From the archives: iBook Dual USB Reviewed

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by Verne
2001-06-12

The new iBook (Apple calls it iBook Dual USB for some really creative reason) just oozes sex appeal, taking design cues from the big brother of ‘Power + Sex’ the Titanium PowerBook G4 (TiBook). The commercial success of the TiBook forced Apple to redesign the tired clam-shell heavy weight the former iBook was. The iBook in its prime was a success despite some of its shortcomings.

Ditching the love-it-or-hate-it colours and clam-shell design, the new iBook has clean lines with a new polycarbonate outer shell in pearl white. The first thing you will notice is that it’s not only lighter (a mere 4.9lbs) but it’s also thinner and smaller. Beats its predecessor hands down in the desktop footprint and weight category.


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Apple is offering 4 configurations currently – all four offering a PowerPC G3 500Mhz processor with 256K level 2 cache running at 1:1 ratio, meaning at a full 500Mhz with the main processor. With it comes a standard 64MB of PC100 SDRAM for the base model and 128MB for the rest. One thing to note is that the bottom slot is soldered with base RAM, thus only the upperslot is available for larger RAM upgrades.

With it also comes a sufficient 10GB Ultra ATA/66 hard drive running at 4200rpm (and not 5400rpm as earlier reported). There is a choice of optical drives ranging from a 24x CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, CD-RW or the superb DVD/CD-RW combo drive which evidently is only present in the high-end PowerMac G4 733 model. One glaring difference with the old iBook would be the 1024 x 768 pixel resolution packed into the 12.1-inch TFT XGA display. The absolute clarity, brightness and crispness of the display is enough to convince many to pick this baby up!

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Apple has been marketing the Mac as a technology hub – linking all sorts of devices with the Mac as the nucleus. And the new iBook fits this mould perfectly with its array of expansion capabilities – Firewire, 2 USB ports, Airport (with the optional Airport card, of course), an RGB output port, composite video output, 10/100Base-T ethernet and a 56K (V.90 compliant) internal modem.

The iBook is no slouch in 2D/3D capabilities with an 8MB ATI Rage Mobility 128 graphics accelerator connected via its AGP 2x slot. Mind you, this is the same graphics chipset that powers the professional Pismo and TiBook range.

On the software front, the iBook comes pre-installed with Mac OS 9.1 and Mac OS X as well as a generous bundle of utilities and games namely AppleWorks, iMovie, iTunes, Palm Desktop, FAXstf, Cro-Mag Rally, Bugdom, Nanosaur plus a Apple Hardware Test CD. This seems an exceptional bundle of applications which should get you up and running on the internet and be productive in ways only a Mac-user can!

With its gorgeous looks, performance and bundled software, the iBook is made even more attractive with its price, starting at only USD1,299 for the base model. No doubt the iBook is targetted at the education market, but this will appeal to everyone. Apple has an outright winner in its hands, and should be proud at having developed a notebook to beat in any class. Learning from the mistakes of the previous offering, Apple has done everything right with this one.

The only thing Apple has to worry about is keeping up with demand. iBooks are flying off the shelves as we speak, and it’s no surprise if this is the biggest thing to come out of Apple production lines since the first iMac.

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If there’s one Mac you should go out and buy, it is this one.
Kudos Apple!

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About The Author

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