Apple launches new PowerBooks

/ Source: Forbes

Apple Computer on Monday announced a major upgrade to its flagship notebook computer lines.

Three new versions of the PowerBook notebook PC line contain PowerPC G4 microprocessors from Freescale Semiconductor, running at speeds of up to 1.67 Gigahertz. The machines also include faster hard drives, and a new feature that detects when the notebook has been dropped — and protects the hard drive and the data stored on it accordingly.

The high-end 17-inch PowerBook supports Apple's 30-inch flat-screen display; while a 15-inch model can connect to the massive display as well, it's an optional build-to-order feature. Prices start at $2,000 for the 12-inch model, $2,300 for the 15-inch, and $2,700 for the 17-inch unit.

Absent from the announcement is the long-rumored notebook containing a higher-end PowerPC G5 chip from IBM. Apple uses the G5 chip in its PowerMac G5 professional desktops, and in the iMac G5 consumer desktops. A G5 notebook has been said to be in Apple's pipeline for some time now; but the company routinely refuses to comment on future products.

Expect rumors to grow between now and June — Apple usually does a major product update in the early summer. But Chief Executive Steve Jobs isn't expected to deliver another keynote at the next Macworld Expo. The upcoming gathering of the faithful is in Boston, and the CEO only keynotes Macworld when it's in San Francisco, and until recently, New York.