One for the road

Another area where Apple Computer Inc. might be able to make some inroads in the federal market is the new Titanium PowerBook G4 notebook computer. The Titanium is attractive because it packs the power to serve as a desktop and crams it into a 5.3-pound, 1-inch thick package that will appeal to road warriors who despise the heft and bulk of most desktop replacement notebooks.

As its name suggests, this PowerBook is encased in titanium rather than plastic or the now-passe magnesium used by other notebooks. It is available in both 400 MHz and 500 MHz configurations and includes all of the video and music tools of the G4 desktop machine.

The Titanium comes with a smaller, 15-inch version of the Apple Cinema Display. That size would doom travelers who wanted to use the notebook on an airline tray table, but the movie aspect ratio means the picture is very wide and not as tall as a conventional 15-inch display. Apple promises a five-hour battery life, but concedes that running a DVD movie will kill the battery in about two hours.

The Titanium features a built-in antenna for the optional AirPort wireless networking card that proved very popular with the Army, according to Stephan Bates, principal consultant for Acuent Inc., an Army contractor in Parsippany, N.J.

"The people who have the wireless cards love it," he said. The lack of wires lets them take their computers with them to meetings and to colleagues' cubicles to collaborate, Bates said.

"Once you've used it, you'll wonder why [AirPort wireless antennas] aren't on every floor of the Pentagon."

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