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New hardware, just in time for... what?

By MacEdition Staff, April 29, 2002

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On April 29, Apple slipped a little something into everybody’s WWDC stocking: a new TiBook and a whole new i... er, eMac. The TiBook revision had been expected, both from rumor site information as well as common sense, given the length of time since a substantial change in the platform. The eMac finally gives those education buyers something to write home about. [Ed note: Speaking of writing home, don’t forget to tell us about your Macs in Edu stories!]

The TiBook. Enhanced.

What are the things TiBook users have been clammoring for? Larger screen? Larger hard drive? Faster processors? Better graphics? Better AirPort reception? More FireWire ports? Multiple batteries? Well, we can’t have everything, or Apple wouldn’t have anything to sell next quarter. But this rev of the TiBook does make some key improvements.

Size does matter

Picture of new TiBook
TiBook image courtesy of Apple – Click for larger view (749 x 528 JPEG)

The new TiBook has a slightly larger screen giving a native resolution of 1280-by-854 pixels at millions of colors, compared with 1152-by-768 for the previous model. For those into the numbers, Apple claims it’s 23% more workspace. Of course, there will always be those who need more space, and would prefer to use Apple displays (such as the 23" Cinema Display HD).

That’s where this TiBook seems to diverge in the yellow wood – DVI out. With this model, Apple has really confused it’s monitor strategy. One rev of G4 towers had DVI (and a DVI Cinema Display to match), but anything recent has the non-industry-standard ADC (Apple Display Connector), the single-cable-good-idea-on-paper connector. Of course, the older iMacs there was VGA out. The new iBooks, iMacs, and the eMac (see below) all use a mini-VGA out (requiring an adapter cable). Three different video connection systems are likely to cause confusion. VGA (even in the mini sense) might be appropriate for the consumer end. On the high-end, though, it seems Apple has painted itself into a corner with the ADC since it doesn’t make sense to power an external monitor from a laptop, yet these customers would be prime candidates to buy Apple displays. At least now those displays can actually be used.

Kudos to Apple, though, for including the DVI-to-VGA adapter. At least those folks with older VGA displays don’t lose any functionality by upgrading to this TiBook.

Graphic card-nage

Finally, the TiBooks have a video-chip from the current family rather than the previous one: ATI’s Mobility Radeon 7500. It’s still no nVidia chip, but 32MB of video memory and a 4x AGP interface does help bring graphics performance along.

Log in. Ana...log in.

A surprise return to the professional laptop line is the analog audio-in port, allowing external analog microphones to be used when you’re crafting that next award-winning production in iMovie.

There’s no ’book like a TiBook

Basically, the machine we all know and love has been given a facelift. The bigger screen and DVI out seem like compelling reasons to consider upgrading, especially if you have a Pismo or earlier. If you’re a 3D-gamer, the new chip can’t do anything but help. If you’re a “latest-and-greatest” kind of buyer, the improvements are nice additions.

Part 2: Say hello to eMac

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