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January 07, 2003

Apple wants my soul....

Now everybody knows why Apple executives seemed to think this would be a better-than-ordinary Macworld Expo.

My personal must-have, no-permanent-job-be-damned object is the new 12-inch PowerBook. It resembles an aluminum-encased G4 iBook (no gigabit Ethernet, 640 megs max memory, general layout), but is available with a SuperDrive for $1999, which nearly perfectly fits what I had in mind way back here.

Also released:
The LuxoBook: Apple's 17-inch PowerBook

I don't want to be on a flight next to somebody with one of these. I agree that the engineering to put a 17-inch LCD in a 1-inch thick package that weighs 6.8 pounds borders on the miraculous. This would be a great desktop replacement if it never left your desktop. It's made of a new aluminum alloy instead of titanium, and the 15-inch SuperDrive price drops to $2799.

Both new PowerBooks have Bluetooth built in and the Wi-Fi/Airport antennae up by the screen like the iBook, which should help the range.

Safari "turbo browser"
Apple is definitely aiming for a younger crowd with the new nomenclature: here's a "turbo browser", and the new AirPort is "Extreme".

Safari doesn't break a lot of new ground. It seems like it's what Jobs promised: a fast native browser with a clean interface. I haven't used it long enough to love or hate anything, but I definitely noticed the lack of tabbed browsing almost immediately.

Airport Extreme

The new Airport Extreme base station is actually two products, one without modem or antenna jack for $199, one with both for $249. Both have a USB port that lets you locate your base station near your printer and use the base station as a wireless print server. Update: Someone pointed out that I'm missing the lead in this story: the new EXTREME AirPort goes all the way to 54 megabits per second, rather than just to 11, like the old Airport. Of course, since only a tiny fraction of us are sucking from a straw any larger than that, AirPort Extreme is a little excessive until 802.11 makes a bigger showing in home electronics.

Apple also claims the new base stations will support up to 50 users. I'm very curious to see one of these dissected, so we can see what they've done to support more concurrent users (the original base station is a small embedded system with a standard Lucent PC Card) with 5 times the throughput -- what about the new base stations would let them handle 25 times the theoretical throughput?

Also, the new Airport Extreme cards are actually mini PCI cards, like those IBM has migrated to on the ThinkPads. An adapter is necessary to plug them into earlier iMacs (and I suppose would be necessary for PowerBooks released before today).

Also: Lots and lots and lots and lots of new software.

January 7, 2003 in Apple - PowerBooks | Permalink


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The BabyBook (as Kevin coined it) is a way cool move. It's got "business traveller" written all over it. Of course, I'd rather have the 17 incher...

For a beta Safari isn't bad (I'm using it now). I really hope they add tabs, I'm addicted to tabbed browsing. And as they're relying on System Preferences for a fair amount of functionality, the browser lacks any significant control over helpers for MIME types (try viewing a page with an object of type "text/html") or protocols (like using Eudora or Entourage for mail links). There are some niceties not found elsewhere, like the SnapBack pages and Rendezvous functionality.

Posted by: Howard Fore at Jan 7, 2003 10:59:56 PM

I think of them as the miniBook (you can't make one without iBook) and the LuxoBook. What's next? How about a machine that's its own carryon, with wheels and an extending handle?

I may feel differently after I see one in person, but those areas on either side of the keyboard look pretty big; I don't think I would feel right using one on a tray table at home or on an airplane.

The miniBook, on the other hand, has me considering my strategies for freeing up some discretionary income. I had been seriously considering the 12" 800 iBook, so now that I can essentially get that machine with a G4 for $500 more (and a SuperDrive for $200 above THAT), my attention has been redirected.

I think Apple will be selling a lot of product this year; it just won't include that many desktops.

Posted by: Frank at Jan 8, 2003 11:17:31 AM

That tabbed browsing must be the bees knees, because allayoozguys are hooked no it. Ignorance is bliss, in my case.

The miniBook is pretty compelling, since it will nicely support a second monitor, as you pointed out.

On the other hand, since I happen to have 2 identical 17" Apple Trinitron monitors (one purchased new, the other a recent gift) I am still considering what would almost certainly be my last desktop. After all, the towers are a good bit faster than the laptops, and dual 17s would offer quite a landscape. Hmmm...

Posted by: john at Jan 8, 2003 8:49:39 PM

as noted on my site, tabbed browsing is in Konqueror 3.1, so expect to see it in Safari.

I guess you'll see it in IE and the hordes who've never used anything else will hail yet another innovation from Redmond . . . . . <sigh>

Posted by: paul at Jan 8, 2003 10:39:35 PM