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Macworld Tokyo: Jobs shows bucket-load of new hardware
TOKYO (IDG) -- Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs on Wednesday announced a host of new and upgraded hardware at the 10th Macworld Tokyo show.
In front of 6,000 Apple aficionados, Jobs said: "We've got five or six things to tell you about today, so let's get started."
Apple at last revealed its new PowerBook range, code-named Pismo. The top-of-the range machine features a 500MHz G3 processor that, Jobs claims, does not slow down when the machine is switched to battery mode. It features a 100MHz internal bus, Ultra ATA66 drives, ATI Rage Mobility 128 sound system, DVD drive, two FireWire ports and support for Apple's AirPort wireless networking system.
The machines also have a five-hour battery life, which, Jobs was keen to point out, was a "real five hours" and no exaggeration by the company. The range varies from a 400MHz processor, 64MB of memory and a 6GB hard drive to a 500MHz model, which also features 128MB memory and a 12GB hard drive.
iBook goes gray
In the consumer sector, Jobs unveiled upgrades for Apple's existing iBook, and a special-edition graphite iBook - a companion to the special-edition iMac already on sale.
The upgraded iBooks feature double the memory of existing machines and double the hard drive space, 64MB and 6GB respectively, but will be sold at the same price as the existing machines.
The special-edition iBook will pack a 366MHz processor and the same memory and hard-disk configurations as the standard machines.
G4 hits 500MHz
Apple reintroduced its original Power Mac G4 range - at their original speeds. The revamped range once again starts at 400MHz, with 450MHz and 500MHz models also available.
All Apple's current range now supports AirPort. In a nod to the Japanese consumer, Jobs also disclosed Apple's deal with Dai Nippon Screen Manufacturing. Apples forthcoming OS X operating system will contain five new Japanese character fonts as standard, each featuring 17,000 Japanese characters.
Jobs also took time to introduce Japan to Mac OS X, which he said would ship as a single CD-ROM containing all language versions. This would enable Apple to ship the Japanese language version of the operating system on the same day as the English version ships, an announcement which drew applause from the local audience.
As with his keynote at Macworld in San Francisco last month, Jobs also outlined some of what the company has learned about its customers. He also added details about those in Japan, the company's second biggest market.
Claiming a 7.8 per cent share of the local PC market, Jobs said surveys have found Apple is selling more to first-time buyers in Japan - 50 per cent of iMac buyers in Japan are first-time computer users, compared with 30 per cent in the U.S. Among buyers of the iBook, 36 per cent are new customers locally, against 26 per cent in the U.S., while 65 per cent of buyers said they had not seriously considered buying anything else.
Martyn Williams is Tokyo correspondent for the IDG News Service.
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