch iBook gets a processor upgrade, from 1.2GHz to 1.33GHz. It adds some needed speed to compete with other emerging value notebooks, such as the Averatec AV4265-EH1.

Standard memory size has been increased to 512MB RAM (up from 256MB), and the hard drive is now 40GB, configurable up to 100GB for an extra $200.

The larger, 14-inch iBook also gets a processor bump to 1.42 GHz, and a larger standard 60GB hard drive, upgradeable to 100GB for $150. On both laptops, the graphics gets a boost with the ATI Mobility Radeon 9550.

Like the Powerbooks, both the 12-inch and 14-inch iBooks kick Bluetooth up a notch with EDR (Enhanced Data Rate). Bluetooth with EDR triples the current maximum speed ( about 1Mbps) to 3Mbps. Consumers wont see an immediate benefit because of a lack of available Bluetooth 2.0 peripherals.

The hard drive also gets some added protection with Apples Sudden Motion Sensor. If you accidentally drop your laptop, the heads of the hard drive park away from the spinning disks, similar to an old record player, saving your data from corruption.

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