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Apple Computer may release notebooks running Intel Corp.’s processors as early as in the course of the following weeks, according to a report. The news comes shortly after an analyst from UBS investment bank said that Apple would release Intel-based Mac mini computer in January.

According to an article from ThinkSecret web-site, at Mac World Expo in January Apple will debut its iBook computer featuring Intel’s code-named Yonah processor that will be sold under “Core” trade-mark. While it is not known exactly what processors or price points the new models will debut at, but it is believed that the company may cut the pricing of its iBook by up to $200.

While Intel’s dual-core Yonah processors are likely to offer generally better performance compared to the current Apple G4 processors used in today’s iBook and PowerBook laptops, given that majority of software developed for Mac OS X was designed for PowerPC processors, they will require a special translation layer called Rosetta to run on x86 chips, which is likely to lower performance, which would be critical to users of professional computers and unlikely to be very important for consumers.

Currently Apple’s Mac mini, iBook and PowerBook computers use IBM G4 processors at up to 1.67GHz. Potentially, Apple could replace those chips with Intel Yonah processors, providing mobile and entry-level users with a processor that features two processing engines, thus, works faster in case numerous applications are running. However, Apple recently updated its iMac with IBM G5 (PowerPC 970FX) and PowerMac with dual-core G5 (IBM PowerPC 970MP), thus, the company may decide not to give its entry-level Mac mini serious processing power and initiate transition from other products. A possibility for Apple would be to transit all of its desktop products to the G5 chips and either to do this with the mobile lineup as well, or to begin offering Intel Inside laptops.

Apple announced plans to deliver models of its Macintosh computers using Intel microprocessors by mid-2006, and to transition all of its Macs to using Intel microprocessors by the end of 2007. The computer maker did not comment on the news-story.

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