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Mac Rumor Roundup Superfast G3s and ‘CubeBooks’

Our take on what the Mac rumour sites sources are claiming

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Apple may be about to revive the slimline PowerBook Duo - in the form of a light yet powerful executive-oriented notebook equivalent of the Power Mac Cube.

At least that's what an AppleInsider source claims, according to a report on the site.

After enquiring whether Apple might once more offer a low-weight portable like the Duo or its nearest, most-recent successor, the PowerBook 2400, a company employee told the source: "You'll be very happy with what we have planned down the road."

Of course, that could equally be a reference to the re-engineered PowerBooks - codenamed 'Mercury', according to AppleInsider - due to be launched early next year, possibly at San Francisco MacWorld Expo in January.

However, there's clearly a gap in Apple's product matrix waiting to be filled. The desktop lines runs from iMac, via Cube, to Power Mac. The notebook family is just iBook and PowerBook. Surely that means there's a 'CubeBook' coming?

Certainly, Apple could do with a new system to revitalise its notebook sales and to attract those user whose prime consideration in a laptop isn't functionality so much as portability. Apple lacks the equivalent of the ultra-slim notebooks that have become increasingly popular in the Windows world, machines such as Toshiba's Portege and Sony's Vaio Z505.

Equally, Apple could pursue the sub-notebook category, exemplified by Sony's Vaio PictureBook. Indeed, that would make for a better tie-in the with ultra-compact Cube. The last time Apple tried this, it came up with the much-missed eMate 300, its Newton OS-based laptop and the true forerunner of Jobs-era Apple's focus on industrial design and novel computer casings.



MacOS Rumors has a curious item this week claiming IBM has souped up its G3 PowerPC processors to the point where the company reckons the chip can hit 1.5GHz sometime next year.

That's very unlikely indeed with the existing G3 architecture - it's simply not geared up to operate at that speed not matter how high you jack up its clock speed.

So, "according to internal company documents provided by a reliable source", IBM has re-engineered the G3 to extend its instruction pipeline, ensuring it doesn't waste all those extra clock cycles because it can't be kept fed with instructions or data to process. IBM has also apparently added processing units and an on-die L2 cache.

Hmmm. Isn't that exactly what Motorola is doing with the G4? Yes it is. The only thing missing from the report is Motorola's AltiVec (aka Velocity Engine) vector processing technology, which IBM isn't too keen on anyway. It all sounds too close to the G4 Plus to us, and if IBM can hit 1.5GHz next year, so then can Motorola.

We're sure IBM is working on evolving its version of PowerPC, but the result will be a completely new CPU not a faster G3, a name that even IBM doesn't use. It's a bit like saying Intel's Itanium is a 64-bit Pentium - it isn't, it's a completely different chip. And so will future IBM PowerPCs. Even the G4 Plus is very different from the G4.

MacOS Rumors' report is here.

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