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Macworld to Bring Updates to Laptop Lines? 348

An anonymous reader writes "Reuters is reporting on the breathless anticipation that leads up to Macworld every year. Many analysts are hedging their bets that this year will bring a long overdue update to the Mac laptop family. From the article: 'We think the iBook, PowerBook, Mac Mini, and potentially Xserve are areas that are going to move to Intel first,' said Shaw Wu, an analyst at American Technology Research."
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Macworld to Bring Updates to Laptop Lines?

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  • Burn baby Burn (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08, 2006 @10:40PM (#14424499)
    If only I could get a hold of the old Mac commercials when they slam on the Intel Processors
    • second gen Pentium M (Score:5, Informative)

      by green pizza ( 159161 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @11:12PM (#14424642) Homepage
      Back in those days it was Apple/Motorola slamming the first gen Pentium II versus their first gen Power PC 750 "G3".

      The G3 in 233 and 266 MHz flavors was faster than the PII in its 233 and 266 MHz flavors. But eventually the PII was shipping at 450 MHz while Motorola was still churning out 350 MHz G3s. Apple slipped behind and had to use other tactics (more cache, wider busses, etc) to try to compete.

      Today Intel has the Pentium M, more specifically, the second generation Pentium M, available with dual cores. Sure looks a lot better than the vaporware that Motorola/Freescale is advertising, or the big and hot IBM PowerPC 970 "G5" or the in-order (poor for multitasking) game console versions of the G5.

      I think Apple made the right move, I just wish Intel had a better naming system for their CPUs.
      • Eh? Firstly, the new G5's available from IBM are much lower in power consumption. A G5 powerbook could have happened very easily after June '05, and Secondly that Pentium M you are touting has more in common with that Pentium II you just trashed than any other processor design. Intel has gone back to their old Pentium Pro Architecture. Meanwhile, in POWER land, POWER5 and POWER5+ based POWERPC processors could have succeeded the G5, (A POWER4 based design).

        All of the current top3 Supercomputers in t

        • A G5 powerbook could have happened very easily after June '05,

          Yeah, if you wanted to be stuck at 1.4 or 1.6GHz with an equal CPI as competitors running chips available 2.2GHz and beyond. G5 isn't better at CPI than G4, a 1.6GHz G5 would be about as fast as the current 1.67GHz G4, so there was generally little to no performance gain to be had by making a G5 Powerbook other than maybe status. Where a G5 laptop would have been useful is if they were available in mobile form at 2+ GHz six months or a year pre
        • by moonbender ( 547943 ) <moonbender@gmail ... minus physicist> on Monday January 09, 2006 @06:36AM (#14425971)
          All of the current top3 Supercomputers in the world are POWER5 IBM designs.

          Clearly, that makes it an obvious choice for a laptop CPU.
    • Re:Burn baby Burn (Score:5, Interesting)

      by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @11:13PM (#14424646)
      Clueless comment. If you watched the last Apple meeting they played they commerical before they brought in the intel speakers. It was their humble pie. In a way it was a compliment to intel too. Intel did have a heat problem and look at all the new processors: low power.

      Now lets look at the CES show with it's tepid announcements. Google-pak? well okay make it easy for the unwashed to have a standard set of apps all the technorati have. Of course those or better have always come on apples so we can forgive all the apple owners with the WTF look on their faces. And some TV show downloads? hmmm whoopeee. What are they going to play them on, an Achos pocket brick? And then there's a flock of dull over prices ipod wanabees, that got scooped by the Nano and cant even compete on price.

      In any case tommorrow all apple has to do to blow the pants off everyone is to announce, feature length movies available .mac starting tommorrow, and the intel processors availabel in march on ibooks and mac minis. For the pro-crowd they just need to stretch their pro-video and maybe throw in some eye candy like 32 inch displays or intel plasma display. Maybe announce a toshiba SED by august (probably not though). Apple wont announce much other pro stuff since that usually comes at the developers conf later in the year.

      This year CES made it easy. everything at CES is so far behind the curve and unintegrated apple hardly has to do more than what people already expect and everyone will be happy. This is the first year there's no breathless anticipation. (though I'm mighty curious about the intels, since I'm a pro-user I'm not expecting anything for me this go-around).

      • Re:Burn baby Burn (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Heembo ( 916647 )
        Google-pak? well okay make it easy for the unwashed to have a standard set of apps all the technorati have

        You missed the big one here. Google's new "Google Updater" will automatically install and alert you when new versions of Adobe Acrobat, FireFox and other popular 3rd party applications are available. They install or update quickly without requiring a reboot. This is a crucial security feature that does NOT come standard with any version of windows for 3rd party apps, and other software that manages a
        • Re:Burn baby Burn (Score:3, Interesting)

          by goombah99 ( 560566 )
          Well yes I'll grant you that's a very nice feature: a consolidated trusted update agent. But C'mon? Google Pak is the best thing CES can come up with? Yes it was, and that's sad. None of the tech features offered at CES showed any integration besides this. Very tepid show this year. If apple just barely meets expectations they will again steal the innovation spotlight.
  • by IntelliAdmin ( 941633 ) * on Sunday January 08, 2006 @10:41PM (#14424504) Homepage
    The article suggests that they will introduce new G4 based models. I find this highly unlikely. They will need to push their new Intel Line. I suspect they will reveal new Intel Based laptops, and as always a surprise that rocks the world from Mr Jobs himself
    • by richdun ( 672214 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @10:53PM (#14424547)
      Actually, the article suggests they will update the current G4-based models... "Apple has said it will start selling Intel-based computers by the middle of this year. But many analysts have said for months they expect an earlier introduction of some Macintosh models, particularly ones using the older G4 processor."
      • Boy it would be disappointing if they're still just G4 models.

        Assuming they're Intel-based (which is now in doubt), my question is whether there will be any barriers to running Linux and Windows. I'm intrigued by OSX, but I can't shift my work environment over all at once. Too disruptive. So if I could get a single laptop running OSX, Linux, and Windows, then maybe transition gradually to OSX depending on how I find it, that would be great.

        Come on Jobs, give us a Yonah-based Powerbook I can triple bo

        • my question is whether there will be any barriers to running Linux and Windows

          According to Phil Shiller, Apple's VP of Marketing, no, they won't be doing anything to prevent you from running Windows (Fool that ye may be!). That doesn't mean it will be easy or practical or supported or anything, but it's at least been stated that Apple isn't going to intentionally get in your way.
    • I think you misunderstood. The article is suggesting that models that are currently G4-based will be updated to something other than a G4 processor (most likely Intel).
    • by shmlco ( 594907 )
      O'Grady is betting on a Powerbook nano (blog []), thought I'm not. Personally, I'm getting kind of tired of the Apple everything-must-be-thin-to-be-sexy design philosophy.

      Here's an idea: Apple, do everything you need to do to create the next "impossibly small" version of one of your products. Then don't do it. Keep it the same size, and fill the available space with a BATTERY so we actually use and enjoy all of those cool features.

      A video iPod that can barely display two hours of video? Please.

      • I agree completely. Increase battery capacity. Not with 2 batteries, but one bigger battery. The weight of two would be too much. Just something to get an extra hour out of it.

        Another thing apple could do is starting shipping with either larger or faster notebook hard drives. 7200 rpm drives are out and i think a bump for the ibook and powerbook would really make newer macs fly. Apple pushes iDVD and iMovie but doesn't give you the hard drive for it.

        • The largest and fastest currently available 2.5" HD's are...

          120G, 5400rpm or
          100G, 7200rpm.

          Both are currently available in your 15" or 17" PowerBook -- standard in the 17" (your choice of which) or as BTO options in the 15".

          I hope you don't want Apple to come out with a BrickBook big enough for a 3.5" drive (which would more than use up your extra battery anyway)?

          (I'm all for thinner, by the way. I'm happy with 4 hours of battery, but I want lighter and cooler-looking.)

    • Even though there might not be any new G4 products, there is still a possiblity for G5 notebooks since IBM made an announcement [] that they had developed multicore and low-power consumption G5 chips, which came right after the announcement that Apple was switching to Intel. Even though we haven't seen the low-power consumption chips, we have seen the dual core chips in the newest power macs. Jobs did say that we would still see new PPC products before the complete switch to Intel.
    • The article suggests...

      I'm sorry. You must be new here. Usually these threads are full of speculation and wild-ass guesses, not someone reading article. Sheesh!

  • by thedak ( 833551 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @10:42PM (#14424506) Journal
    I think at this point it's pretty much common sense that something is going to be done to the ibook line with macworld occuring.. tomorrow I guess it would be (unless you're in a timezone in which it is currently monday.. in which case.. greeettiinngs frromm the paaassttt..), we know the intel switch is coming, we know they have said that they are likely to release the ibook and mini lines first with intel chips (yonah most likely it seems, that's about the only thing that would make any sense)

    With the keynote occuring tomorrow, it's probably time to stop repeating the speculation, or at least vary it up a little, Jobs to release iRock, a portable Steve Jobs shrine, so you can worship him in all his bald glory anywhere you go! :o I know I'd buy one >.> (typing from my beloved 12" ibook G4).
  • Here's hoping... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WigginX ( 104107 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @10:42PM (#14424508)
    My money is on the Apple Tablet being unveiled. ... but maybe that's just wishful thinking.
  • Dual boot laptop (Score:4, Interesting)

    by shut_up_man ( 450725 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @10:45PM (#14424518) Homepage
    I had considered a Mac last time I was shopping for a laptop, but I couldn't get past the facts that:

    a) I can't work on Microsoft products like SQL Server on a Mac
    b) The Mac only has a few games, compared to the PC

    If these Intel Mac laptops arrive, and they really can be dual booted into XP, these two problems go away. I could easily see myself getting a Powerbook and using OSX for all my daily fiddling, and then booting into Windows when I needed to. /me crosses fingers...
    • Unfortunately it's highly unlikely that the macs will boot windows out of the box, since my money's on the fact that they use EFI over BIOS. Windows XP 64 bit works with EFI, but not normal WinXP. However apparently the Yonah chip doesn't support XP64, which doesn't quite make sense to me, but it's what I've heard. Can anyone clarify?
      • Re:Dual boot laptop (Score:3, Informative)

        by mixmasta ( 36673 )
        Yonah's not a "64 bit" chip. Although I hope they use EFI, it's not a given since all the demos and literature had an antique bios.
      • Everything I've read about EFI suggests that it'll have a compatibility mode to boot BIOS operating systems, but I don't know enough to know if that's a requirement or just a suggestion for implementing EFI on IA32 systems. In any case, I'd hardly call it "highly unlikely".
      • I hope Steve is smart enough to think of this.

        I will buy an Intel Mac Mini the second the store is back up if it will run Windows and allow me to replace the ugly POS HP PC sitting next to my G5. (If I can triple-boot it with ordinary x86 Linux, so much the better...)

        If it doesn't run Windows, it's not as compelling a purchase when I already have a G5 tower. I expect a lot of existing Macheads feel exactly the same way I do.

    • Apple's VP said last year (in the only statement on the matter) that they wouldn't try to prevent it. And since it's an Intel processor that'll be found in other OEM's products soon (Yonah Core Duo/Solo), my money's on a possible dual boot. However, you may want to consider X11+Wine, or Cedega, which would let you use Windows stuff without having to have Windows (which ought to make the computer more secure, in theory)
    • Re:Dual boot laptop (Score:2, Interesting)

      by catmistake ( 814204 )
      a) I can't work on Microsoft products like SQL Server on a Mac

      Maybe you can't run SQL Server... but you can certainly work on it!

      What kind of work are you doing?

    • a) I can't work on Microsoft products like SQL Server on a Mac

      Have you ever heard of Aqua Data Studio [] or thought of using MS Remote Desktop Client for OSX []?
      b) The Mac only has a few games, compared to the PC

      Are games really that important to you? But there are games like WOW, WCIII.WCIIIFT, Doom 3. Quake 4, UT2k3, UT2k4 etc...

      We have less games but we also have less crap games as a result. Next time you troll make sure you try a little harder.

      • Re:Dual boot laptop (Score:4, Interesting)

        by shut_up_man ( 450725 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @11:55PM (#14424802) Homepage
        Actually I hadn't heard of either (thanks for the info) but I was thinking more about using the laptop as a complete dev environment, with SQL server running on it as well. That way I could do SQL Server / .NET / ASP work without having to cart around a mini sized server box. If it's a greenfields project, I will choose MySQL / PHP hands down, but a good percentage of my work is maintenance or modifications of Microsoft stuff, which means having Windows somewhere along the line.
        • Well I use Remote Desktop Client to check back with Head Office all the time. Assuming MSFT does issue an update of their Virtual PC to work on Intel, you should expect similar performance to Virtual PC for Windows when running the mac version through OS X on Intel. If that happens, you should not have any problem with developer tools. Running Windows games will require a reboot into a dual booted windows installation.

          Most of the MSDN Deep dive sessions I've attended had presenters using multiple Virtual

        • That way I could do SQL Server / .NET / ASP [on a mac]


          I think, by design, your going to need windows for your requirements.
      • by Slashcrap ( 869349 )
        We have less games but we also have less crap games as a result. Next time you troll make sure you try a little harder.

        Are you going to apologise to shut_up_man for that? Because any normal person can see that wasn't a troll. He was saying that Mac laptops don't meet his requirements at the moment but it looks like they will in future, so he may well buy one. That's all he said.

        The trouble is you seem to be so blinded by love for your platform of choice that you're prepared to insult people that dosn't yet
    • by anothy ( 83176 ) on Monday January 09, 2006 @12:29AM (#14424909) Homepage
      a) I can't work on Microsoft products like SQL Server on a Mac
      that's a feature, not a bug. ;-)
  • Laptop Standard (Score:4, Interesting)

    by superpulpsicle ( 533373 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @10:48PM (#14424528)
    If iPod is the defacto standard for music players, it's going to be difficult to raise the iBook to be the laptop standard. Everywhere I look companies are too heavily invested into Dell and other big name PC laptops. But I'd like to see Jobs try and win this one.

  • by EuroChild ( 523969 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @10:48PM (#14424530)
    While, granted, there are a whole lot of rumors flying around about intel macs, what if there is no intel update? AFAIK, Apple have never stated that they would move to intel this early. So what will this do to apple, not only to the fans (myself included) but to the greater public, if we see another tiny bump to the laptop lines? Apple stand to loose a lot of face should they not be able to deliver...
  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @10:49PM (#14424533)
    I think Steve Jobs will announce that Microsoft is licensing OS X to replace the plumbing in Windows Vista, and a giant kitchen sink will knonk him on the head as Bill Gates appears on the big screen behind in a Dark Helmet helmet with an girly laugh. Oh, yeah. One more thing... :P
    • a sink? (Score:3, Funny)

      by Schlemphfer ( 556732 )
      and a giant kitchen sink will knonk him on the head

      You meant to write "a chair," didn't you?

    • I believe that this site [] has all you need to know about Vista. A shameless ripoff of Mac OS X. Pity that Microsoft doesn't have any new ideas..
  • 'We think the iBook, PowerBook, Mac Mini, and potentially Xserve are areas that are going to move to Intel first,'

    So, you think that Apple will switch one of it's own products to Intel first? Amazing prediction
  • Depends (Score:3, Insightful)

    by liangzai ( 837960 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @10:52PM (#14424544) Homepage
    If the warehouses are emptied out of G4 PowerBooks, they might think now is a good time cramming out a first version of an Intel based PowerBook. Otherwise, they are probably going to wait a little bit longer to avoid unnecessary losses (or get rid of the stocked up stuff for a great discount).

    Two problems: Apple needs to upgrade its aging portfolio of laptops, but at the same time they can't risk introducing a flawed first Intel model; it's gotta be more or less perfect, and it's gotta be so much better than a G4 in almost every regard.

    I will definitely buy one as soon as I hear the specs and reviews are good. Otherwise, I will most definitely postpone for a while, and get on with my current G4 PB.
    • Re:Depends (Score:2, Interesting)

      Two problems: Apple needs to upgrade its aging portfolio of laptops, but at the same time they can't risk introducing a flawed first Intel model; it's gotta be more or less perfect, and it's gotta be so much better than a G4 in almost every regard.

      Then they're out of luck because Apple's first attempt is invariably flawed.

      Personally, I don't think it matters. The iBooks have had awful failure rates before, they still look pretty, and they still sell. And-I-want-one!

  • by The Ancients ( 626689 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @10:55PM (#14424557) Homepage
    Said analyst Bajarin, a long-time Silicon Valley watcher: "He also has something else up his sleeve that none of us have a clue about."

    An 'Intel Inside' tattoo?

  • by csoto ( 220540 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @10:58PM (#14424573)
    First, they don't move that platform very quickly. Secondly, their real cluster sales go towards SciViz, which have a particular fondness for the G5 platform.
  • by SensitiveMale ( 155605 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @10:58PM (#14424577)
    considering Steve Jobs said the laptops and the mac mini were to be converted to Intel first.
  • My predictions... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by doormat ( 63648 ) on Sunday January 08, 2006 @11:00PM (#14424588) Homepage Journal
    iBook (all with 13.3" widescreen display and integrated graphics - 945GM MCH)
    $799: Intel Centrino Solo 1.66Ghz
    $999: Intel Centrino Duo 1.66Ghz
    $1199: Intel Centrino Duo 1.83GHz

    $499: Intel Centrino Duo LV 1.5Ghz
    $599: Intel Centrino Duo LV 1.66Ghz
    $699: Intel Centrino Duo LV 1.66Ghz (but with included DVD+DL burner, bluetooth, etc)

    Plus the MacTV annoucement (42" and 50" Plasmas with Minis built in), and the new 1GB shuffle replacement (possibly the 1GB Nano).
    • Oh, and I almost forgot, updates to .Mac (since there is scheduled downtime from 7AM-12PM for Tuesday).

      The rest (powerbooks, iMac) in April! XServe and PowerMac due in next year's MWSF.
    • >integrated graphics - 945GM MCH

      I don't know what this is but is it better than the ATI 9550 (or whatever) currently in iBooks as I can't imagine them decreasing the graphics performance.
    • If there is a $499 dual core mini, I'll buy it in a heart beat. But, I think you are way off on that one. I just can't see dual-core at that price point. They'll leave dual-core in the Powerbooks, and higher-end desktop models. I peg dual core (if it gets released/announced this week at all!) to start at a minimum of $799, probably closer to $999.

      Now, let's all hope to hell I'm wrong! A dual-core Mac Mini like device that will look good by my TV for $499 would be most welcome!
    • The LV chips are more expensive. I certainly share the doubt of a sibling poster of a Mini, with two cores, at that price point. Would a LV version really be needed in the Mini?
    • MacTV looks likely, or at least some sort of update to Front Row to add PVR functionality or flesch out the feature set a bit.

      However, I think they'll pick a new name []...

      Is it just me, or does it seem like apple's becoming complacent? The last few macworlds have been somewhat disappointing. Front Row is great and all, but it certainly could be improved a lot. Likewise for the iPod Video, Pages, and Aperture.... maybe they're just waiting for the X86 transition nightmare to be over (still a bad decision in
    • by dr.badass ( 25287 ) on Monday January 09, 2006 @06:56AM (#14426041) Homepage
      iBook (all with 13.3" widescreen display and integrated graphics - 945GM MCH)

      I dobut you'll see any Apple system with Intel's graphics. They've put a lot of energy into Core Image, which requires programmable pixel shaders, and if I remember correctly, Intel's pixel shader support is laughable, with hardly any hardware accelleration. Given that current iBooks do support Core Image, it would be a step backwards. (This, and laughable graphics performance in general.) Not completely impossible, but unlikely.

      Also, the main reason to use Intel's graphics support would be to cash in on "Centrino" marketing. I don't think Apple needs or wants to overrun their very strong brands (iBook, PowerBook) with Intel's. The same reason I wouldn't expect to see an "Intel Inside" sticker.

      Mini $499: Intel Centrino Duo LV 1.5Ghz

      If it's going to be plugged into a wall, there's no reason for the low-voltage version of the chip. The current Mini form factor has plenty of room to disperse the heat of the normal version. I would expect to see the LV version in some kind of ultraportable, if anything.
  • I'm interested in what the new speakers will be like. rumours suggest it'll be more than just an ipod-compatible boombox.

    also, airport with possible video is interesting, but support for streaming of all audio (or at least support for itunes/quicktime/dvd player video files with audio in sync) would be fantastic.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08, 2006 @11:23PM (#14424696)
    ..that Steve Jobs will be wearing a rather tight black shirt of some kind.
  • my guess is mactv (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cwg_at_opc ( 762602 ) on Monday January 09, 2006 @12:18AM (#14424869) Journal
    the local NPR station here in the Los Angeles area, KCRW is having their spring fund-drive and will be giving away one of the newly announced products to a subscriber. the DJ said she didn't know what it was, as it was still secret, but they would announce what it is on tuesday. my guess is similar to what some previous posters have said: a mini-based plasma DVR.
  • One Word - NewtonX (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bodhammer ( 559311 ) on Monday January 09, 2006 @12:26AM (#14424896)

    640 x 364 x 24 bits 4.25" 16x9 LCD
    Weight 257g, 6.5" x 2.8 x .85"
    40GB Hard Drive, 2GB Flash (Instant On/Standby)
    Touch screen with Inkwell, full Qwerty Keyboard Twistable Clamshell
          (see Sharp Zaurus SL-C3100), touch wheel as joystick in landscape, edge buttons for gaming - see Zodiac/PSP
    OSX Lite based on FreeBSD w/ Linux Layer Enabled
    802.11G/Bluetooth/IR/IEEE 1394
    Headphone Jack
    USB 2.0 (2)
    Compact Flash Slot
    4 AA NiMH 2300Mah batteries, user replacable
        Open Office
        iCal Sync

    Price $649

  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Monday January 09, 2006 @01:58AM (#14425192)
    Foxtrot []
  • iBook upgrades... (Score:4, Informative)

    by ElectroBot ( 554775 ) on Monday January 09, 2006 @08:39AM (#14426397)
    - CPU will most likely be upgraded to Intel Yonah Single Core CPU
    - FSB will be upgraded (142MHz to ?)
    - Default RAM will stay at 512MB
    - 802.11G and Bluetooth 2.0 EDR will remain
    -Optional HD upgrade might go from 100GB max to 120GB max
    - don't know about displays (widescreen ?, 13.3 ?)
    - Video RAM BETTER be upgraded to 64MB (32MB isn't enough for games or full Core Image functionality and the iBook has had 32MB for 5 or 6 updates (3 or 4 years!)
    - Firewire 400 WILL continue to be on the iBook (lots of people with Digital Video Cameras and iMovie would be useless otherwise)
    - Battery life might go from theoretical 6 hours to theoretical 5 hours
    - LCDs might be upgraded the same way Powerbook LCDs were, BUT resolution might not change
    - Hopefully the iBook will gain an internal iSight like the iMac G5
    - The iBook won't get a remote (people would lose it too easily) but it might get a few function keys added/changed to allow easier FrontRow control
    - The iBook P4 will look somewhat different just like the iBook changed when the CPU changed from G3 to G4

    That would be an iBook that I would be willing to trade up for (I have an early 2004 iBook G4 14" 1GHz)
  • by justins ( 80659 ) on Monday January 09, 2006 @10:39AM (#14427158) Homepage Journal
    "We think the iBook, PowerBook, Mac Mini, and potentially Xserve are areas that are going to move to Intel first," said Shaw Wu, an analyst at American Technology Research.

    "We also think they might move the iMac or Power Mac," he added. "There, that should cover everything"

System restarting, wait...