Apple has updated its iBook laptops with faster PowerPC G3 processors now running at up to 700MHz, double the on-chip L2 (level two) cache, a more powerful ATI Mobility Radeon graphics processor and larger hard drives.

"The iBook is our best-selling consumer and education notebook ever," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's senior director of Hardware Product Marketing. "Now iBooks are even better for creating, organising and sharing digital photos, movies and music on the go."

According to Apple, the new iBook runs up to 35 percent faster than previous models. This has been born out, the company says, in CPU performance tests, such as encoding a song from an audio CD into an MP3 file using iTunes. The iBook also now features a new video-out port that supports VGA (video graphics accelerator) output, as well as S-video and composite video with an optional adapter.

The iBook is available with 12.1in or 14.1in active-matrix 1,024x768-pixel displays. Models ship with either 128MB, 256MB RAM or a maximum of 640MB.

The new ATI Mobility Radeon graphics controller features 16MB RAM and AGP 2X. Hard-drive capacities are 20GB or 30GB Ultra ATA hard drives, with a new 40GB option. Buyers still have a choice DVD-ROM/CD-RW (CD-rewritable) Combo drive or CD-ROM drive.

UK pricing is not yet available. In the USA pricing is $1,799 (around £1,233 plus tax) for the top of the range 700MHz PowerPC G3 processor with 512KB on-chip L2 cache, 14.1in TFT display, 256MB RAM, 30GB hard drive and a DVD-ROM/CD-RW Combo optical drive.