Jobs launches Intel-based iMacs, notebooks

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Jobs launches Intel-based iMacs, notebooks

Steve Jobs has officially opened the door to the Intel era at Apple.

Steve Jobs has officially opened the door to the Intel era at Apple.

At Macworld in San Francisco, the Apple CEO took the wraps off the first Macintosh computers to use Intel chips: two new iMac all-in-one desktops and two MacBook Pro notebooks, all of which run on the new Intel Core Duo processors.

Jobs said the new iMacs are two to three times faster than the current G5 PowerPC models and the new laptop is four to five times faster than the existing PowerBook, which runs on a G4 PowerPC processor.

“We're going to transition our entire product line to Intel processors by the end of 2006,” Jobs said.

Apple users and solution providers have been especially anxious for a Mac notebook with a more powerful processor, a situation that industry observers said finally spurred Apple last year to announce that it would drop the PowerPC chips supplied by IBM and go with processors from Intel.

The one-inch-thick MacBook Pro, slated to ship next month, has a 15.4-inch wide-screen display and built-in iSight Webcam. It comes in a $3199 (incl GST) model with a 1.67GHz Intel Core Duo processor and a $3999 (incl GST) model with a 1.83GHz Core Duo processor.

Jobs noted that the webcam feature will be particularly useful for mobile workers. “Now you can have videoconferencing on the go”, he told Macworld attendees.

Other MacBook Pro features include Front Row, which allows users to listen to music and view photos and videos using a remote control, and MagSafe, a new type of power adapter that attaches to the computer via a magnet that pulls off if the cord is accidentally yanked.

The new iMac all-in-ones, available now, include a $1999 (incl GST) model with a 17-inch LCD screen and 1.83GHz Core Duo processor and a $2649 (incl GST) model with a 20-inch LCD screen and a 2GHz Core Duo processor. The new iMacs also feature built-in iSight Webcams.

Apple said the MacBook Pro and new iMac models will run Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.4, the latest version of the company’s Unix-based operating system.

Jobs also unveiled a new technology called Rosetta, which provides a bridge that enables applications designed for PowerPC Macs to run on the new Intel-based Macs. “Rosetta is going to be a great bridge until we get all of the applications universal,” he said.

To illustrate the commitment of Apple's software partners to making their applications compatible with Intel-based Macs, Jobs introduced Roz Ho, general manager of Microsoft's Mac business unit.

Ho said Microsoft is on track to make the Mac version of Office — a key application for many Apple VARs and users — run smoothly on the Intel Macs.

“We're working to ensure that current versions of Office work well in Rosetta,” Ho said, adding that Microsoft has agreed to ship new versions of Office for Mac for at least the next five years.

Also at Macworld, Apple introduced 2006 versions of its iWork productivity and iLife multimedia suites. The latter includes iWeb, a new application for creating Web sites, blogs and podcasts.

In addition, the company unveiled the iPod Radio Remote, which combines a wired remote control with FM radio capabilities for the Nano and fifth-generation models of the iPod portable music player.

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