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Apple to intro Intel iBook 'with big price cut'

January debut?

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Apple will announce new iBook consumer notebooks at Macworld Expo in January 2006 - just over a month from now - and they will be based on Intel processors.

So allege "highly reliable" sources, ThinkSecret reports, mentioning the same sources have proved correct on quite a few other occasions.

The moles don't provide any specifics about the Intel-based iBooks beyond indicating a new, third model for the line-up - quite possibly, we'd guess, the much-rumoured widescreen edition. They also suggest Apple will significantly lower prices in a bid to win more buyers from the Windows world as the Mac Mini did on the desktop.

That claim points to a low-spec machine. While the focus on Apple's shift to Intel CPUs in the mobile market has fallen on the chip giant's upcoming 65nm 'Yonah' Pentium M, Intel has plenty of 90nm Celeron Ms at very low prices, which could well form the basis for a low-end iBook.

It's interesting that Apple is embedding Intel processors in its consumer machines ahead of the pro-oriented PowerBook and Power Mac lines. Pro users will bring over more legacy apps, and while they will run under Apple's Rosetta emulation technology, the performance achieved may be less than power users expect. Better then to guide them to the new processor platform when the major software developers have got x86-compatible Mac OS X apps out the door.

Consumers, by contrast, may be more willing to put up with the performance dip. Apple's own iApps should have been ported over, so in fact many of the programs new users will run will operate at native speeds.

The availability of Intel-based Macs should also help galvanise software developers to speed x86 code creation. ®

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