Apple Computer on Tuesday announced it has sped up its consumer line of iBooks and increased the size of the hard drives.
The new portable laptop models come as Apple prepares for a Monday media event that is expected to kick off a new online music service, presumably targeted at consumers. The update of the consumer iBook is the first since November; both announcements are further indication that Apple no longer saves new products for Macworld trade shows, analysts said. "It"s been a while since Apple has done an update to the iBook line; this type of bump helps keep them competitive," Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg said. "It also shows how Apple is moving away from the twice-a-year Macworld shows to introduce new products."
But the new iBooks may not be competitive enough with PC notebooks, which continue to offer more features for lower prices. The entry-level iBook comes with an 800MHz PowerPC G3 processor, a 12.1-inch display, 128MB of SDRAM, a 30GB hard drive, a CD-ROM drive, 32MB ATI Radeon graphics, a 56kbps modem, 10/100 networking and Mac OS X for $999.
Gateway sells the 400SP Plus notebook for $999, with a 2GHz Pentium Celeron processor, a 15-inch display, 256MB of Double Data Rate (DDR) SDRAM, a 30GB hard drive, a CD-RW/DVD combo drive, a 6-in-1 media reader, a 56kbps modem, 10/100 networking and Windows XP Home. "The Gateway is fully media-ready for that price," IDC analyst Roger Kay said. "Apple is a company that sets itself out in the area of multimedia, but the iBook is missing a multimedia drive and the capacity to handle streaming memory easily."
News source: C|net