Apple updates PowerBooks

Apple has updated its PowerBook notebook line. G5 processors aren't available yet, but G4 clock speeds have been increased to a maximum of 1.67GHz on 15" and 17" laptops, and 1.5GHz on 12" notebooks. Screens and graphics remain the same with the exception of the 17" model, which now comes with an ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 128MB. Interestingly, dual-link DVI comes standard on the 17" model and is available on the 15" as an option. Dual-link allows the PowerBook to use Apple's 30" Cinema Display, which is a really nice touch.

PowerBook hard drive speeds have also been increased to 5,400-RPM with sizes starting at 60GB on the 12", 80GB on the 15", and 100GB on the 17". The PowerBooks can be equipped with a standard DVD/CD-RW combo drive or with an 8x Superdrive that now supports DVD±R/RW. The 17" PowerBook also gets optical audio input and output ports.

All PowerBooks finally come with 512MB of DDR333 memory that can be expanded up to 2GB. The 12" model still has a base memory of 256MB that cannot be accessed by the user, but it now comes with an additional 256MB to make up the difference. All three models also come with standard Bluetooth 2.0 and Airport Extreme. Bluetooth 2.0 is primarily a speed upgrade to 3Mbps from the old 1.1 standard's 1Mbps.

Apple hasn't broken down and equipped the PowerBooks with two-button trackpads, but they have added a scrolling feature. The scrolling feature reminds me of an application called Sidetrack, which many Powerbook faithful swear by, including myself.

All in all, it's a nice round of updates, but not enough to make me regret buying my 17" Powerbook in November.

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