Apple cuts prices on G4 PowerBooks

Apple Computer will drop prices on two of its Titanium PowerBook G4 models, the company announced Friday.

Effective Saturday, Apple will drop the price of the 400MHz PowerBook by US$400, while the 500MHz price of the model will be cut by $500, the company said Friday. The notebooks will now retail for $2,199 and $2,999 respectively, Apple said. The cuts apply worldwide.

The 400MHz PowerBook G4 features 128M bytes of RAM, a 10G-byte hard drive, while the 500MHz PowerBook offers 256M bytes of RAM and a 20G-byte hard drive. Both versions are 1-inch thick (2.5 centimeters), have a 15.2-inch display and a built-in modem. Apple began shipping the PowerBooks in January.

The company did not lower the price on its high-end G4, which also features a 500MHz processor, but a larger hard drive, at 30G bytes, and also an extra battery and AC adapter. That PowerBook will still cost $3,997.

The price drops are most likely related to the back-to-school buying season in the U.S., according to one analyst. "Although the schools typically do their buying in the second quarter, the students are really consumers who decide to buy just before they go back to school," said Roger Kay, an analyst with International Data Corp. (IDC).

Apple has faced increasing competition in the educational market, mainly from Dell Computer Corp., but also from other vendors, including Gateway Inc. and IBM Corp., Kay said. "Dell's been taking a lot of share from (Apple) lately," he said. "Apple is just trying to ensure it gets its share of those back-to-school dollars in the face of rough competition.

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