Apple updates iBook laptops

And re-introduces the single-CPU Power Mac G5

Apple updated its iBook consumer notebook line today, as expected, and extended its Power Mac G5 family downmarket with a single-processor 1.8GHz model.

The latest iBooks essentially feature faster processors and bundle AirPort Extreme 802.11g adaptors, previously offered as an optional extra, but the pricing remains roughly the same as before. Bluetooth remains optional.

Apple is offering three standard models, a 1.2GHz unit with a 12.1in display and a 30GB ATA-100 hard drive, and two 1.33GHz iBooks, both with 14.1in LCDs and 60GB ATA-100 disks.

All three ship with 256MB of 266MHz DDR SDRAM, 512KB of on-die L2 cache, two USB 2.0 ports, one Firewire 400 port, 10/100Mbps Ethernet and 56Kbps modems. The lower two models feature combo DVD/CD-RW drives, while the top-end model has a DVD-R/CD-RW unit. Graphics come courtesy of am ATI Mobility Radeon 9200 with 32MB of DDR SDRAM on each model.

All three machines are shipping now, Apple said for £749, £899 and £1049, and in the US for $999, $1299 and $1499.

At the same time, Apple introduced a 1.8GHz Power Mac G5. 'Re-introduced' might be a better word, since the single-processor model was dropped when the Mac maker last updated its G5 desktop line-up in June 2004.

Clearly, the new model is not only intended to provide a low-cost Power Mac G5, but to modulate demand for dual-processor rigs while G5 CPU availability remains tight - a fact Apple alluded to once again during its recent financial results conference call.

The latest G5 machine provides a 600MHz frontside bus, 256MB of 400MHz DDR SDRAM, an Nvidia GeForce FX 5200 Ultra graphics chip with 64MB of DDR video memory fitted on a card in the Mac's AGP 8x Pro slot, a DVD-R/CD-RW optical drive, an 80GB Serial ATA hard disk and Gigabit Ethernet. Bluetooth and 802.11g Wi-Fi are available as optional extras.

Available today, the 1.8GHz G5 will retail for around £1099 here, and $1499 in the US. ®

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