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Revised PowerBooks to Hit Production in December

While Power Macintosh G4, iMac and iBook sales have been skyrocketing in recent months, Apple's PowerBook sales have been very slow. At one time, there were whispers that Apple would bump the current units up a factor of 66MHz and release these models in November in order to boost sales.

However, new rumors suggest that Apple will begin producing 500MHz G3 PowerBooks sometime between the last week of November and the middle of December. A low-end unit ranging from 400 to 466MHz will also hit production, sources said.

These new units are said to be based on Apple's revised PowerBook logic board, internally code-named "Pismo." Pismo will be built around Apple's new Single Common Unified Architecture, leaving them as the last of Apple's four product points to be updated to the new architectural design. Aboard Pimso is said to be dual 12Mbps USB ports, FireWire, and an AirPort compatibility slot with built-in antennas, plus the usuals.

One of the major features of Pismo that may not be so apparent at first will be extended battery life. According to reliable Apple sources, Apple has been running the new architectured PowerBooks in the labs since early summer, and battery life is just outstanding due to the lower power consumption of the new architectural design. It's believed that with the debut of these units, Apple will be touting 8-10 hours of real-world use per battery.

Additionally, sources claim that Apple will continue to refine the design of the PowerBook product line with each successive release. The Pismo units are expected to obtain some form-factor enhancements and are rumored to lack an internal fan. Additional well-placed exterior vents are said to perform the job of cooling the units. The PowerBook form-factor is scheduled to receive a revision once again in mid-2000 —something we'll discuss when details are officially confirmed.

While it has been confirmed by multiple sources that these units will move into the production phase at the end of this year, word is that Apple will hold off the official announcement of the new 'Books until early January at Macworld Expo. Pricing has not been set for the new units at the time of this report. Additional updates will follow as we head into November.