January 20th 2003
By Mike Flaminio
Apple has quietly downgraded the DVD-R SuperDrive specifications in its 17" PowerBook G4 model. The original PDF released following Jobs' MWSF keynote stated the DVD-R in the 17" used a 2x (DVD-R) mechanism. The alteration was spotted by a keen-eyed MacBidouille correspondent.
However, a revised PDF now says that the drive is 1x. Both the new 12.1" PowerBook G4 and the Titanium PowerBook G4 use 1x slot-loading DVD-R drives. On the 12.1", the DVD-R is optional.
The PDF from Apple now states the 1x speed clearly. MacBidouille has also published screen shots of the original and revised PDF specification pages. Oddly, the original spec sheet said the SuperDrive also reads DVD-ROMs at 6x; the 'slower' drive apparently reads them at 8x.
Analysis: Curiouser and curiouser. This may be no more than a typing error, but it certainly has taken Apple some time to pick it up. It appeared quite reasonable that the expensive, high-end PowerBook 17 would have a faster drive than its less well-bred siblings, but it also makes us wonder whether Apple planned on a 2x DVD-R, but couldn't source sufficient numbers for what is bound to be a v-e-r-y popular model.
This recalls the short-lived DVD-or-CDRW run of the TiBook late in 2001. You could have either, but CDRWs were rarer than hen's teeth, especially in the high-end model. Then Apple managed to get adequate supply of Combo slot-loads, and offered a paid retroinstall to customers who'd bought the less-well-endowed models. In this case, watch this space.