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Apple Gets A Little More Help From Its Friends

It may well be the broadest product announcement in Apple Computer Inc.'s 14-year history. On Oct. 21, the personal-computer maker is set to unveil six new machines, all with different shapes, sizes, colors, and power levels. But it's the smallest computer of the bunch, the PowerBook 100 laptop, that could eventually prove most important: That machine marks the first time Apple has pasted its rainbow-colored logo on a computer made by another company.

The other company is Japan's Sony Corp., which got the job of building the $2,300 laptop after Apple decided it didn't have the miniaturization skills needed to produce the 5.1-pound computer. This deal shows that Apple's recent linkup with IBM, aimed at developing future technology, is no isolated maneuver. Both Apple and Sony insiders say the PowerBook 100 may be the first in a series of products built for Apple by the Japanese consumer-electronics giant.