As expected, Apple has unveiled its new PowerBook, with a G3 speed up to 500MHz that makes it "the fastest portable ever" according to Apple. Apple claims the new PowerBook outperforms Pentium III-based notebook systems by up to 30 per cent.

The new AirPort-ready portable professional Mac - unveiled at Macworld Expo Tokyo - also boasts two built-in FireWire ports. The company also claims that battery life has been increased to an impressive 10 hours.

DV on the move Apple is following its iMac DV lead by adding fast connectivity in the form of 400Mbps FireWire. PowerBook-packing creative pros will now be able to simply transfer pro-quality digital video to and from DV camcorders or external hard drives.

"The new PowerBook is the best tool in the world for creative professionals," said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. "For example, with Final Cut Pro video editing software, it’s the ultimate mobile movie studio."

The new PowerBook is AirPort ready with a built-in slot for the AirPort Card and two built-in antennas for communicating with the AirPort Base Station. AirPort is Apple’s 11 megabits-per-second wireless-networking solution, first seen in the consumer portable iBook at New York's Macworld Expo last July.

PowerBooks are now available running at PowerPC G3 speeds of either 400MHz or 500MHz. Each has 1MB of level 2 backside cache and a 100MHz system bus. The lightweight (5.7lb), slim design remains pretty much unchanged from the previous PowerBook range, with a 14.1-inch active-matrix display supported by an ATI RAGE Mobility 128 graphic controller featuring AGP 2X support for "exceptional" 2D/3D graphics performance, and 8MB VRAM .

DVD-based PowerBooks now ship with a maximum 18GB Ultra ATA hard drive, and a maximum RAM of 512MB. As previously, there are two USB ports, built-in 10/100Base-T ethernet, and a 56K modem with V.90 support.

The 400MHz entry-level PowerBook features 64MB RAM and 6GB hard drive. £2,349 gets you a 500MHz PowerBook with 128MB RAM and 12GB hard drive. At the top end, a £2,737, 500MHz PowerBook ships with 128MB RAM, 18GB hard drive, as well as extra battery and AC adaptor. All models boast DVD-ROM/DVD-Video.