Apple Launches Consumer Laptop - Twice

Apple Launches Consumer Laptop

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Apple has launched a laptop version of its popular iMac personal computer called the iBook. The crowd at the MacWorld Expo in New York was impressed by what Apple interim CEO Steve Jobs called the "iMac to go."

"iBook is the 'iMac to go' for both home and school," Jobs said. "And iBook was designed right from the start to use Apple's revolutionary new AirPort wireless networking for cable-free Internet access."

The iBook features battery life up to six hours, a 300MHz PowerPC G3 processor with a high-speed 512K backside L2 cache, and the optional new AirPort wireless Internet networking. The computer comes in Apple's well-known PowerBook design and in two colors: Blueberry and Tangerine. The iBook will be available in September for a list price of $1,599.

The iBook also has a 12.1-inch TFT display, a built-in 56K modem, CD-ROM drive, two built-in antennas and an internal slot to accept the AirPort wireless-networking card.

The AirPort, a wireless local area network (LAN) solution, includes the AirPort card, which fits inside the iBook, and the AirPort base station, which contains a 56K modem and a 10BASE-T Ethernet port for connecting to a phone line, cable modem, DSL modem or local area network for terrestrial Internet access. AirPort is based on the industry standard IEEE 802.11b and operates at 11 mbps.

"It's a liberating experience to surf the Internet from your iBook while freely moving about your home or classroom -- without any power or networking cables to tie you down," Jobs said. "With AirPort we can now bring fast Internet access to every room in the house and every desk in the classroom."

Up to 10 iBooks can share a single AirPort base station simultaneously from up to 150 feet away.

Apple teamed with Lucent Technologies to design and market the AirPort. "Apple's decision to pioneer mainstream wireless networking is as significant as its pioneering of the graphical user interface," said Rich McGinn, chairman and CEO of Lucent. "We are delighted to be working closely with Apple to bring this incredible technology to the market."

The AirPort card will sell for a list price of $99 and the base station will sell for $299. Apple will also be offering a wireless card for its current line of PowerBook G3 professional notebook computers.

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