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Apple Updates Desktops, Laptops

Apple Computer refreshed its top-end desktop and laptop lines, adding dual-core PowerPC processors to all Power Mac G5 desktops, and DVD burners and higher-resolution displays to PowerBooks.
Apple Computer on Wednesday refreshed its top-end desktop and laptop lines, adding dual-core PowerPC processors to all Power Mac G5 desktops, and DVD burners and higher-resolution displays to PowerBooks.

Analysts expect that the new PowerBooks, which are based on PowerPC G4 processors, will be the last models to sport the IBM-designed and made chips. In June, Apple committed to Intel as its processor supplier, and said that the PowerBook line would be first in line for the switch. Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said as recently as September that the Intel-based PowerBooks would debut by June 2006.

Apple upgraded two of its three PowerBooks' displays by upping the resolution of the 15-inch model by 26 percent and the resolution of the 17-inch laptop by 36 percent. The popular entry-level 12-inch PowerBook keeps its current screen resolution. The 15- and 17-inch PowerBooks also boast an additional hour of battery life, claimed Apple.

All three PowerBooks also now come with a DVD burner, dubbed "Superdrive" in Apple's nomenclature. Prices remain at $1,499, $1,799, and $2,399 for the 12-, 15-, and 17-inch models.

On the desktop, Apple has dropped a pair of 2.5GHz dual-core PowerPC G5 processors into a new Power Mac Quad, and added the PCI Express graphics architecture to its three-model line-up.

The Quad will ship next month at a price of $3,299, while other members of the Power Mac family -- all boasting dual-core processors -- are available now as the 2.0GHz single PowerPC dual-core G5 Dual ($1,999) and the 2.3GHz Power PC G5 Dual ($2,499).

Apple's new systems are available at retail through the Cupertino, Calif.-based company's own stores and those of its resellers, as well as via the online store on its Web site.

The last time Apple updated its G5 desktops was in April, when it upgraded processor speed and bundled its newest operating system, Mac OS X 10.4, dubbed "Tiger," with the machines.