Faster, cheaper, wireless Powerbooks arrive

Apple has made its new PowerBook G4 business notebook range wireless-ready, faster and up to $1000 cheaper.

Quicker processing speeds and lower prices have also been released for the student and consumer-orientated iBook G4 lines.

The business notebooks now promise speeds of up to 1.5GHz for the 17-inch model (was 1.33Ghz) and the 12-inch models are now 1.33Ghz (1GHz).

AirPort Extreme 54Mbps 802.11g wireless networking ispre-installed on all devices. This allows instant wireless connectivity, avoiding the need to install cards, which was the case previously.

The wireless networking system also contains an internal Bluetooth module for wireless connectivity to periperhals including cellphones, PDAs, printers and headsets, plus Apple Wireless Keyboard and Apple Wireless Mouse.

The larger 15-inch and 17-inch models feature graphics memory of up to 128MB. The 12-inch model features 64MB of dedicated video memory and a larger 60GB Ultra ATA hard drive.

All new Powerbook G4 notebooks include the iLife04 suite of digital applications including iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie and iDVD.

Mac's latest operating system, the OS X Version 10.3 Panther, is also pre-installed.

Recommended prices start at $2599 (including GST) for the most basic 1.33GHZ 12-inch model. At $4499, the 17-inch 1.5Ghz model is $1000 cheaper than the equivalent old model.

A similar "revving up" of processing has occurred with the iBook G4s. The new range offers twice the memory for a couple of hundred dollars less.

Processing speeds of 1GHz or more have replaced the old 800/933Mhz speeds. Memory of 256MMB DDR SDRAM is available and expandable to 1.25GB. Hard drive memory ranges from 30-60MB.

With iBook, only the top-of the range 14-inch 1.2GHz model features AirPort Extreme wireless networking.

iBook G4 prices range from $1695 (including GST) for a 12-inch 1GHz mode to $2399 for the wireless model.

Shipping of both ranges started this week, coinciding with their global launch.

The new models are available through the Apple Store and Apple Authorised Resellers.

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