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Apple Upgrades MacBook Line Of Notebooks

The new computers offer faster processors, more memory, and roomier hard drives.

Apple on Tuesday updated its line of MacBook notebooks with faster processors, more memory, and roomier hard drives.

The revised consumer portables feature Intel Core 2 Duo processors running at 2.0 GHz and 2.16 GHz, 1 Gbyte of memory, 80-Gbyte and 120-Gbyte hard drives respectively, built-in 802.11n wireless networking, and a built-in video camera.

The new MacBooks also come with a 13.3-inch screen, Apple's magnetically connected MagSafe Power Adapter, and its iLife consumer media suite.

The 2.0-GHz model, with a DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive, starts at $1,099; the 2.16-GHz model, with a SuperDrive (DVD+R DL/DVD +/- RW/CD-RW), starts at $1,299.

Apple's latest portable lineup compares favorably to Dell's current offerings. Dell's XPS M1210 notebook starts at $1,199, with a 1.83-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and without a built-in video camera, wireless card, or productivity software. If configured with a 2.0-GHz processor and an integrated Webcam/mobile broadband antenna, the M1210 lists for $1,353.

The Apple MacBook doesn't come with antivirus and anti-spyware software. The Dell XPS M1210 includes McAfee Security Center.

Apple's computer hardware has been selling well lately. For its fiscal 2007 second quarter, ended March 31, the company reported selling 1,517,000 Macs, a 36% increase from the same quarter last year.

Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks accounted for 9.9% of U.S.-based retail notebook sales in March, according to the NPD Group, a retail analysis firm. Dell, which sells direct, isn't included in NPD's figures.

"The MacBook is a huge hit with customers and is one of the reasons that Mac sales are growing three times faster than PC sales," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior VP of worldwide product marketing, in a statement. "The new MacBook is faster, has even more memory and storage, and is an ideal notebook for customers' growing library of digital music, photos, and movies."

Apple is rumored to be working on an ultra-portable notebook with Flash-based data storage instead of a hard drive for release later this year or early next year. Almost 60% of notebooks will rely on solid state storage by the end of 2009, according to market research firm iSuppli.

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