Some complaints of the award-winning Titanium PowerBook line have been addressed in the newest models released on April 29, according to Apple representatives. AirPort reception has been improved and heat issues have been addressed, they said.
“The reception has certainly been improved for AirPort networks,” Sandy Green, Apple’s PowerBook product line manager, told MacCentral. “The Titanium PowerBook has always met the proper specs regarding AirPort reception, but we’ve heard comments from customers about this, so we wanted to make sure that we improved the reception.”
Green preferred not to comment on how Apple enhanced the AirPort operation. However, many owners of the latest Titanium models attest that wireless networking has definitely been improved. Look for our own hands-on review in the near future.
Green also said that, despite faster versions of the G4 chip in the previous generation of the professional laptop, heat generation has been held down to previous levels, if not lower. Green wouldn’t elaborate on Apple’s technical improvements regarding the heat issue, but said that they have “done a number of different things to distribute the heat.”
More good news: despite more processing power, the new Titanium models still serve up five hours of battery life, Green said. In fact, DVD playback now lasts over two hours, she said.
The new Titanium PowerBook G4s also sport an all-new, high-resolution display, an integrated Digital Visual Interface (DVI) port, an integrated Gigabit Ethernet and the addition of a high-speed L3 cache of 1MB of Double Data Rate (DDR) SDRAM. While the new display and faster processors are getting the most attention, the importance of the level 3 cache shouldn’t be overlooked, according to Gail Nishimura, Apple’s PowerBook product manager.
“The cache does wonders for Final Cut Pro and Photoshop users,” she said. “With the faster processors and 1MB of level 3 cache, the new PowerBooks more than double the performance of the last G3 PowerBook.”
For superior graphics performance, the new PowerBook G4 line also includes the ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 graphics processor with AGP 4X support and 32MB of fast DDR video memory. The doubling of the graphics memory from the previous Titanium line translates into 68 frames per second at millions of colors when playing Quake, Nishimura said. That’s an 84 percent performance increase, she added.
The new 15.2-inch mega-wide display features an enhanced resolution of 1280 x 854 pixels, 23 percent more than previous models, along with higher brightness and better color saturation. This makes for a “great user experience” thanks to the wide viewing angle and improved color saturation,” Nishimura said.
The new integrated Digital Visual Interface (DVI) port for analog and digital video output enables a pure digital connection to Apple’s flat-panel displays and the new generation of DVI-equipped digital projectors. A new Apple DVI to ADC Adapter lets you connect the Titanium to Apple’s line of all digital flat-panel displays that feature the Apple Display Connector (ADC), including the new 23-inch Cinema HD Display.
Apple’s DVI to ADC Adapter carries the pure digital video signal, USB data and power over a single cable, simplifying setup and minimizing cable clutter on the desktop, Nishimura said. The adapter also provides the ability to add a second Apple flat-panel display to selected Power Mac G4 configurations, including models with the new NVIDIA GeForce Titanium graphics processor.
“Connect your Titanium PowerBook to the 23-inch Cinema HD Display and you’re looking at 3.3 million pixel quality,” Nishimura said.
With all these improvements, there are now five different ways to connect to digital or analog displays, Green said. And some projectors are now sporting a DVI connector, she added.
“The Titanium PowerBook is the most well connected notebook computer around,” Green said. “One little thing we did for ease of use was hard coding of the F7 function key to simplify toggling between dual display mode and video mirroring. This is handy if you have dual display mode implemented, but then want to switch to video mirroring later to, for instance, do a presentation.”
The new Titanium’s also let you do a “lid closed” operation if you want to push all the video memory to the flat panel display, Green said. The new models bring back the addition of the audio line in by request.
“The new Titanium PowerBooks are really comprehensive in terms of their power and features,” Green said. “And they’re still the same size and weight despite all the improvements. Compare them with a similarly featured Sony or Dell and you’ll see that the latter are up to 1.7-inches thick and weigh as much as eight pounds or more.”
The Titanium offers a 133MHz system bus and a 56K modem. All PowerBook models feature built-in antennas and an AirPort Card slot for 802.11-based AirPort wireless communications at up to 11 megabits per second; the 800MHz model comes with an AirPort Card pre-installed.
All PowerBook G4 notebooks include FireWire and USB ports along with Apple’s digital hub software (iPhoto, iMovie and iTunes).