Apple has launched a notebook version of its colourful iMac consumer desktop, claiming it is the second fastest laptop in the world and the first consumer portable to include wireless Internet access.
Steve Jobs, Apple’s interim chief executive, said the iBook, which is based on a 300 MHz PowerPC G3 microprocessor, is second in speed only to the company’s professional laptop, which was launched in May this year.
He continued: “We went to our consumer and education customers and asked them what they wanted from a notebook and, when we added it all up, they wanted an iMac to go.”
The iBook is available in tangerine and blueberry colour schemes, and has a rubber coated translucent enclosure to make it more durable, a pullout handle to make carrying easier, and a new closing mechanism without latches. “It works kind of like the closing mechanism on your mobile phone,” said Jobs.
The offering has a 12.1 inch TFT display, a built in 56K modem and CD Rom drive, 10/100 Base-T Ethernet networking and up to six hours of battery life. Also included is 32 Mb Sdram, which is expandable to 160 Mb, an ATI Rage Mobility graphic controller with 4Mb Sdram video memory and 2x AGP, a 3.2 GB IDE hard drive and a new power adapter with a cord that can be wound up like a YoYo.
Two built in antennae and an internal slot also provide users with wireless Internet access through Apple’s new Airport technology.
Airport includes an Airport Card, which fits inside the iBook, and an Airport Base Station, which contains a 56K modem and 10Base-T ethernet port for connecting to a phone line, cable modem, DSL modem or local area network for terrestrial Internet access. Up to 10 notebooks can share one base station simultaneously from up to 150 feet away.
Apple developed the technology, which is based on the IEE 802.11b standard and operates at 11 megabits per second, with Lucent Technologies.
The ibook and Airport will ship in September this year. iBook costs $1599, the Airport card costs $99 and the Base Station costs $299.
“The products are shipping in September, but we are taking orders immediately at both our Apple store and through the channel,” said Jobs.
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