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Throw The Book At 'em! MacSpeedZone's iBook Information Page



Today, during his keynote speech at MacWorld NY, Steve Jobs unveiled Apple's latest creation the iBook. Clearly following the design scheme of the highly successful iMac, the iBook features the same curved design and two tone color scheme. Indeed, Jobs touted the iBook as the iMac to go.... While the iBooks on display at MacWorld currently only sport two of the iMac's five flavors, Blueberry and Tangerine, it is a fairly safe bet that the rest will follow down the road. From what we have seen, the iBook is another elegantly crafted combination of form and function. The entire base is a non-skid rubber surface, and the iBook is the first laptop computer with a built in handle! Even the power cord is thoughtfully designed with an inline spooling mechanism to take up excess slack and lights to indicate the iBook's charge state. Apple hasn't traded style for power though. Under the hood the iBook sports a G3/300 processor with a 512k backside cache. Rumors are that the processor is upgradable but we have not confirmed this.

Like the iMac, the iBook was not designed with expansion in mind with one notable exception. Part way through his keynote presentation, as he was loading a few web pages, Steve Jobs picked up the iBook and walked around stage as pages continued to load! He even ran a hoop around the iBook in classic magician style to prove there were no cables attached. Can you say "wireless networking?" Apple can, and has teamed up with Lucent Technologies to bring secure wireless networking to the iBook via a device aptly named AirPort. The AirPort sports an internal 56k modem as well as an Ethernet port. Apple likens the AirPort to the base for a cordless phone and it's a good analogy but sells the AirPort short. With the AirPort plugged into your phone line (or Ethernet jack) you can not only roam up to 150' from the base but also share a single internet connection with other iBooks. One AirPort base supports up to ten computers at speeds up to 11 megabits per second. To make use of the AirPort base you will need to buy the AirPort card which fits in an internal slot in the iBook. There is little information available on the nature of the slot but I wonder if third party vendors will be able to put it to creative use as they did with the iMac's. The antenna is built into the casing of every iBook making it hard to leave behind and virtually indestructable. The AirPort base runs $299 and the card $99.

 

 

 



 

There is little doubt that the iBook is targeted at students and the consumer markets. The iBook lacks most of the ports found on its professional counterpart the Lombard PowerBook. You won't find a SCSI port or any video out options for example. See the sidebar "'Book Features Compared" for more information. Instead, the iBook comes with a healthy software bundle including AppleWorks and IBM's World Book Encyclopedia as well as the obligatory internet software. This bundle, combined with the iBook's tough polycarbonate case, makes the iBook an excellent choice for students. Apple estimates a 6 hour life for the iBook's battery, enough to get you through a day of note taking or an all nighter kicking out that term paper.
iBook Software Bundle 
  • OS 8.6
  • AppleWorks
  • Palm Desktop
  • Internet Explorer
  • Netscape Communicator
  • Microsoft Outlook Express
  • AOL 4.0
  • Earthlink TotalAccess
  • EdView Internet Safety Kit, Family Edition
  • The World Book Encyclopedia
  • Acrobat Reader
  • FAXstf
  • Nanosaur
  • Bugdom
  • QuickTime 4.0
  • 'Book Features Compared

    PowerBook (Lombard) iBook
    - 2 USB connectors
    - 10/100 Base-T Ethernet
    - 56k Modem
    - 4 or 6GB IDE drive
    - 14.1" TFT screen
    - 20x CD or 2x DVD-ROM
    - 512k or 1MB L2 cache
    - 1 PC card expansion slot
    - 8MB SDRAM
    - SCSI port
    - Stereo speakers
    - 5.9 Lbs.
    - Infrared Port
    - 1 USB connector
    - 10/100 Base-T Ethernet
    - 56k Modem
    - 3.2 GB IDE drive
    - 12.1" TFT screen
    - 24x CD-ROM
    - 512k L2 cache
    - Internal "AirPort" slot
    - 4MB SDRAM
    - No SCSI
    - Mono speaker
    - 6.7 Lbs
    - Optional wireless networking.

     

    Apple has been riding a wave of success generated by the iMac and, from everything we have seen so far, the iBook will keep the wave rolling. That's the good news. The bad news is that the iBook won't be available until September. The Apple Store and other vendors are taking pre-orders and Apple has promised that iBooks will be available in volume come September. I hope they are right because it looks like they have come up with another winner.

    Model/MHz Processor Bus Speed
    (MHz)
    RAM
    (MAX)
    L2 Cache VRAM
    iBook G3/300 G3 66 32
    160 Max
    512k
    Backside@150(?)MHz
    4MB
    SDRAM
    ATI RAGE Mobility with 2X AGP
    Expansion
    Slots
    Hard
    Drive
    CD-ROM
    Drive
     Modem  Monitor Reviews
    AirPort Slot 3.2GB IDE 24x CD
    56K
    10/100 BT Ethernet
    12.1" TFT
    Active Matrix
    NY Times
    MacWorld
    iMac Musings
    LowEnd Mac
    MacDiscussion.com
    MacAddict
    CNN QT Movie