'Screaming' Intel Mac Laptop Debuts

FROM MACWORLD Steve Jobs is fond of saving the best for last, and Macworld 2006 was no exception. In true Jobsonian fashion, he announced "One more thing:" an Intel based replacement for the PowerBook called the MacBook Pro, initially available in a 15.4-inch configuration.

Jobs explained that Apple did everything possible to cram a G5 processor into a PowerBook, but failed as heat dissipation issues have plagued the G5 chips and prevented their use in laptop systems. The broken promises to consumers of a G5 notebook have been cited as one of the primary reasons for the Intel switch.

Running on Intel's Core Duo processor, the MacBook Pro systems will operate at four to five times the speed of today's models. "These things are screamers," Jobs said, adding these are the fastest notebooks available on the market.

The model demoed includes a 15.4-inch LCD screen that Apple says is as bright as its Cinema Displays. Two speeds will be offered, a 1.67GHz Core Duo chip version with built-in iSight camera, Front Row, 667MHz DDR bus, 80GB hard drive, and 512MB of RAM for $1,999 USD.

A higher-end model with a 1.83GHz Core Duo chip, 1GB of RAM and a 100GB hard drive would be made available for $2,499 USD Other features include a FireWire 400 port, two USB 2.0 ports, built in Wireless-G and Bluetooth, and the Apple Remote with Front Row software.

In order to help prevent tripping over power cables and throwing laptops to the floor, Apple has developed a new feature for the MacBook Pro called "MagSafe." In the new laptops, the power cable connects using magnets and will smoothly disconnect with minimal pressure.

The MacBook Pro will begin shipping in February, but Apple is taking orders starting today through its online store. "If you want one I suggest you get your order in early," Jobs quipped.

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