Apple’s PowerBook announcement is a little disappointing for power-hungry mobile musicians (more pixels, but no more power), but their desktop news is drool-worthy. By next month, they’ll be shipping quad G5 systems (dual processor, dual core), and they’re shipping dual-core machines now, all with faster RAM and faster video.

The Power Mac line, starting at $1999, is now expandable to 16GB DDR2 RAM, with up to 1 terabyte of hard disk. That’s huge for pro users: big performance, same price. Video options are beefed up, too, with the PCI Express Architecture featured on the iMac, and up to NVidia’s fastest video card (the Quadro FX 4500). Overkill for us musicians, but cool nonetheless.

So what does this mean for music? I’m delighted by the already-terrific performance on the previous generation of Power Mac G5s. The last two revisions are both really fast running demanding soft synths and apps like Logic Pro, and if you’re doubling on things like video editing, they’ll blaze through Final Cut Studio, too. So, you can either spring for the new models, or look forward to bargain-basement refurb prices on the old ones. Win-win-win situation. And even the new iMac models feature fairly fast G5s (though not dual core), fast RAM, and fast video, at a price that starts at $1299 with display. Sure, PCs are theoretically cheaper, but the bottom line is you can get an elegant, fast Mac system, affordably. Who’s complaining?

Now if only we could get similar performance boosts on the PowerBook line. About those Intel-based laptops . . .