Dual-Core Desktops Lead Apples Product Blitz

Apple delivers its long-awaited dual-core Power Mac G5, along with updated PowerBooks that promise nicer resolution and improved battery life.

Apple Inc. introduced a raft of new technologies at an invitation-only news event Wednesday, at the debut of its long-awaited Power Mac G5 desktop line, which features dual-core processors, along with new PowerBook notebooks and its latest image-editing software.

While the photographic production applications may have represented the most intriguing new tools from the Cupertino, Calif.-based company, the revised Power Mac G5, along with the new iMac G5 introduced earlier this month, represent the first major computer hardware revisions from Apple in some time.

The company, which has committed itself to moving its computer lines from PowerPC processors to Intel Corp. x86 chips beginning in 2006, has rolled out numerous updates for the iMac, Power Mac and Mac Mini desktops, as well as for its PowerBook and iBook portables.

But, aside from adding faster processors and more standard memory and updating aspects such as graphic capabilities, those updates did little to change the basic design of each machine.

The move to update the Power Mac G5 and PowerBook lines also shows that, despite Apples pledge to fully switch to Intel chips by 2007, the company is continuing to move forward by offering more powerful systems based its current processor, the PowerPC.

The company has long been expected to move its Power Mac G5 to IBMs dual-core PowerPC970MP processor, for example.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read more about the PowerPC 970MP.

Apple last updated its Power Mac G5 line in April, when it bumped its speed from a maximum of 2.5GHz to 2.7GHz by rolling out a model with dual 2.7GHz PowerPC 970 chips.

During June, it phased out single-processor, 1.8GHz Power Mac G5s in favor of its current lineup of dual-processor 2.3GHz, 2.5GHz and 2.7GHz models.

The Power Mac G5 Quad, which offers quad-core processing with two 2.5 GHz dual-core PowerPC G5 processors, will become available in early November for $3,299, and will offer 512MB of 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM expandable up to 16GB, along with a 250GB Serial ATA hard drive, and a NVIDIA GeForce 6600 graphics chip.

It will offer three PCI expansion slots, dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, and Apples 16x SuperDrive with CD and DVD-R.

The companys new Power Mac G5 Dual, available Wednesday, will retail for $1,999 and offer a dual-core 2.0GHz PowerPC G5 processor along with all of the same features, while the Power Mac G5 Dual with a dual-core 2.3GHz processor will retail for $2,499.

In its PowerBook line, Apple introduced three new models promising improved screen resolution and stronger batteries.

The company also began offering the DVD-burning SuperDrive on all of its PowerBook models.

The new lineup, available Wednesday, consists of a 1.5GHz 12-inch PowerBook with an 8x SuperDrive, as well as a 1.67 GHz 15-inch machine and a 17-inch notebook.

All the models include an ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 graphics chip with 128MB DDR dedicated video memory and built-in support for Apples 30-inch Cinema High HD Display.

The machines also offer onboard Bluetooth connectivity, AirPort Wi-Fi wireless networking, a scrolling TrackPad, and feature the companys Sudden Motion Sensor technology.

The 1.5GHz 12-inch PowerBook G4 will retail for $1,499, while the 1.67GHz 15-inch PowerBook G4 comes in at $1,999.

The 1.67GHz 17-inch PowerBook G4 is available for $2,499.

The image software, dubbed as Aperture, claims to deliver the same level of performance for professional photography that Apples Final Cut Pro offers for filmmaking.

The company said the applications boast a more advanced and faster process for working with Raw images in cameras and making them as usable as JPEG files.

The package also offers nondestructive image processing, color managed printing and custom Web- and book-publishing capabilities.

Aperture will arrive in November and is expected to retail for $499.

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