Apple Introduces Intel-Powered Computers

Computers using new, Intel Core Duo microchips are among the products Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveils at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco. For years, Apple had shunned use of Intel processors. Also making news: an iPod with a built-in FM radio and remote control.

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Michele Norris.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Today Apple introduced desktop and laptop computers that use chips made by Intel. The machines are significantly faster than Apple's previous offerings. They were unveiled at the annual Macworld Expo in San Francisco. NPR's Laura Sydell reports.

LAURA SYDELL reporting:

For years, Apple shunned Intel, the company whose chips run the majority of the world's PCs. In the late 1990s, Apple actually ran TV ads with an Intel Pentium II symbol glued to a snail, but all is forgotten as Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage during his Macworld keynote address.

Mr. STEVE JOBS (CEO, Apple Computers): Today, we are going to roll out the first Mac with an Intel processor.

SYDELL: Jobs also presented a new ad for the computers that poked fun at the past.

(Soundbite of advertisement)

Unidentified Man: The Intel chip. For years, it's been trapped inside PCs, inside dull little boxes, dutifully performing dull little tasks.

SYDELL: In this commercial, the life of the chip will be spruced up inside Apple computers. The new desktop iMacs will begin at $1,299; the new laptop, called a Macbook Pro, starts at 1,999. According to Jobs, the notebook is four to five times faster than the previous one; the desktop is two to three times quicker.

The new hardware announcements came on the heels of good news for Apple. Strong demand for iPods fueled a 63-percent growth in the company's revenue during the holiday season. Analysts say the popularity of the iPod has created a resurgence of interest in Apple computers and hurt sales of rival Dell. With Intel chips, Apple risks alienating Mac fans who have always liked being different. There's also the possibility that PC users will now be able to run pirated versions of Mac OS/10, the critically acclaimed Apple operating system. Laura Sydell, NPR News, San Francisco.

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