Apple launches Intel-based MacBook
Laptop will replace the popular iBook line for consumers; stores already have some in stock.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Apple is launching a new Intel-based Mac to replace its popular iBook line of laptops for consumers, the company announced Tuesday.
The MacBook will start at $1,099 and will feature Intel's Core Duo processor, which is essentially a micro chip with two brains on one chip. It is the latest in Apple's (down $2.12 to $65.67, Research) line of Mac computers to get a makeover with Intel chips.
Earlier this year, the company released new versions of its iMac desktop line of computers and its Mac mini line with Intel chips, as well as the MacBook Pro line of laptops for professional users.
Analysts had expected Apple to roll out Intel-based iBooks in time for the back-to-school selling season, typically a strong sales period for Apple. The new MacBook is available today on Apple's Web site, its retail stores and other retail outlets that sell Macs.
"Apple began the transition to Intel Core Duo-based notebooks in February with the 15-inch MacBook Pro, and now just 90 days later we have completed the transition with the release of the all new MacBook," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, in a statement.
The company is close to transitioning its entire line of Macs to include Intel-based processors, a goal Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in January he hoped to achieve by the end of this year. Apple had been using chips from IBM and Freescale Semiconductor.
The only remaining Mac left to get an Intel makeover is the Power Mac G5, its desktop line for professional users.
The company is offering three versions of the new MacBook, all of which contain a 13-inch display. A white version is available with either a 1.83 gigahertz (GHz) processor or a 2.0 GHz processor, while another 2.0 GHz version is available in black.
The new MacBooks are about one-inch thin, which Apple said is 20 percent thinner than its previous versions. The company claims the MacBooks are up to five times faster than the iBook.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster noted that the new MacBook costs 10 percent more than its predecessor, the iBook, a change he had not anticipated.
"Apple's view on pricing is to gain the most market share at optimal profitability," Munster wrote in a note to clients.
Munster said it appears the MacBook will sell strongly in the June quarter, as it appears Apple built up a supply before announcing the new computer.
He said the New York City Apple store said it had "a fair amount" of MacBooks for sale Tuesday, and that another store had "a few" that came in Monday night -- about eight weeks earlier in the product cycle than when stores received the MacBook Pro, Munster noted.
Apple also announced it has increased processor speeds on both models of the 15-inch MacBook Pro, which it launched in February, at no additional cost. The $2,499 model now includes a 2.16 GHz Intel Core Duo processor, up from 2.0 GHz, and the $1,999 model now includes a 2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo processor, up from 1.83 GHz.
Munster does not own shares of Apple, but his firm makes a market in the securities.
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