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Apple's iBook More Than Just iCandy

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RALEIGH — Apple Computeris on the comeback trail. New products and strong leadership by Apple's interim CEO, Steve Jobs, have boosted stock prices and lifted the spirits of Apple lovers. Now they have more to cheer about, theiBook.

Apple retailers are happy these days.iMacsare hot sellers. Now, the Mac faithful have another reason to be jubilant.Jobs showed off the newest Mac laptopWednesday.

The laptop has a big screen and a long battery life. The iBook also comes in two colors, tangerine and blueberry.

"I think it's very appealing to consumers, as a whole, to have some flexibility or some choice in the decor of this computer," said Roger Babson, president ofTenPlus Systems.

At $1,600, the iBook is medium priced for a notebook and $400 more than the iMac.

At the heart of the iBook is Apple's G3 300 Mhz processor. TheAirPort, a $400 option, makes the iBook wireless in the home or the office.

"You're not physically tied to a power outlet on the wall or a network connection. You have access to your network and the Internet," said Babson.

You can pick out your iBook now, but delivery is not expected for several weeks.

Analysts say the iBook will likely be more popular with students than with business people.

Intel-based notebook computers with comparable performance are generally less expensive.