Ending weeks of rumour and speculation, Apple today upgraded its PowerBook family, bringing its pro-portables up to 1GHz at aggressive price-points. The company has also stolen an industry first with the introduction of the first-ever slot-loading DVD-R SuperDrive.
Prices now start at £1,899 for the 867MHz model that is available now. The 1GHz models should ship in mid-November, priced at £2,278 (Combo CD/DVD drive) and £2,449 (with SuperDrive).
Graphics performance has also been cranked up a notch: PowerBooks now host what Apple describes as "the fastest mobile graphics processor", - the ATI Mobility Radeon 9000. This offers up to 64MB of Double Data Rate RAM with programmable pixel and vertex shading for lighting and shadow effects and cinematic video.
Apple's vice president of hardware product marketing Greg Joswiak said: "This is what our customers have been waiting for. The Titanium PowerBook G4 is the thinnest and lightest pro notebook in the industry. No other pro notebook comes close with these features." The models are one-inch thick and still weigh just 5.4 pounds.
The PowerBook range retains both the 133MHz system bus and 1MB level 3 cache found in the previous range. However, the beefed-up processor power means these portables will run Photoshop up to 44 per cent faster than 2.2 GHz Pentium 4-based notebooks, Apple claims.
The machines host Ultra ATA/66 hard drives in capacities up to 60GB with support for up to 1GB RAM. All models are AirPort-ready - the top two models in the range ship with AirPort cards pre-installed. These Macs offer built-in Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000Base-T) and 56K built-in modems with a single FireWire and two USB ports.
The SuperDrive-equipped specification ships with Apple's iDVD 2 authoring software. Other applications bundled with the PowerBooks include iPhoto, iTunes, iMovie, as well as feature-rich operating system, Mac OS X 10.2.
Model specifications The £1,899 867MHz Power Book G4 carries 1MB DDR level 3 cache, a combination DVD-ROM/CD-RW optical drive, an ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 graphics accelerator with 32MB DDR SDRAM. They ship with 256MB RAM pre-installed (expandable to 1GB), a 40GB hard drive and are AirPort ready.
The 1GHz Power Book G4 hosts a 1MB level 3 and 256K level 2 cache, has 512MB RAM installed, a 60GB hard drive, a combination DVD/CD-RW drive, an ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 graphics accelerator with 64MB DDR RAM and an AirPort card pre-installed. This model costs £2,278. The previous configuration at this place in the range cost £2,748
Top-of-the range, the SuperDrive-equipped PowerBook G4 offers all the features of the 1GHz model, beefed-up with the inclusion of 1GB of pre-installed RAM, and, of course, the SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW). This model costs £2,449. The best available model in Apple's previous pro-portable range cost £3,259.