Updated from 10:36 a.m. EDT
is nearing the end of its move to
The Macintosh computer maker announced on Tuesday a new lineup of consumer-targeted notebooks starting at about $1,100 and featuring Intel's Core Duo processors. The new MacBook computers replace Apple's iBook line, which were built around PowerPC processors made by
The MacBook, which is already available through Apple's site, is the latest Macintosh line that Apple has moved to Intel processors. In January, the company
announced Intel-based versions of its professional notebook line and its iMac desktop computers. In February, the company
moved its entry-level Mac mini desktops over to Intel chips.
That leaves only one of the company's major products -- the PowerMac line of professional desktops -- running on the PowerPC architecture. The company has a couple of other niche computers, such as the education market-targetted eMac and the the Xserve server line that run on PowerPC chips, but the future direction of those products is unclear.
announced last year that it would be moving from its long reliance on PowerPCs to Intel chips, in part because of the slow pace at which IBM and Freescale were developing competitive processors for notebooks. Originally, the company planned to complete its Intel transition by the end of next year; now, the company expects to finish the changeover by the end of this year.
Although the company is moving rapidly to Intel, the transition hasn't been without hiccups. Apple's computer sales have slowed markedly in its last two quarters as it sought to reduce inventory of its PowerPC models and faced supply constraints on some of its new Intel-based computers.
As expected, Apple released the new MacBook line in time for the back-to-school shopping season, an important period for the company because of its traditional strong share of the education market.
Unlike the iBook, which Apple offered with two different screen sizes, the MacBook will come with just one screen: a 13-inch widescreen display. But, reflecting the choices available with its iPod MP3 player lineup, Apple will offer two cases for the MacBook: white and black.
Customers can get the MacBook with either a 1.83GHz Core Duo processor or a 2.0GHz version. Apple had previously offered those two chips on its MacBook Pro lineup; the company also announced on Tuesday that it is upgrading the processors available for its professional notebooks to 2.0GHz and 2.16GHz.