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Apple official weighs in on 15-in. PowerBook problem, laptop successes

November 3, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Apple Computer Inc. is looking into complaints about blemishes on the screens of some of its new 15-in. PowerBooks, but it hasn't yet determined what's causing the whitish marks to appear.
Dave Russell, director of product marketing for portables and wireless at Apple, said late last week that the company is aware of the white blemishes on some new 15-in. screens, but hasn't yet "captured" enough of the computers to figure out why the spots are appearing. He also noted that any flawed machines would either be fixed and sent back to owners or kept by Apple for study. In that case, PowerBook owners would be sent new laptops.
"We're looking at it," he said, although he offered no details on how long it might take Apple to come up with a fix.
In a wide-ranging interview with Computerworld, Russell also said Apple "would like" to fit one of its powerful new G5 processors in a PowerBook -- if it can figure out how to keep the machine cool enough to operate reliably. In addition, he touted the company's new iBooks, which were released two weeks ago, showed off some of the new features of Mac OS X 10.3 and talked about what he uses when traveling.
In describing the newest PowerBook, the 15-in. aluminum-clad model released in September, Russell called it the "perfect balance of performance and portability. The 12-in. [PowerBook] is still a high-performance machine that puts portability ahead of performance. And if you look at the 17-[in. PowerBook], it puts performance above portability."
Apple's largest and smallest PowerBook laptops were updated at the same time the midrange model was released. Russell said Apple worked hard to eliminate some of the issues that cropped up in the first generation of PowerBooks, especially complaints that the 12-in. model ran hot.
"We took a very serious look at that," he said. "We completely rearchitected the heat management in the machines, in terms of everything. We even added a thermo-coupler on the hard drive. Lots of stuff like that went into it."
The result, he said, is a cooler PowerBook.
Although Apple officials are generally loath to talk about upcoming products, Russell did say Apple would someday like to offer a PowerBook G5. "We certainly want to do that," he said. "But it's going to be a while. We think the G4 has a very long life in the PowerBook."
The main hurdle in getting a G5 processor into a portable is the need to keep the processor cool, he said. "Have you looked at the inside of the G5

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