Apple enhances PowerBooks with higher-resolution displays, longer battery life

Apple today made its PowerBook G4 line of notebook computers even more desirable for business and creative professionals with higher-resolution displays and up to one hour more battery life on the 15- and 17-inch models. In addition, every new PowerBook now includes a DVD burning SuperDrive with prices starting at just $1,499.

“The Apple PowerBook continues to deliver the ultimate in portability, performance and innovative features,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing in the press release. “Our mobile customers are going to love working on the new high-resolution PowerBook displays and appreciate the added productivity that one more hour of battery life delivers.”

The new higher-resolution PowerBooks provide significantly more screen real estate and include the 17-inch PowerBook with a 1680-by-1050 pixel resolution — 36 percent more than the previous generation — and the 15-inch PowerBook with a 1440-by-960 pixel resolution — 26 percent more than the previous generation. Ideal for business and creative professionals, the new 15- and 17-inch PowerBooks make reading text and viewing images even easier with brighter displays — up to 46 percent brighter on the 17-inch model. The 15- and 17-inch PowerBooks also provide up to an additional hour of battery life to get even more work done while on the road.

The PowerBook line includes three models: the 1.5 GHz 12-inch PowerBook with an 8X SuperDrive and the new 1.67 GHz 15- and 17-inch PowerBooks with an 8X SuperDrive with double-layer support. Both the 15- and 17-inch PowerBooks include ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 graphics with 128MB DDR dedicated video memory and now feature built-in Dual Link support to drive Apple’s groundbreaking 30-inch Cinema HD Display as an external monitor, providing more than four million pixels of additional workspace.

Every PowerBook includes built-in Bluetooth 2.0+EDR (Enhanced Data Rate), integrated AirPort Extreme 54 Mbps 802.11g WiFi wireless networking, a scrolling TrackPad and Apple’s Sudden Motion Sensor technology. Mac OS X version 10.4 “Tiger,” the fifth major release of the world’s most advanced operating system and iLife ’05, Apple’s award-winning suite of digital lifestyle applications, are included with every PowerBook.

The 12-inch and new 15- and 17-inch PowerBooks are available immediately through the Apple Store, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers.

Included software: iLife ’05 (includes iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie HD, iDVD, GarageBand), Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac Test Drive, Zinio Reader, Art Directors Toolkit, FileMaker Pro Trial, GraphicConverter, OmniGraffle, OmniOutliner, QuickBooks For Mac New User Edition, and Apple Hardware Test.

The 1.5 GHz, 12-inch PowerBook G4, for a suggested retail price of $1,499 (US), includes:
• 512MB of PC2700 333 MHz DDR SDRAM, expandable up to 1.25GB
• a slot-load 8X SuperDrive (DVD+/-RW/CD-RW) optical drive
• an 80GB Ultra ATA/100 (5400 rpm) hard drive with Sudden Motion Sensor
• AirPort Extreme 54 Mbps 802.11g WiFi fast wireless networking and internal Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
• DVI, VGA, S-video and composite video support
• two USB 2.0 ports and FireWire(R) 400
• audio line in and headphone out
• a scrolling TrackPad

The 1.67 GHz, 15-inch PowerBook G4, for a suggested retail price of $1,999 (US), includes:
• a slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+R DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW)
• 512MB of PC2-4200 DDR2 SDRAM running at 333 MHz, expandable up to 2GB
• 80GB Ultra ATA/100 (5400 rpm) hard drive with Sudden Motion Sensor
• Built-in AirPort Extreme wireless networking & Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
• DVI (Dual Link for 30-inch Cinema HD Display support), VGA, S-video and composite video support
• Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000BASE-T)
• two USB 2.0 ports, FireWire 400 and 800
• analog and optical digital audio input and output
• illuminated keyboard with ambient light sensor
• a scrolling TrackPad

The 1.67 GHz, 17-inch PowerBook G4, for a suggested retail price of $2,499 (US), includes:
• a slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+R DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW)
• 512MB of PC2-4200 DDR2 SDRAM running at 333 MHz, expandable up to 2GB
• 120GB Ultra ATA/100 (5400 rpm) hard drive with Sudden Motion Sensor
• Built-in AirPort Extreme wireless networking & Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
• DVI (Dual Link for 30-inch Cinema HD Display support), VGA, S-video and composite video support
• Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000BASE-T)
• two USB 2.0 ports, FireWire 400 and 800
• analog and optical digital audio input and output
• illuminated keyboard with ambient light sensor
• a scrolling TrackPad

Additional build-to-order options for the 12-inch PowerBook include the ability to upgrade to 100GB (5400 rpm) hard drive, up to 1.25GB DDR SDRAM, a slot-load Combo (DVD-ROM/CD-RW) optical drive, and the AppleCare Protection Plan. Additional build-to-order options for the new 15- and 17-inch PowerBooks include the ability to upgrade up to 2GB DDR2 SDRAM, a slot-load Combo (DVD- ROM/CD-RW) optical drive, and the AppleCare Protection Plan. The new 15-inch PowerBook also offers a 100GB or 120GB (5400 rpm) hard drive as a build-to- order option.

See the new Apple PowerBooks here.

Advertisement: Order the new PowerBook from the Apple Store now. Higher resolution. Better mileage. From $1499. Free shipping.


  1. the webpage of the new powerbooks is even underwhelming…

    the layout hasn’t even been perfected and its not nearly as sharp as the pages for the new powermac or Aperature

    Did they even put effort into this one?

  2. Like what did everyone expect? Faster CPU’s? Gotta wait for the Macintelbooks in January for that.

    Given what they had to work with, better screens and battery life is a good update. Get real and quit whining; this isn’t Jr. High. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”rolleyes” style=”border:0;” />

  3. Compared to yesterday, the Powerbooks are much better today. Given that the chip is at the end of the speed bump line from Freescale, these new versions offer more and they are cheaper. Nothing revolutionary but cheaper is cheaper, and these were low-key announcements.

    12″ 1.5GHz with SuperDrive which was $1699 is now $1499.

    15″ 1.67GHz which was $2299 is now $1999 and has higher resolution, PC2-4200 memory, 128MB of VRAM (vs 64), and an hour more battery life.

    17″ 1.67GHz which was $2699 is now $2499 and has higher resolution, PC2-4200 memory, 120GB hard drive (vs 100), and an hour better battery life.

    The 15″ is a much much better deal. And the lack of a move to dual-core G4s make it likely that the Powerbooks will be one of the first to go Intel.

  4. Synthmeister says: “Now we know why it was way past time to switch from Freescale to Intel.”

    Buffy says: “Steve said the reason for the Intel switch was the inability to produce low power but faster chips for the notebook line. If Freescale or IBM had come up with something to fill this HUGE gap, the Intel deal probably would have never been struck. They should not have bothered “announcing” these, instead just should have quietly upgraded.”

    The message I would give to both of you is this – Don’t be consfused by what Apple built and announced today with what Freescale had available.

    Freescale has both a lower power single core G4 and a dual core G4, both with faster frontside buses (200Mhz), that Apple could have availed themselves of. Granted – although a 200Mhz FSB is an improvement over the current 167Mhz version, it is slow compared to PC laptops (ranging up to 533Mhz on desktop replacement systems). However, as with all laptops, every increase of the clockspeed of any component is an increase in power usage, so I’ve never been too down on Apple with regard to the FSB speed. Frankly, if it can keep up with the installed DDR memory’s speed (meaning 167Mhz FSB with 333Mhz DDR, or 200Mhz FSB with 400DDR), it’s doing it’s job.

    The more tragic result here was Apple not going with the new G4 offerings on this, their last PB revision. The truth is that a dual core G4, running at 1.5 to 1.7Ghz, would have been a screamer – so much so that I suspect Apple avoided using it PRECISELY because it would have made the ‘performance gap’ you guys mention shrink to almost nothing. And if that were to happen, then how would Apple persist in the fiction that moving to Intel was done for performance reasons? short answer – they couldn’t.

    Since this underwhelming announcement was not Freescale’s fault, and in no way validates the Intel switch on straight up performance reasons, you have to face the fact that the Macintel era was decided upon based on other considerations. Those considerations are the high def video content that Jobs wants, and that the Hollywood studios won’t give him until he locks down each and every Mac with hardware DRM. The version that these studios prefer is Intel’s Trusted Platform Module – the same chip that Apple will conveniently use to keep OSX from running on any old generic PC box.

    I know the possible video offerings – a taste of which we were shown last week – are exciting, but I’m not sure they will be worth switching to Intel CPUs for. When a chip like the G4 – a last gen technology – is STILL making those who use (or, in Apple’s case, plan on using) x86 CPUs run for cover, then you have to start asking yourself if Jobs is doing the right thing. Is every Mac, having one of these ‘Big Brother’ TPMs installed, really the best way to go?

    Personally, I’d rather have the best computers Apple can make, with video capabilities that allow me to use the fair use copying capabilities that are already out there (TV tuner cards, DVR capable computers with video streaming, HD-DVD with managed copy, etc …) And – so far anyway – nothing about what Intel says is coming vs what it’s main competitors (AMD or IBM) have announced in the same time frame, infuses me with confidence that the Macintels will be better computers than what could have been made otherwise.

    Color me Skeptical, but that’s how I see it.
    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”mad” style=”border:0;” />

  5. Whoa guys, stop hailing this as horrifying. I’m not sure what you expected, but face the facts:

    If you expected a huge speed bump, you are misinformed. This is the fastest the G4 chip goes in laptops. Unless you overclock the processor, it’s not going to happen. And since IBM could never make a G5 work in a mobile unit, there was pretty much no chance for a speed bump.

    At the very least, I expected them to do something with the 12″. It seems they only really updated the 15″ and the 17″ and made DVD burning standard on all. The problem to me is the RAM issue. All come with standard 512 MB, but the 12″ only gets it with two 256 MB ones. So you can’t get a good even 1 GB of RAM if you tried. Somewhat awkward. So I at least figured they’d fix that, but they didn’t. On the plus side, they did drop the price of the RAM.

  6. My PB-G4 12″ is 4 years old. I’m still working with 40 HD, 640MB RAM limitation and an 866MHz processor. I’ve dropped my machine from heights of 4′ unintentionally at least 3 times (the back pack I was carrying it in… the straps broke). it has dents in the lower case and because of this the front latch is misaligned so I have to release the latch lock with a business card or an envelope. The machine has booted and worked flawlessly and I only had to use apple-care once to repair the combo drive about 2 years ago. It ate a cd-rom and wouldn’t spit it out but also wouldnt mount the disk on the desktop. For someone like me who extracts a lot of productive value from their machines this is a decent upgrade… roughly double the processor speed twice the HD space, higher ram limitations, plus the sudden motion sensing software (it’s already been established that I have butter fingers) usb 2.0 ports (allowing me to upgrade my ipod as well from gen 3), plus a bunch of new software to either try or use. The only thing I would have like to have seen is the lit keyboard become part of the 12″ G-4 PB package.

  7. You guys are all a bunch of wimps. What a load of whining mushrooms. In reality how often do you each seriously upgrade your notebooks? For most people this is at least every two to three years. Sure it would be nicer to upgrade more often but usually not financially realistic.

    I bought my 1GHz G4 17″ PB when they were first released in teh UK about nearly 3 years ago. When the Intel announcement was made I did a few sums and figured there would be an interim release/upgrade for the PB line before Intel arrived. Realistically I did not expect much of a speed hike for power consumption, cooling and associated reasons. But I did think they would upgrade the graphics resolution as the new hi-res TFT’s hit stable production volumes.

    So I figured what the heck, I’ll get one when they do it. I have just ordered mine with the 100Gb 7200 RPM drive and the 1.67GHz G4. Now ok it may not be the fastest kid on the block but it still represents a 67% speed hike on the CPU, a 25% increase in disk capacity, a whatever % increase in screen resolution, an increase in battery life, a dual layer +/- superdrive (effectively doubling capacity). I mean come on – how much more do you you want.

    Instead of complaining that every release isn’t the dog’s bo***cks – just compare it with what you are upgrading from. I figure I will get about 2 to 3 years valuable use and then will upgrade to a 2nd or 3rd generation Intel based powerbook with all the tricks.

    On the other hand I have also order my PowerMac Quad with all the tricks now.

    Get with it guys. If you can upgrade your PB’s with every announcement (and actually do so) then ok – have a grumble – otherwise stop giving the MickeySoft brigade ammo about whining Mac users.

  8. The previous 17″ was 1.67 Ghz, so no speed increase there.

    I bought my 17″ 1.67Ghz Powerbook in March, and normally feel a bit bad when Apple update their machines (as it means mine isn’t as fast as the top of the line ones), but this update (or lake of speed update) leaves me feeling ok.
    Afterall, they’ve only updated a few of the components (ok, the RAM is faster), but everything else I can compensate for with my home setup (Apple 23″ display, external 7200/firewire 800 hard drive, 2 GB RAM) so I might think about buying a new one when the Intel ones come out and see how they perform…

    Does anyone know if the extended battery life is down to a new type of battery, or has the machine been tweeked to get the extra hour of life out of it? Just thinking about buying a new battery…

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