Apple has ramped-up its iBook range, introducing faster processors and fitting more memory as standard, starting at £699.

Still driven by G4 processors, the consumer portables run at up to 1.42GHz, against the previous top-of-the-line 1.33GHz.

The range has been whittled down to just two models: the 12-inch 1.33GHz iBook and the 14-inch 1.42GHz iBook.

Both iBooks have 512MB of memory as standard; better graphics processors; and now ship with Bluetooth as well as AirPort Extreme built-in.

Apple's move to beef-up installed memory means iBooks can now carry a maximum 1.5GB of memory against the previous 1.25GB maximum.

PowerBook technologies added

The company has also equipped the new iBooks with two technologies previously only available in its PowerBooks: the scrolling TrackPad and the Sudden Motion Sensor (which protects a hard drive if the Mac is accidentally dropped). Battery life is six hours.

Apple's vice president of Mac product marketing, David Moody, called the new iBooks: "The perfect portable for the go anywhere, do anything digital lifestyle of consumers and students."

Better graphics, wireless connectivity

The graphics processor (GPU) has been upgraded, from the ATI Mobility Radeon 9200 to the ATI Mobility Radeon 9550. The GPU carries 32MB of dedicated video memory. The optical drive is either a slot-loading SuperDrive, for burning DVDs and CDs, or a slot-load Combo drive for watching DVDs and burning CDs.

Every iBook now features built-in Bluetooth 2.0 (Enhanced Data Rate) and integrated AirPort Extreme 54 Mbps 802.11g WiFi wireless networking. This implementation of Bluetooth offers up to three times greater data rates for faster wireless connectivity to a range of peripherals and is also compatible with Bluetooth 1.2 devices.

Model specifications

The 1.33 GHz G4 iBook weighs 4.9 pounds and costs £699. It offers a 12.1-inch (diagonal) active-matrix TFT screen and a 40GB hard drive. It is equipped with a slot-load Combo drive.

The 1.42 GHz iBook weighs 5.9 pounds and costs £899. It offers a 14.1-inch screen and a 60GB drive and ships with a slot-loading SuperDrive (DVD+/-R/CD-RW) as standard.

Connectivity ports for both portable Macs include: 10/100 BASE-T Ethernet, two USB 2.0 ports and one FireWire 400 port. VGA video out, S-video and composite video out support; and a 56K v.92 modem.

Additional build-to-order options include: a 60GB, 80GB or 100GB Ultra ATA/100 hard drive and the AppleCare Protection Plan.

All new Macs ship with iLife and Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger.

All prices correct at the UK Apple Store and inclusive of VAT.