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Apple Rolls Out Cheaper, More Powerful Portable Computers

From Reuters

Trying to regain its lead in the notebook computer market, Apple Computer Inc. on Monday unveiled a line of cheaper and more powerful PowerBooks.

The company rolled out two new series, the PowerBook 5000 and 2000, and added to the existing 100 series. The 5000 is to be in shops on Sept. 11, the others in mid-October.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based computer maker said the new series are its first notebooks based on the advanced PowerPC 603e chip, one of the most powerful now available in notebooks. Apple said the new machines are cheaper than comparable models using Intel Corp.'s Pentium chip. The chip was developed by a joint venture of Motorola Inc., International Business Machines Corp. and Apple. Apple’s previous notebooks ran on the Motorola 68000 series chip.

Kimball Brown, an analyst at research firm Dataquest, said Christmas could prove a turning point for Apple, whose share of the global portable computer market has eroded to 6.7% this year from a peak of 11% in 1992.

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But just as Apple announced its notebooks, Hewlett-Packard Co. upped the ante by cutting prices on two notebook computer lines by as much as 19%.The move follows similar cuts by other computer manufacturers.

Apple’s new notebooks weigh less than their predecessors but boast of bigger screens and wireless access to the company’s eWorld on-line network. Enhanced features let users branch out from traditional spreadsheets into graphics, sound and video applications.

Apple stock closed down $1.75 at $43 on the Nasdaq.


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