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Iomega Corp. is releasing a portable, battery-powered, 21 megabyte Floptical drive for Macintosh PowerBook computers.

The PowerBook Floptical will be available exclusively through The Apple Catalog.Floptical drives have higher performance than conventional floppy drives and use 21MB 3.5-inch floppy disks. Iomega Floptical drives are also downward compatible with 1.44MB Macintosh disks.

The PowerBook Floptical has a built-in HDI 30 SCSI cable and connects directly to the SCSI port of all PowerBook 100 through PowerBook 180c models. With a Duo Dock or Duo MiniDock it connects to all PowerBook Duo models.

The PowerBook Floptical can be powered by any PowerBook 140-180 battery while on the road. It can also be powered by the Apple PowerBook AC adapter that is shipped with the 100-180c models.

A power pass-through cable is included, enabling most Power-Books to share one AC adapter with the Floptical drive. Duo and color PowerBook models require additional PowerBook accessories for operation.

Its small footprint is similar to Apple's external SuperDrive for PowerBook 100 and Duo computers making it a high-capacity portable option for traveling PowerBook users needing additional storage, or easy to use backup. Users can also place the Macintosh operating system and important applications on one 21MB floppy for use as an emergency startup disk in case of a hard-drive failure.

"The 21MB floppy for the PowerBook delivers all the convenience, familiarity and ease of use one has come to expect from floppies, but it delivers 14 times the capacity, and up to three times the performance of normal floppies," said Steve Wise, Floptical product manager. "Now the sales representative, manager or executive can keep all the files they need conveniently with their PowerBook."

Iomega Floptical products employ patented Holographic Optical Tracking technology for enhanced reliability and better performance. They are compatible with Floptical disks from other manufacturers.

The new PowerBook Floptical will be available for $399 exclusively in the upcoming issue of Apple Computer's The Apple Catalog, which can be obtained by calling (800) 795-1000. All Iomega Floptical drives come with a one-year warranty, and one 21MB shareware disk.