Apple Launches Faster PowerBooks With Drop-Protection

Apple beefs up its business-class PowerBook notebook line by adding more memory and faster processors.



Apple on Monday beefed up its business-class PowerBook notebook line by adding more memory, faster processors, and an airbag-style feature that protects the hard drive if the computer's dropped.

The five new PowerBooks -- available with 12-, 15-, and 17-inch displays -- all come with 512MB of memory standard, a doubling from the previous minimum in the machines. Apple touted other performance and productivity enhancements, including faster hard drives, Bluetooth 2.0 and a brighter backlight for the keyboard in the 15- and 17-inch notebooks.

Also, the line, which earlier topped out with a 1.5GHz processor, now can be equipped with 1.67GHz PowerPC, and the low-end, once 1.33MHz, is now 1.5MHz.

Apple's introducing its scrolling TrackPad in the new PowerBooks -- touching the pad with two fingers rather than one scrolls or pans within the active window -- and its Sudden Motion Sensor technology that detects sudden movement, such as a fall, and then locks down the hard drive. The latter's not new to notebooks: IBM has boasted a similar feature in its ThinkPad laptops for some time.

The PowerBooks will be this week in retail and direct from Apple at its online store, at prices ranging from $1,499 to $2,699. The 15-inch model equipped with a 1.67MHz PowerPC, 512MB of memory, and a 80GB hard drive, for instance, prices out at $1,999, identical to the earlier 15-inch model that sported a 1.33MHz processor, 256MB of memory, and a 60GB drive.

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