Apple has announced its newly designed iBook replacement, the MacBook.

The company had been expected to reveal its new product last week.

The MacBook features an Intel Core Duo processor and a 13-inch widescreen display. The company claims the new Mac to be "up to five times faster than the iBook and up to four times faster than the 12-inch PowerBook".

The three-strong family of portables replaces both the iBook and the 12-inch PowerBook, the company confirmed.

Feature-packed portable tempts and teases

Like the MacBook Pro, the new Macs feature built-in iSight video cameras, Front Row (and Apple Remote).

Additional features include: DVI with dual display support, optical digital audio input and output, Gigabit Ethernet, Sudden Motion Sensor, Scrolling TrackPad and Apple's innovative new MagSafe Power Adapter.

"Apple began the transition to Intel Core Duo-based notebooks in February with the 15-inch MacBook Pro, and now just 90 days later we have completed the transition with the release of the all-new MacBook," said Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing.

"The complete MacBook lineup leads the industry with Apple's trademark innovative design and advanced mobile features - from top to bottom it is the best notebook line that we have ever offered."

Also in black...

With prices starting at £749, the MacBook lineup includes three models: 1.83GHz and 2.0GHz MacBooks in a newly designed white enclosure and a 2.0GHz MacBook in a stunning new black enclosure.

The new machines feature a completely new system architecture including a 667MHz front-side bus and 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM memory expandable to 2GB. At about one-inch thin, the new MacBook is 20 per cent thinner than the iBook and features a new 13-inch glossy widescreen display which is (a claimed) 79 per cent brighter than that fielded in recent iBooks and 12-inch PowerBooks. Resolution is 1,280 x 800 - so you get 30 per cent more viewing area, too.

The new models ship with Mac OS X 10.4 'Tiger', iLife '06 and Photo Booth.

Innovation-packed machines

As with the MacBook Pro, the MagSafe Power Adapter safely disconnects from the notebook when there is strain on the power cord, helping to prevent the notebook from falling off its work surface.

Every MacBook also includes Apple's Sudden Motion Sensor that is designed to protect the hard drive in case of a fall, and all MacBooks include a Scrolling TrackPad to easily scroll through long webpages or pan across large photographs.

For networking, all the new models boast 10/100/1000 BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet for high-speed networking, built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11g WiFi, built-in Bluetooth 2.0+EDR (Enhanced Data Rate), two USB 2.0 ports, combination analogue and optical digital audio input and output ports, one FireWire port and a mini-DVI video output to connect up to a 23-inch Apple Cinema HD Display.

Pricing and availability

The new MacBook is available to order now through the Apple Store, Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorised Resellers. The UK store states a 3-5 day wait for the two white models and a 5-7 day wait for the black MacBook.

The 1.83GHz, 13-inch white MacBook costs £749. Its features include:

13.3-inch glossy widescreen 1280 x 800 display with 250 cd/m2 brightness;
667MHz front-side bus;
512MB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, expandable to 2GB;
60GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5,400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
A slot-load Combo (DVD-ROM/CD-RW) optical drive;
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950;
One audio line-in and one audio line-out port, each supporting both optical digital and analogue;

The 2.0GHz, 13-inch white MacBook, for a suggested retail price of £899, includes:

13.3-inch glossy widescreen 1280 x 800 display with 250 cd/m2 brightness;
667MHz front-side bus;
512MB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, expandable to 2GB;
60GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5,400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
A slot-load SuperDrive (DVD±RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950;
One audio line-in and one audio line-out port, each supporting both optical digital and analogue.

The 2.0GHz, 13-inch black MacBook costs £1,028. It includes:

13.3-inch glossy widescreen 1280 x 800 display with 250 cd/m2 brightness;
667MHz front-side bus;
512MB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, expandable to 2GB;
80GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5,400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
A slot-load SuperDrive (DVD±RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950;
One audio line-in and one audio line-out port, each supporting both optical digital and analogue.

Additional build-to-order options include the ability to upgrade to 80GB, 100GB or 120GB 5,400 rpm hard drives, up to 2GB memory, an Apple USB Modem, Apple Mini-DVI to DVI adaptor, Apple Mini-DVI to VGA adapter, and the AppleCare Protection Plan.