Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Apple's MacBook Embraces Intel

Apple today announced immediate availability of its consumer Intel-based laptop, well in time for the back-to-school shopping season. Called the MacBook, this model equipped with a 13.3-inch wide screen and running on a Core Duo processor replaces the 12-inch G4 PowerBook and all iBooks.

The notebook also complements Apple's recently released MacBook Pro laptops, which reportedly have experienced overheating and other technical problems. (Some Mac enthusiast sites are posting links to software that monitors the temperature of MacBook Pros.)

The MacBook is slimmer and slightly heavier than the old 12-inch Apple laptops. It comes in black or white and with either a 1.83-GHz or a 2.0-GHz Core Duo processor. Like the MacBook Pro, the MacBook comes with a built-in Webcam, Front Row media software, and an infrared remote control. It also has DVI-out support, gigabit ethernet, Bluetooth 2.0, 802.11g Wi-Fi, and optical digital audio-in and -out.

Apple priced its standard configurations of the MacBook at between $1099 and $1499. However, PC World's preferred configuration--with a 2.0-GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, and a 100GB hard drive--would cost $1699. Apple isn't offering a sub-$1000 configuration with an Intel Core Solo processor as it is with the $599 Mac Mini desktop PC.

IDC analyst Richard Shim says that the MacBook pricing makes sense given the more expensive, less common 13.3-inch wide-screen panel, whose resolution is 1280 by 800 pixels. "We're obviously not looking at a mass-market price point, and that's obviously by choice," says Shim. "But their challenge, of course, if you talk to Wall Street, is to increase their market share. This won't get them there."

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