Apple today made some significant improvements to its professional and consumer lines of portable computers. Both the PowerBook G4 and the iBook get faster processors, better storage capacity and numerous other changes.
PowerBook G4 — faster all around
The outward appearance of the titanium-clad PowerBook G4 is identical to its predecessor, but what’s under the hood has changed. The PowerBook G4’s processor has been bumped up from 400 and 500MHz to 550 and 667MHz respectively. Like the Power Mac G4, the 667MHz PowerBook G4 also gets 133MHz system bus, while the 550MHz system retains the 100MHz bus of the previous generation. Both systems come equipped with 256K of on-chip Level 2 cache, which now runs at full processor speed — the older PowerBooks sported 1MB of backside L2 cache, but it ran at only half the processor’s clock speed.
Of significant note to PowerBook buyers is the adoption of ATI’s Mobility Radeon AGP 4x graphics system, which replaces the aging ATI RAGE Mobility 128 system that’s been standard issue in both the previous PowerBook G4 and the FireWire-equipped PowerBook G3 that preceded it. The systems come equipped with 16MB of Double Data Rate (DDR) video memory. The new PowerBooks both get Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000baseT) networking — a first on laptops, according to Apple.
For optical storage, a DVD-ROM drive is standard, but a CD-RW drive is now offered as an option. Hard disk storage has been boosted as well — 20GB and 30GB drives Ultra ATA/66 are standard on the 550MHz and 667MHz model respectively, up from 10 or 20GB on previous models. 48GB is also available as an option, replacing an optional 30GB drive on previous PowerBook G4s.
Wireless networking is now standard issue on the high-end PowerBook G4 — the system comes equipped with an AirPort card. Both new PowerBooks get a new small, lightweight power adapter.
The new PowerBook G4s also comes pre-installed with Mac OS X 10.1 and Mac OS 9.2.1.
128MB RAM comes standard on the 550MHz model, while the 667MHz model ships with 256MB installed. Apple also indicates that buyers can score twice the amount of RAM as the standard configuration for each PowerBook G4 for a limited time — the details of Apple’s
Double for Nothing RAM promotion are online.
The 550MHz model retails for US$2,199 while the 667MHz model retails for $2,999.
iBook boosts speed, storage, more
Apple also made some significant changes to the iBook. It, too, scored faster processing and a new, faster system bus, more storage capacity and more RAM standard across the line. The Top-of-the-line DVD-ROM/CD-RW “Combo” drive-equipped iBook also got a price break.
While still enclosed in the recently redesigned polycarbonate chassis introduced this past Spring, the iBook is split between three different models: a 500MHz model equipped with a CD-ROM drive and two 600MHz systems, with either a DVD-ROM or “Combo” DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive. The 600MHz systems now garner a 100MHz system bus, replacing the 66MHz bus that’s long been part of the iBook design.
All systems now offer 128MB of RAM standard, which should give the petite laptops more breathing room when it comes to running Mac OS X 10.1 and Mac OS 9.2.1, both of which come installed.
Storage capacity has been increased as well. The 500MHz and DVD-ROM-clad 600MHz systems now get 15GB of hard disk space, up from 10GB on previous models. 20GB comes standard on the Combo drive-equipped iBook. The updated iBook also includes Apple’s newer, small, lightweight power adapter.
Other features remain unchanged. The system still comes equipped with ATI’s RAGE Mobility 128 graphics controller with 8MB RAM on a 2x AGP bus. The iBook is AirPort-ready but does not include a card standard on any configurations; and the diminutive laptop still carries the same suite of connectors down its left-hand side — USB, FireWire, video out, 56K modem and 10/100baseT Ethernet and so on. iTunes and iMovie 2 come pre-installed, as well.
For the 500MHz CD-ROM-equipped model, you’ll spend $1,299. The DVD-ROM 600MHz system costs $1,499, and the 600MHz “Combo” iBook costs $100 less than its predecessor, at $1,699.
The new iBooks and PowerBook G4 systems can be ordered now from
The Apple Store.