Apple upgrades iBooks

Apple Computer Inc. on Tuesday updated the company's iBook consumer notebook, adding built-in AirPort Extreme across the line. The new machines feature a 1.33GHz processor at the high-end, and a low-end model that sells for under US$1,000.

"These are the most affordable and fastest iBooks we've ever offered. We really think the iBook is the obvious choice for the digital life on-the-go," David Moody vice president of Worldwide Mac Product Marketing, told MacCentral.

The new iBooks also feature an available SuperDrive DVD burner and iLife, Apple's consumer suite of applications for managing digital music and photos, making movies and music and creating DVDs.

The 12-inch model comes with 256MB DDR SDRAM expandable to up to 1.25GB maximum memory; a 30GB Ultra ATA hard drive; AirPort Extreme 54 Mbps 802.11g wireless networking; two USB 2.0 ports, FireWire 400; VGA video out, S-video and composite video out support; Ethernet (10/100BASE-T); and a slot-load Combo (DVD-ROM/CD-RW) drive.

The mid-range 14-inch model has 256MB DDR SDRAM expandable to up to 1.25GB maximum memory; a 60GB Ultra ATA hard drive; AirPort Extreme 54 Mbps 802.11g wireless networking; two USB 2.0 ports, FireWire 400; VGA video out, S-video and composite video out support; Ethernet (10/100BASE-T); and a slot-load Combo (DVD-ROM/CD-RW) drive.

The high-end 14-inch model has 256MB DDR SDRAM expandable to up to 1.25GB maximum memory; a 60GB Ultra ATA hard drive; AirPort Extreme 54 Mbps 802.11g wireless networking; two USB 2.0 ports, FireWire 400; VGA video out, S-video and composite video out support; Ethernet (10/100BASE-T); and a slot-load SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW) drive.

The 12-inch model is available for $999, while the mid-range 14-inch will cost $1299 and the high-end model will be $1499.

If you are planning to purchase an Apple portable for Christmas but want to wait to make sure a new model isn't released at the last minute, you can rest easy -- Apple says this is their holiday line-up.

"This new line-up of iBooks, along with the current PowerBooks we have will make-up the complete portable line-up we will be offering for the holidays," said Moody.

Compared to older models

The iBook's predecessors topped out at 1.2GHz and was available in three models: 12-inch 1GHz ($1099), 14-inch 1GHz ($1299) and a 14-inch 1.2GHz ($1499). The entire iBook line shared many of the same features including a 512K L2 cache; 1024 x 768 resolution; 256MB DDR266 RAM; Combo Drive; the ATI Mobility Radeon 9200; and 32MB DDR video memory.

The main differences in these models were with hard disk capacity and AirPort Extreme capabilities out of the box. The low-end, 12-inch iBook came with a 30GB hard drive and AirPort Extreme ready, while the mid-range 14-inch iBook had a 40GB hard drive and came AirPort Extreme ready. The high-end 14-inch iBook had a 60GB drive and came with AirPort Extreme built-in.

Update: Added Comments from interviews with Apple executives 10/19/04 12:45 pm

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