Jobs unveils new hardware in Tokyo

Apple CEO takes the wraps off new iBooks and PowerBooks and bumps up the speed of the Power Mac G4 line

Apple CEO Steve Jobs confounded naysayers during Wednesday's Macworld Expo/Tokyo keynote presentation when he took the wraps off new iBooks and professional PowerBooks and nudged up the processor speed of the Power Mac G4.

Jobs said all the new hardware will be available immediately through retailers and Apple's online store.

Keynote revelations at Chiba, Japan's Makuhari Messe included:

  • The iBook Special Edition, available for $1,799 (£1,124) in the same Graphite colour scheme as the recently released iMac DV Special Edition, will feature 64MB of RAM and a 6GB hard drive, twice the amount in the original consumer notebook, as well as a 366MHz PowerPC G3 processor.

    Apple also boosted the RAM and drive size in the $1,599 Tangerine and Blueberry iBooks, which run at 300MHz.

  • The latest generation of Apple's PowerBook G3, code-named Pismo. The new systems, available in 500MHz and 400MHz configurations and priced at $3,499 and $2,499, respectively, feature two built-in 400Mbps FireWire ports and offer up to 10 hours of battery life, the company said.

    Each 5.7-pound system includes 1MB of Level 2 backside cache, a 100MHz system bus, a DVD-ROM drive, two Universal Serial Bus ports, and Ultra ATA/66 hard drives comprising up to 18MB of storage.

    The new PowerBooks also join the rest of the current Mac line in offering support for AirPort, Apple's wireless-networking technology.

  • A speed boost to the company's Power Mac G4 line that brings the professional desktop systems up to 500, 450 and 400MHz while keeping prices of the models at $3,499, $2,499 and $1,599, respectively.

While Apple had originally announced the Power Mac G4 models at those speeds during September's Seybold Seminars show in San Francisco, the company in October cut the speeds by 50MHz across the board in response to "errata" that prevented the first generation of PowerPC processors from reaching the 500-MHz mark.

Jobs said Apple held the fourth-biggest market share for PCs in Japan at 7.8 percent in the last quarter of 1999, reflecting the popularity of its iBook and desktop iMac PCs. He gave no comparison with Apple's market share in previous quarters.

"We would like to see the share go even further. We know we have the strongest product line Apple has ever had," Jobs said.

Yuji Tai of Japan Apple Watch and Reuters contributed from Japan.

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