Apple has had a busy month -- a new iPod, new iTunes, new iMac G5, and now, 3 new ultra-cool Powerbooks! Available in the standard 12, 15, and 17" models, these new laptops have new features and performance levels not seen before in Apple's line, and after taking a look at them, I want one for Christmas!

Let's start with the basics available across all of the models:
-- built in 54 Mbps Airport Extreme: 802.11g
-- built in Bluetooth 2.0
-- built in 56K V.92 modem
-- full-sized keyboard. 15 & 17" midels feature ambient lighting
-- built in 10/100 Ethernet (12") or 10/100/1000 Ethernet (15 & 17")
-- 12" has 1024 x 768 display
-- 15" has 1440 x 960 display, 17" has 1680x105
-- enhanced battery support, offering 5.5 hours of battery life.

The 12" model, being the basic Powerbook, comes with a 1.5 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM, and a nVidia GeForce FX Go5200 video card with 64 MB RAM. The laptop features an 80 GB Hard drive (ATA/100), and an 8x SuperDrive (DVD+-RW / CD-RW). Output ports include a Mini-DVI, VGA, and S-video. Audio hookups include line-in, headphone-out, onboard stereo speakers, and onboard microphone. There are also 2 USB 2.0 ports, and one FireWire 400 port. Interestingly, this laptop does not have a PCMCIA slot. The laptop supports 1.25 GB of RAM.

The 15 & 17" models expand the internal components.... faster processors, and more output options. The computers have 1.67 GHz processors, and ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 video hardware with 128 MB RAM. The DVI is dual-linked. The computer offers DVI, VGA, S-video, and composite video out. The 8x Superdrive is a new special model -- it works with Dual Layer disks, allowing 8.5 GB or so per DVD, instead of the older single-layer format @ 4.3 GB. The audio options are also enhanced -- analog and optical DIGITAL line-in & line out! Cool! Want to work with high-level digital external components? This laptop will do it! These laptops also feature one 400 Firewire port, one 800 Firewire port, 2 USB ports, and a PCMCIA slot. The laptop models will support 2 GB of RAM.

All of the laptop models come with the following software: iLife ’05 (includes iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie HD, iDVD, GarageBand), Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac Test Drive, Zinio Reader, Art Directors Toolkit, FileMaker Pro Trial, GraphicConverter, OmniGraffle, OmniOutliner, QuickBooks For Mac New User Edition, and Apple Hardware Test

The laptops are neat and powerful machines. While people may be looking forward to the Apple - Intel merger planned for next year, those folks looking for computing power and capability should consider investing in these new laptops. I am personally considering the 15" model, as it has the ATI video and other options that the 12" doesn't. From what I can tell, the prices have not increased since last years model.

I like the Dual-layer support of the 8x SuperDrive -- offering 8.5 GB of data space. With all of data possible on the larger hard drives, this capacity increase allows more backup possibilities, and less media required to make them.

It's time for me to travel to the Apple Store -- a 2 hour trip -- and test drive one of these units. Maybe santa will let me bring one home!

Recommended Answers

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I'm not sure there was a change in the 12" model.

And the price? Was planning/contemplating to purchase one spring next year (if my profit share payout will cover it), but if they're getting a lot more expensive that plan won't go ahead.

They've gone down. Usually their prices stay the same or go down when they release new models. The base prices are fairly stable but the technology gets better. So the value continues to increase.

hmm, not here. Base model's gone up by a hundred Euro.

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