The Lowdown on the 15″ AlBook

2003 – It’s been over a month since Apple surprised us all with 12″ and 17″ PowerBooks, their smallest and largest laptops ever. (The Mac Portable still takes the cake for heaviest at nearly 16 pounds!)

The Rumor Mill

Since then Apple has introduced new Power Macs, updated the G4 iMac, dropped prices on the eMac, released a one-third faster Xserve, and done absolutely nothing to the iBooks and PowerBooks.

Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Well, that’s about to change. As expected, Apple is about to announce an aluminum version of the 15.2″ titanium PowerBook. Between Big Al and Little Al, maybe we should call this one Middle Al?

The most obvious difference is the aluminum casing, which will give all three PowerBooks the same appearance – and should eliminate the griping about paint scuffing, titanium scratching, and paint flecking off.

There are no real surprises here. The 15″ AlBook will have the same 1280 x 854 pixel 15.2″ display as the current TiBook, will drop AirPort support in favor of AirPort Extreme, will have a FireWire 800 port, and will be just a tiny bit lighter and more compact than the TiBook.

Middle Al will have the same kind of hinge construction as the current aluminum PowerBooks. It will also run at the same speed.

That’s right, no speed bump.

Nor will Apple move the ports to the side – with the PC Card slot on the left and the Combo drive or SuperDrive taking up most of the space on the right, there’s no convenient way to do it at present. At least that’s what our mole in the Apple janitorial services department tells us.

We wonder, though, why Apple can’t move the PC Card to the right, leaving the left side for ports. Oh well, the unknown janitor hasn’t let us down yet.

Oh, and one more thing, in keeping with recent price reductions, Apple will be reducing the price of the 15″ PowerBook G4 from $2,299 for the Combo drive version and $2,799 for the SuperDrive machine to $1,999 for the 867 MHz Combo drive model and $2,499 for the SuperDrive machine.

One way Apple is saving costs on the 15″ PowerBook is by using a reduced grade of aluminum – recycled soda cans instead of aircraft grade aluminum. They figure we’ll never know the difference unless we drop or bake them….

– Anne Onymus