As CDM expected, Apple has unveiled new hardware:

New PowerBooks are available now, with 1440 x 960 resolution on the 15″ (the old 17″ resolution) and 1680 x 1050 (equivalent to the 20″ desktop display) on the 17″ model. Battery life is improved by 22%, and the models support the Apple 30″ display, but prices are lower on the 15″ and 17″ models: US$1499 (12″) – $1999 (15″) – $2499 (17″). DVD SuperDrives are now standard, as well.

Here’s the disappointing part: most users want more power from their PowerBooks, not more pixels. It’ll be easier to connect to a big Apple display at home (and they’re cheaper now, starting at $1299), but if you want desktop performance, you’re better off with a desktop machine. The price cuts are welcome, but the 12″ is at the same price point it was, meaning, for $200 less, the 14″ iBook can be appealing. (The iBook sacrifices hard disk performance, with 4200 rpm instead of 5400 rpm, which could be a problem for audio though most of us multitrack off a separate drive, and has a slower video card.)

Here’s what you do get with the new 15″/17″:

  • Better battery life: 22% improvement. (12″ again remains the same.
  • Faster RAM: PC2-4200 instead of 333MHz DDR
  • More pixels, 30″ display support
  • Lower prices ($1999/$2499)

  • SuperDrive standard across the board, which amounts to a price cut on the $12″ (since $1499 previously bought you a combo drive)

    My own choice: I’m going with a refurb 15″ 1.5G PowerBook and sticking to the Power Mac as my desktop machine.