During his keynote address this morning at the Apple Expo 2000 show in Paris, Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the wraps off a new line of iBook computers. The primary change in the latest consumer Mac laptop is the addition of a single FireWire port, which enables the connection of a Nikon D1, Kodak/Canon pro camera or a speedy external card reader. This effectively removes the main barrier to the iBook's use in digital photojournalism, since it has always lacked a PC Card slot, thereby forcing users of previous models to use a sluggish USB card reader to move photos from card to computer.
Latest iBook line features a single FireWire port in addition to USB and Ethernet
The new iBook "family" is really just two models, iBook and iBook Special Edition (SE). Each is available in two colours. The primary differences between the two models are G3 processor speed - 366mhz and 466mhz - and media - CD-ROM or DVD/CD-ROM. Both the entry level iBook and the iBook SE feature 64MB of RAM (expandable to 320MB), a 10GB hard drive, 12.1 inch screen, an external A/V connector, USB, Ethernet and FireWire. The iBook is US$1499; the SE, US$1799. Custom configurations are available from the Apple Store web site. A good overview of the new iBook's is on the Macintosh news site MacNN.
Also announced was the availability of Mac OS X Public Beta for US$30.