Jobs launches thinner, lighter iBook

The new iBook was unwrapped at Apple's headquarters by chief executive officer Steve Jobs. At 11.2 inches deep, 9.1 inches wide and 1.35 inches thick, the machine weighs in at 4.9 pounds -- two pounds lighter that Apple's existing consumer laptop, Jobs said.

The notebooks use a 500MHz Power PC G3 processor with 256KB of performance-boosting on-chip cache and offer five hours of battery life, according to Jobs. As well as being lighter in weight, the new iBook also has an improved screen resolution, at 1024 x 768 pixels, Jobs said.

The notebook will be available by the middle of the month with four different drive options, Jobs said. A CD-ROM version will retail for $US1299, a version with a DVD-ROM is priced at $US1499, a CD-RW version is $US1599, and a combo model that includes both DVD ROM and CD-RW drives will retail for $US1799, Jobs said.

The CD-ROM model includes 64MB of RAM, while the other three models feature 128MB of RAM, Jobs said. All the models are expandable, which means users can add up to 512MB of RAM.

He said the iBook will become "the centre of your digital lifestyle," echoing a similar message from Intel Corp. which positions PCs and notebooks as a kind of digital hub for editing and storing content from devices such as digital video cameras and music players. The new iBooks feature dual USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports and a single, 400Mbps Firewire port.

Jobs also announced that starting from noon PDT Monday, an update to Apple's recently launched OS X operating system will be available for download from Apple's Web site that allows users to burn their own music CDs.

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