Macworld Crowds Hail New PowerBooks

Apple's surprise PowerBook announcements get high marks for design as Macworld Expo attendees weigh their prospects in the market.

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SAN FRANCISCO—The enthusiastic reception afforded Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs Macworld Expo surprise keynote announcement of dramatic new PowerBook portables echoed across the show floor at Moscone Center here.

Mac enthusiasts of every stripe voiced their excitement over the engineering of the new 17- and 12-inch professional models, even as some voiced a more cautious note about the new systems sales prospects.

According to Ruben Jeffries-BlaqueSmith, a technical consultant based in Calif., "I personally loved the 12-inch [PowerBook], because its compact and full of power. But as far as sales go, I see the 17-inch [PowerBook] has a lot of use to certain professionals" in creative fields.

Naomi Pearce, principal with Pearce Communications, a public relations firm in Albany, Calif., agreed that content creators will go for the higher-end model.

Pearce said the 17-inch system will woo creative professionals seeking more mobility from systems equipped with industrial-strength throughput and "a screen that wont make you blind by [age] 40."

Janet Koptic, a graphic designer based in Jamul, Calif., seems to fit this description: The longtime Mac user said she is "definitely" buying the larger model; Koptic said that the large screen size and other features will enhance her work and outweigh the $3,299 price tag for the high-end model.

Similarly, price is little object for Kurt Wyckoff, vice president of sales and marketing with AEC Software of Sterling, Va. Wyckoff said he wants to buy the new notebook models for his staff, even if they run more expensive than many Intel-standard portables. Wyckoffs also considering buying Apples newly announced Keynote presentation package for his sales staff.

"Keynote looks great on a 17-inch monitor," Wyckoff said.