Sunday, May 18, 2003

Making a case for the 970 Powerbook...

One hot debate that's emerged as of late (no rhyme intended) is whether Apple will simultaneously introduce PowerPC 970-based Powermacs and Powerbooks.

If you glace over at the Rumor Watch column, you'll see that I'm on board with Powerbook 970 idea. Here are my reasons why.

1. We've been waiting months for Apple to release a successor to the 15" TiBook, what we believe to be a 15.4" Aluminum Powerbook. The current TiBook lacks many pieces of technology - like AirPort Extreme and FireWire 800 - that are being introduced on almost every other Apple machine (FireWire 800 being a slight exception).

Why are we waiting so long for this Powerbook? The WWDC keynote is just over a month away, and I think we'll see it there.

2. As much as we've all grown to love the G4, Apple's showing signs of a real desire to drop the aging processor ASAP. While we all adore Altivec (a.k.a. the "Velocity Engine") - which the 970 apparently utilizes - it's becoming obvious that people just don't buy the whole "Megahertz Myth" thing.

Apple thinks a push away from the G4 is a push in the right direction, and I'm inclined to agree.

3. Not just does the G4 carry a battered image, but it also is reaching its maximum possible speeds. With the entry-level 970 reportedly zipping along at 1.4 GHz, moving from top-end G4s to low-end 970s would give the Powerbook line a much-needed speed bump (and then some).

4. Not just is the 970 faster than the G4, some reports indicate that the 1.4 GHz 970 uses less power than the 1 GHz G4. This could provide Powerbooks with increased battery life. It could also be a step towards solving the pesky "burn your palm" problem caused by the machine's overall heat generation.

5. While some people are quick to point out that the G4 was introduced in a desktop machine long before it reached portables, the G4 wasn't a major transition. Apple's last major processor transition was to the G3, which saw almost simultaneous release in desktop and portable lines.

It's safe to assume that the 970 - which will be Apple's first 64-bit processor - would warrant a major transition.

6. The iBook. We all love the iBook. It's a great little laptop. But there's potential in the iBook that simply isn't being utilized by Apple. The reason: The iBook can't get better until the Powerbook gets better. This is where things get messy, with conflicting GOBI and "Mojave" rumors running about. What matters is this: The iBook is due for a revision, not a speed bump, but a big ol' revision adding support for AirPort extreme and tossing in a faster processor (and probably a redesign).

The iBook can't move forward before the Powerbook. Even the iBook's most recent update was only a very minor speed bump.

A half dozen reasons for the Powerbook 970. Whoop-dee-doo.

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