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Apple unveils 'iBook 2.0'

Not metal - it just looks like it

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Apple launched a new iBook consumer notebook - codenamed P29, incidentally - yesterday, as expected.

The machine's spec. closely matches the rumoured details, but interestingly it won't ship with a metal enclosure like its high-end sibling, the Titanium PowerBook G4. Instead, it just looks like one - the iBooks' "impact resistant" plastic case is styled and coloured to give it a brushed metal look, but that's as far as it goes. Still, you can see why casual observers might have thought the machine they'd seen was a true junior Titanium G4.

Internally, the new iBook contains a 500MHz G3-class PowerPC 750Cxe processor with 256KB on-die L2 cache. Alas, we're not yet getting the anticipated 100MHz system bus - we'll have to put up with 66MHz for a little while yet. The unit's display is a 1024x768 12.1in TFT LCD, driven by an ATI Rage 128 Mobility AGP 2x chipset - no Nvidia at the low-end just yet - with 8MB of video RAM.

The unit ships with a base 64MB of RAM (expandable to 640MB), 10GB hard drive, and five-hour battery. The machine ships with either a 24x CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, CD-RW or combo DVD/CD-RW unit, though the latter is only available from the AppleStore.

There's a full complement of USB (two of 'em), FireWire (aka IEEE-1394), Ethernet and internal 56Kbps modem ports. There's something Apple calls an AV port, a composite video connector so you can hook the iBook up to a TV - though it "requires optional Apple AV cable" - and a VGA port.

Oh, and it's AirPort-ready too. In both senses of the word, since this one's plastic shell isn't likely to cause airport security alerts...

IBook 2.0 weighs in at 4.9lbs (2.2kg). The base model costs £1099 (inc. VAT) in the UK. The US price is $1299. ®

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