Businessweek Archives

A Potential Switcher Needs Advice


?? Another Nano Lawsuit |

Main

| How Ripe Is Apple?? Stock? ??

November 03, 2005

A Potential Switcher Needs Advice

Arik Hesseldahl

Next door on our Tech Beat blog, my colleague Rob Hof is mulling a switch to the Mac after years of using Windows. He'd like a little advice from Mac users concerning which laptop to get: A PowerBook or an iBook. I'm sure there are plenty of readers here willing to weigh in with their own opinions.

08:19 AM

PowerBook and iBook

I think that on the specs/price ratio, the iBook is better value.

However, if the following features are desired, you gotta get a PowerBook, cos they're unavailable on the iBook:

- Better graphics card

- Gigabit Ethernet

- 5,400/7,200 rpm hard drive

- FireWire 800

- 15"/17" screen

- higher screen resolution

Personally, I went for the (previous) 15" PowerBook mainly due to the graphics card, as once OS X pushes some of the shiny work onto the graphics card, I think it'll make the experience slicker.

If I were buying now, I'd also be very tempted by the 7,200rpm hard drive on the PowerBooks, as my 5,400 one is a bit of a bottleneck for back-up speed.

But the iBook is much cheaper :)

Posted by: Small Paul at November 3, 2005 08:48 AM

My 2 cents: If screen real estate is of any importance, and money not a problem, I wouldn't settle for less than a 15 inch Powerbook, with 1gb of Ram (in a single slot so it can be upgraded to 2 in due time) and the 7200 RPM 100gig hard drive. This should be a fast and durable enough machine.

Posted by: J at November 3, 2005 08:54 AM

My first Mac was the 15" Powerbook, back in July. I love it, for a G4 Laptop it is a real workhorse - as powerful as my Mini. You really don't notice a difference in Application speed, rendering speed, or anything - unlike most laptops I've seen in the Windows world. Not sure if this is because the G4 is just slow, or the Powerbook chipset is just fast.

Anyway, the downside of the Powerbook is that after 30 minutes or so of being on your lap, your skin melts. Other than that it's great :)

Posted by: Sean at November 3, 2005 10:03 AM

As much as I hate to admit this, I am a realist (and a scientist), depending on what you want, you may want to wait. I love Apple. I think they make great product, but, no part of this transition will be more stark than on the laptops. I have a feeling that Apple will introduce Mobile Pentium laptops at Macworld San Francisco in Jan. They will be priced the same, they may be dual core, and they will rock the socks off of the current models. That said, what do you plan to do with it because the current Powerbooks are mighty capable on their own regards. If it is a desktop replacement, I say wait. If it is a mobile computing experience you are looking for, go ahead and get an iBook. Like Small Paul said, they are cheap, and nicely spec'd (for the price)

Jon

Posted by: Jon S at November 3, 2005 10:05 AM

Also only in 15"/17" PowerBooks:

Backlit keyboard (very nice -- only the letters on the keys are lit, not the whole key)

Type I/II PC Card slot

Combined optical digital input/audio line in (minijack)

Combined optical digital output/headphone out (minijack)

Posted by: Thorn at November 3, 2005 10:39 AM

At work I have about 14 users on iBooks (and one myself) and they're solid machines.

Definitely the better price/performance. I'd only recommend a Powerbook if you need the features (beefier graphics card, FW800, etc). For email/word processing/web/basic iphoto, itunes, imovie stuff, I'd stil with ibook.

Posted by: get the book at November 3, 2005 10:55 AM

For a better comment on iBook vs Powerbook, You can also go here:

http://www.macmove.com/mm/archives/apple/will-part-iii-finally-some-serious-questions#more-76

Posted by: Lee at November 3, 2005 11:19 AM

Read this:http://www.powerbookcentral.com/columns/hildreth_moore/ibval.shtml

I'm debating whether I should buy an iBook (best price/performance in the lineup) or wait as suggested by some other posters. I think the iBook might be the best intro laptop for your friend.

Posted by: J Latz at November 3, 2005 11:42 AM

While the current Mac portables are both competitive machines and could well fill his needs, it might be advantageous to wait for the Intel chipped models due next year. Of course, he could get VirtualPC and run his PC OS of choice as a backup alternative on the present models; but the next versions will do that without VirtualPC. He should look at his essential programs and whether they have Mac versions or equivalents. Accounting is an area where PC users sometimes have difficulties finding appropriate software. Apple's website has lots of info he could use for this research.

Posted by: RBoylin at November 3, 2005 11:44 AM

When the 12" Powerbook was released a couple-three years ago, it was the first time a G4 chip had been offered in a machine that size and I snapped one up. I've been quite happy with it, and had no qualms about buying it rather than wait for a G4 iBook - but that said if I were to replace it today I would probably go with an iBook instead. In the 12" machines, the iBook is 95% of the machine that the Powerbook is.

My short advice is - if your colleague wants something small and light, get the 12" iBook. (The 12" form factor is really no compromise, BTW, other than the fewer pixels.) If he wants a bit more screen real estate, or if he needs things like a PCI card slot, go with the 15" Powerbook.

Posted by: John at November 3, 2005 11:54 AM

I speeak from expierence and a lifelong windows users would not be as happy with a ibook as they would with a powerbook. Powerbooks have PC Card support, better performance, better graphics card, higher DDR Ram and Harddrive. A professional would be much happier with a Powerbook and wil take them further.

Posted by: Joe Capone at November 3, 2005 12:30 PM

I just got a new 15 inch powerbook last night... the higher spec and price option direct from an Apple store.

The obvious comparison of options and luxury feel go hand in hand. For the money, the ibook is better than its competitors, no question. The powerbook nicely equipped puts it into the price range where PC laptops actual have some power. You are choosing an OS that feels better and hardware that the OS knows is the ONLY chipset it will have to deal with. Having a monogamous relationship between software and hardware, leaves you with less room for trouble. And even though no computer is perfect, I can live with minor flaws if as a whole, the product is excellent.

Apple users expect the holy grail with each product release, and Apple does its best to deliver.

Posted by: revisionA from Macrumors at November 3, 2005 12:32 PM

Don't get an iBook 14", the screen resolution is exactly the same as the 12", 1024x768. You don't actually get any more screen space, everything's just magnified.

If you want to be able to connect the laptop to an external display and use desktop sharing (not mirroring) then a powerbook's the way to go. I connect my 12" 1.5Ghz powerbook to my 26" LCD TV with a DVI cable and the supplied adapter, the quality's superb.

In my experiences of using iBooks and Powerbooks, Powerbooks win every time, if portability is paramount, go for the 12". If screen space is key, go for the 15". The 17" Powerbook is impractical and heavy but if you really need that extra space go for it.

Posted by: Sam at November 3, 2005 12:32 PM

since this is Rob's first mac, it's better to break him onto something cheaper. ibook. his next mac can be dualcore intel!

Posted by: tayler at November 3, 2005 12:39 PM

I use a Dual 2.5 GHz G5 PowerMac as my primary machine and a 12" iBook for portability. I obviously use the PowerMac for the heavy lifting (DVD encoding, storing large data), but I was surprised at how much I used the iBook when I bought it. It is perfectly suitable for most tasks (web browsing, e-mail, MS Office). For general usage, I think the biggest differenatiator will be the screen resolution, I have no problems with a 12" screen, but the 1024x768 resolution can be limiting at times. If this doesn't bother you, go for the sub-$1000 iBook, otherwise look towards a 15" or 17" PowerBook. The iBook also seems sturdier. I toss my iBook in my backpack with no concern, but my wife's PowerBook is always carried in its padded case.

Posted by: Chris at November 3, 2005 12:40 PM

Whether you go with the Powerbook or the iBook depends completely on what features you need and what you are going to do with it. For me, the Cardbus slot alone is reason enough to go with at least the 15" Powerbook. It has come in extremely handy on my TiBook. Not to mention the screen real estate of the widescreen PB's. If you are going to just do basic consumer stuff on your laptop, then go with the iBook. But for getting real work done, go with the PowerBook!

Posted by: Russell at November 3, 2005 12:41 PM

A lot of this can be answered by determining if the laptop would be a 2nd machine or a desktop replacement. If it's the former, I think the iBook is sufficient for the vast majority of people. I love the size and portability of my 12 inch G4 iBook.

Chrishttp://amateureconblog.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Christopher Meisenzahl at November 3, 2005 12:42 PM

Well, I would sway him toward a PowerBook. The upgrade of the video and hard drive are some pretty important features. Yes, the iBook is coming up in performance and getting closer and closer to the PowerBook, but it lacks one important feature: STYLE!

I can not tell you how many times people have made comments on my PowerBook as I was in a coffee shop, an airport or a conference. When you are at a customer site and you pull out the PowerBook people get gaga over the machine and it gives you an image of a true professional that will use nothing less than the best tools.

With that said, have your friend hold off until early next year. When the new PowerBooks come out with the Intel mobile processors, he will have a leading edge machine and be able to do more than the existing PowerBook line. The new PowerBooks should have VT technology which will be very cool!

http://rootprompt.org/article.php3?article=9279

Posted by: Gerard Hickey at November 3, 2005 12:44 PM

Also, the 15" powerbook has DVI-out, allowing you to use it with an Apple external LCD upto 30", or the 12" powerbook with upto a 23" LCD. The iBook has VGA-out, limiting you to an external analog LCD or CRT. I have a 12" 1.5ghz powerbook connected to an Apple 23" cinema display. BEST all-in-one system for portable and home use!

Posted by: kyle at November 3, 2005 12:52 PM

For portability/screen real estate, nothing beats a 12" with a 20" connected at home/office. You can't do this with an iBook either, because it only has VGA out and you have to hack it to support screen spanning.

That said, it is very disappointing that you can currently outfit the 12" iBook with more RAM than the Powerbook.

I currently have 1.25GB of RAM in my 12", and it's full running Address Book, iCal, Mail, RSS Reader, Safari, an IM program, and Entourage. If you need to run much more, you'll likely notice a lag when switching between apps.

Posted by: Lee Dale at November 3, 2005 12:55 PM

I have owned recent models of the iBook and Powerbook. I would suggest they go with the Powerbook. It really is a much more capable machine, with great video output options, and simply a lot of features that are useful.

If this buyer is a basic consumer, with very modest needs, just web browsing and email, then the iBook would suffice. Otherwise, I say go with the Powerbook.

Posted by: Stephen at November 3, 2005 12:57 PM

I got the powerbook because it has a PCMCIA slot for upgrades. It was a good choice because my USB port died and I was able to buy a $10 USB card instead of a $100 repair. I just like the idea of a small little bit of upgradability.

Posted by: Karl at November 3, 2005 01:13 PM

i personally say POWERBOOK!~ :) its a sweet machine that can do , just about anything you want to from a desktop point of view.....course if your short on cash, then head on over to ibook, but i think in the long run,you will be 10 more likely to be HAPPIER on a POWERBOOK!~ just say it out loud " IBOOK".........."POWERBOOK" hmmmmmmm??? POWER def. has a better ring to it!~ *hehe*

Posted by: michael hernandez at November 3, 2005 01:25 PM

I'm a student , so i am price restrained, but i do not regret my ibook purchase.

if you going to use your laptop for office apps and such grab an ibook, they are plenty fast. mine dosent even hickup and i somtimes use photoshop and flash.

a simple ram upgrade from the already plenty 512mb would help of course down the road if you need more speed.

but for $2000cdn i got:

ipod mini 4gb,

ibook g4 1.42ghz,

512mb ram,

superdrive ,

external mouse,

and a whole slue of gidgets and gadgets built in.

it was my first mac and im so pleased. even with George Browns online assignment submission interface, not a glitch i have yet to come accross a piece of software i need to use that mac either dosent have a version of or somthing better that compares.

get rid of that winblows and step into the year 2005

you wont be dissapointed

Posted by: jamie woodland at November 3, 2005 01:35 PM

A pimped-out 15" PowerBook, absolutely. It'll have all the same specs as the 17", except of course screen size and resolution, but as a matter of striking a balance between portabilty and flexibility, the 15" PowerBook does it. This most recent update has resolved most of the little nagging issues of the previous revisions and is now, in my opinion, one of the most solid computers Appls offers.

Posted by: eat at November 3, 2005 01:59 PM

I agree with everything above - the 12" ibook is a great deal - the 14" you'll need to check out if the resolution is adequate for you. REsolution and pixel count not a problem on the PB's, but the big caveat is that Steve Jobs might love to come out in January and say the Intel Macs are here - and they did say it would be the mobile and consumer desktop models coming out first ... so that's something to consider. Also keep in mind that Macs hold their value real well and even if the Intel Mac PB's come out in january, you should be able to sell it pretty easily as there will be plenty who take a look and decide to stick with the Moto PB's.

Posted by: jbelkin at November 3, 2005 02:00 PM

The thing that made me get the powerbook over the ibook is the availability of screen spanning with dual monitors. Without adding a hack, the iBook is only capable of mirroring the first screen. And the 14" iBook has the same resolution as the 12, just bigger pixels. I got the 12" powerbook and love it.

Posted by: Luke Waidmann at November 3, 2005 02:16 PM

the best apple on the market is the imac. compare the 20" g5 with any of the powerbooks and the imac will blow it away on every level but portability.

if performance is an issue, and you can only buy one computer for the next 2-3 years, either wait for the next generation powerbook, or get a 15in powerbook.

if you have to get an apple laptop right now and can afford another one soon, go for the ibook.

you will never regret having an ibook just hanging around.

Posted by: jkaz at November 3, 2005 02:27 PM

Apple have basically got themselves on a 9 to 12 month cycle for "major" updates. Since their last laptop update was last month with the PowerBook line, I'd suggest going that route.

I suspect the first Intel versions won't appear until Mid to late '06, as that would co-incide with a decent timeframe for a new OSX (supposed to arrive around the same time as Vista), and Mid 06 would be a good time to release the iBook since thats 2 - 3 months of selling opportunity before the next school year.

I would say there's unlikely to be a new laptop announcement at MacWorld in Jan - that's probably going to be an updated Mac mini, and possibly something else (media player maybe?)

Posted by: D W at November 3, 2005 02:27 PM

I have an iBook, I love it, but there are a few times when I do wish I had a bit extra power. The 12" PowerBook compared to a 12" iBook has a faster hard drive, more video RAM (but a worse video card), and 15% more CPU power, has a SuperDrive, and looks a lot more sleek and is 0.6lb lighter to boot. If you have $1499 to spend then absolutely go for that, otherwise get the $999 iBook, upgrade the 40GB hard drive to your liking for $50-$200 more and you'll have a machine that's not terribly much slower than the PowerBook yet will serve your everyday needs,, yet still enough power to play games like UT 2004. I love my previous generation iBook and don't regret the purchase one bit.

Posted by: Donald Nguyen at November 3, 2005 02:38 PM

I gotta agree with what has been said here. The iBook is the best value, but if you want the extra features, and you have the cash, the PowerBook is certainly a better machine. 7200 RPM HDD, Dual-Layer Super Drive and 1400 x 900 pixel screen are tempting options not available on the iBook.

However, does it need to be portable? The iMacs are a better value (and more powerful) than either of the laptops.

Posted by: Zachariah at November 3, 2005 02:48 PM

As someone who has owned both recently (both 12" models), I think either is a good choice. The most significant difference I found personally was the ability to drive an external monitor/projector. The iBook only mirrors at the screen resolution via a VGA connector. The PowerBook drives its 12" screen and my external 20.4" monitor no problem. Unless he's doing a lot of processor intensive work, either should have enough horsepower.

As for waiting for the Intel-based laptops, I think think it's a horrible idea. For starters, no one has any idea at all when they will be released. Supposed to be next summer at the earliest. Next, whenever they do arrive, who knows what they will be, how much they will cost or whether or not he'll like them. And most importantly, until all the software gets ported over to the new processor (which should take a long while, if the PowerPC transition was an indicator), the Mactel machines will have to run current software under emulation. And that will probably wipe out those performance advantages for a good long while.

Posted by: BigHowdy at November 3, 2005 02:54 PM

I have a 15" PowerBook and I love it - however, I'd only recommend getting an iBook at this point - any money invested in a PowerBook now, so soon to the launch of the intel PowerBooks, is wasted. Unless Rob has money burning a hole in his pocket, he should do what Jon suggests and wait 'til the new PowerBooks are launched.

Posted by: Tom Raftery at November 3, 2005 03:54 PM

According to ConsumerReports, Apple laptops are the most reliable machines on the market (if that can be an additional reason for your friend to switch) but as far as I know, there has not been a serious study regarding reliability of iBooks versus PowerBooks.

Long distance motorcycle travellers however tend to favor iBooks, mentioning price and risk of theft but also reliability. If you think your machine is going to take a serious beating throughout its lifetime, stick to the iBook. Ours spent 3 years on motorcycle across Africa and South-America and it did not let us down once.

Posted by: Photobiker at November 3, 2005 04:31 PM

If you want an Apple Laptop and are constantly on the move, pulling the laptop in and out of a bag, I say go for the 14" iBook.

Reason being, I have an iBook, my mother-in-law a PowerBook. I've noticed that the PowerBook is more susceptible to dings and dents since going to Aluminium from Titanium. My iBook is still kicking around without much of any marks on it due to the poly-plastic exterior.

The specs are still too close in my opinion to lean me to the PowerBooks with the difference in price points being so great.

Posted by: Doug Bixler at November 3, 2005 04:47 PM

I would like to recommend the following configuration for Ray for use in his profession: a 12 powerbook with a 20 in Apple monitor. It's the best of both worlds, a great desktop computer with excellent monitor real estate and light weight portability. My wife has this set up and loves it. All of her information conveniently resides on one computer when at work or traveling. The 20 inch monitor really makes a difference. You might want to add more ram to the on board 512mb. Total price is $2300 plus tax at the Apple Store. For students or people on a tight budget, I would advise a 12 in refurbished iBook for $700 at the same store.

Posted by: Jim Austin at November 3, 2005 06:47 PM

I'm a desktop man myself, but my wife has one of the original TiPB. For web stuff, the iBook is fine. But when you begin talking about multimedia, although the iBook is "ok" for this, I'd lean towards the 15" PB because you can now get them with the faster 7200 RPM hard drives and they come with a faster video card. Both are needed to really appreciate video work. I've worked on desktop systems that were much less powerful than either of these iBooks or PowerBooks in the current line. The desktops still seem to work ok because they had faster hard drives and more robust video cards. If the iBook came with a faster hard drive, I'd choose it. But it doesn't, so I'd go with the PowerBook, with 1Gig ram and 7200rpm HD.

Plus if you find that you really get into GarageBand and/or iMovie, you could always connect a fast external HD. Just a thought.

Posted by: Neil at November 3, 2005 09:05 PM

I'd take a 15 inch powerbook. Small enough to take anywhere, big enough to have a pile of pixels

iBooks are nice, but powerbooks are smaller, sleeker, more powerful, and scratch less easily.

Posted by: chet at November 3, 2005 09:47 PM

Without repeating what others have said: Do you do powerpoint? you probably need the dual screen support of a powerbook.

Are you accident prone, likely to drop or misuse your laptop? Get an iBook as they are much tougher. Otherwise everything else seems to have been covered. 12" powerbooks are great, especially when connected to an external screen.

Posted by: Isidore Margaronis at November 4, 2005 09:30 AM

I've had two 15" powerbooks: a Titanium for 2 years, and about a year and a half on the current Aluminum model. Love 'em both.

The Titanium took a dive off of a coat rack hook in a bathroom (it was in a flimsy backpack) and slammed to the ground over three feet below. Slight ding and the CD drive quit working, but otherwise it survived and my Wife uses it to this day.

I use the powerbook for everything: photoshop, programming, movies, mail/web, and audio/video work. I usually hook it to an external 17" LCD at home and at the office (along with MS keyboard/mouse via KVM) to get the most screen real estate.

Bought a refurbed 12" ibook for my Mom. Nice machine, great form factor. For sitting on the couch surfing the web while watching TV you can't beat them and the price is right.

Unless you are strapped for cash I wouldn't take the upcoming intel macs into account. You'll have no problem selling or re-purposing your existing laptop: just think of your family or friends!

Posted by: Jerry Halstead at November 4, 2005 10:59 AM

I currently own a 12" iBook G4 and being a rather active person, I carry it everywhere with me in my book bag. One thing that will continue to make me want to go back to the iBook again and again is it's durability. The unit is solid as a rock. Constructed with a magnesium alloy frame and the tuff plastics found in bullet-proof glass, the iBook is an incredible unit. I have friends that have PowerBooks who would never put their computers through the abuse my iBook handles everyday. It's just an amazing computer. Durability aside, I would die to have the screen realestate of a 15" or 17".

Both are incredible machines, but when it comes to the lifestyle I lead, durability is a must.

Posted by: Jason Martin at November 4, 2005 12:41 PM

Well, seeing as this is my 20th year using the Macintosh, and I consult people every day on this very decision, I thought I might throw out my musings on the subject. Besides, I own both an iBook and a Powerbook. : )

First of all, all the others who posted above me have great advice and for the most part, I agree with what they suggest.

I'm going to assume this will be your main computer. You said a small screen might be fine, but for me, as someone who depends on his computer to get paid, a mid-size screen is both small enough to carry to meeetings or on a plane, but large enough to work in multiple apps at once. I'd say choosing between the 14" iBook and the 15" Powerbook would be a better choice.

As far as raw horsepower, at the end of the day, you could probably get everything done with either one. For what you're doing, I'd say it's not that important.

Here are your weigh points:

Price: The iBook will save you several hundred dollars

Weight: The Powerbooks are actually lighter

Hard drive: If you're using a laptop to use as a multimedia storage (server), this will be handled by an external drive anyway. I work a lot with multimedia, so an external hard drive is absolutely needed. The slower speed and smaller capacity of laptop drives make any choice unsuitable for this. Externals are super cheap these days - less than a dollar a gig. They're pretty portable-meaning you can take it to your next computer and just plug it in. Use an external hard drive, you'll be glad you did.

Longevity: You'll be able to keep the Powerbook longer, as it has a faster, bigger and more flexible architecture. As software becomes more and more demanding, you'll need more RAM eventually, the PowerBook will hold more.

Something else mentioned above was the presence of the DVI port on the PowerBooks. This is the same port you'll find on HD televisions. If you want to play your movies and such on a TV, this offers you more adaptability and compatibility as the HD spec grows more and more common. You can also run a huge computer monitor from it if you really need to spread out and do something serious. Oh, and the DVI port allows that external monitor to act as an extention to the computer's screen. This works for the little 12" Powerbook too. None of the iBooks can do that.

My wife and I have little time to watch TV, but have found that renting the season of a show on DVD is really handy. We've gotten hooked on the show "Lost" lately and often want to kick back in bed and watch an episode (or four) at the end of a day. We don't want a TV in the bedroom, but having the laptop has been proven to be pretty nice. This is where the larger screen can help.

Last point: I bought a 12" iBook first just to keep in touch while traveling. The iBook was great for that, but I quickly found that because of the handiness of the laptop, I was using the iBook more and more to actually produce work. A picture, a video, a slideshow - whatever. Even if it's just writing something, I usually have iTunes running and email and a web browser and so on. The poor little iBook was choking under the strain. So I bought my PowerBook. Even though I have a G5 tower, I can safely say it's the best computer I've ever owned for overall performance, flexibilty and joy.

Well, that's all I got. Good luck with your choice and welcome to Macintosh!

Posted by: Eggzakt at November 4, 2005 02:43 PM

A few years ago I switched from my IBM ThinkPad (which was great) to the 12" PowerBook. What a difference. Just do it. One thing nobody mentioned is the instant on wake-from-sleep on Mac laptops. Just this one thing is enough reason to switch. It's a delight every time you open it up. I'd go with the PowerBook. One thing nobody has mentioned is that it has a *sound in* port for microphones or for bringing in sound from a tape recorder or minidisc. If you are a journalist (like me) you might need this. I used mine this morning. The iBook has no sound-in port, but you can buy a USB thingy that adds this. The 12" powerbook is fantastic on airplanes--long battery life, and fits excellently on the tray table. At home I plug in a cheap 17" LCD display ($200) and the mac automagically just adds it to the existing screen real-estate of the Mac--more than enough. The lightness and smallness of the 12" makes it a winner. See my blog about switching at http://www.science.ca/askascientist/viewquestion.php?qID=1371

Posted by: Barry Shell at November 4, 2005 04:47 PM

If you even care the tiniest bit about wifi,dDon't buy a PowerBook. Instead, wait unti OSX86 is mature, buy yourself a Sony, and install a hacked version of OSX86 on top.

I say this from personal experience. I have no regrets whatsoever about recently switching from Windows to Mac, but I have oh-so-many about switching from Windows hardware to Apple hardware. My 2005 PowerBook is roughly as fast as my 2001 Acer. It can't even play music in itunes without skipping, something that any PIII worth its salt can do. This is inexcusable, especially for a $2000 machine. For instance, the "stylish" aluminum case completely destroys any hope for normal wifi reception. (It's called a Faraday cage) My friends Acer receives wifi at around 10-14dB better than mine. That sort of performance difference is nothing short of astounding. Not to mention weight vs performance, impossibility of opening the case and removing anything aside from the battery and RAM, etc. Good luck if you ever need to replace the PowerBook keyboard because of a coffee spill.

Buy yourself an iBook. You'll get everything you could possibly want, for half the price, and the *important* stuff, such as wifi connectivity and hard drive removal, is actually better.

Posted by: Kenn Sebesta at November 4, 2005 08:14 PM

I owned an iBook (12"/G3/600) for almost three years before I switched to a PowerBook (15"/G4/1.67) earlier this year. Besides performance, there's a difference between the iBook and PowerBook that is rarely mentioned: the hotswapibility of battery in PowerBook. I believe iBook lacks a capacitor so once you pull the battery, the machine shuts down. But on a PowerBook, you have couple seconds to swap batteries. This is quite important if you're a Pro user.

Posted by: chienr at November 5, 2005 03:20 AM

We recently switched to Mac after running PC's since the days of Commodore 64. While initially it's like learning to write left-handed, what a dream it is. We bought one G5 desktop for me and a Powerbook for my wife. As for your laptop dilemna, get the Powerbook as loaded as your wallet will permit. The folks at the Apple Store are the best at working all this out for you, by the way. Then do what my wife did: Add a 17" monitor, wireless keyboard, and wireless mouse. All the features of a desktop and the conveniece of a notebook for travel. Works GREAT.

Posted by: dulaurence at November 6, 2005 09:39 AM

I feel in a good position to answer your question regarding which model to buy. Up until 3 years ago I had always owned PowerBooks. I have been using Macs since '85. But about 3 years ago, the speed and screen resolutions of the iBook just made it a no-brainer for me. There was just nothing about the PowerBook that I missed in the iBook. I just bought a new iBook 3 months ago, as I keep no more than 2 models behind the current one as long as $$ allows. Two weeks ago though, things finally changed. I just sold my brand new'ish iBook and am awaiting delivery on my new 15" PowerBook. Hi-Res screens. Yep, that's what did it for me. I still wish for a 12" PowerBook with a 1280 screen, but, let's be realistic, 2011 is a long way off!!! :P

Go for the 15" PowerBook. In my opinion, paying twice the price is finally justified. Just.

Posted by: Christian Podcasts at November 10, 2005 08:41 AM

A lot of people are saying wait until January when Apple will introduce the new Intel based PowerBooks. I say if you're going to wait, you must wait until June at least. Apple is notoriously bad at getting new products right with the first release. I had the same decision to make and bought a 15" PowerBook with 1Gig of ram and a 7200rpm 100 gig hard drive now rather than waiting. It is fabulous! Fast, bright and the battery life is speced at about 5.5 hours.

Posted by: Bill at November 10, 2005 10:47 AM

Regardless of the purchase decision, the decision to switch will be quite rewarding!

Posted by: switchtoamac at November 10, 2005 11:04 AM

I was reading the comments and there was one thing that I did not see in the difference and it made a GREAT deal of difference to me.

I to was faced with the exact same dilemma. I do not really need to do 'heavy' computing, I am not a power user, I am a writer.

I got a PowerBook. I love the computing power, you know working with all those iLife apps and widgets and whatnot, but what sold me on the PB over the iBook was the touch of the keyboard.

I was in the Apple store looking over iBooks trying to decide 12" or 14" and just for the fun of it, I started typing on a PowerBook. I wished I never touched it. It was like going from sandpaper to silk, It is quiet and very responive. It springs up under your fingers so softly, it almost feels like kisses. I had to get a nicely outfitted 12" but that 15" with the lit keys was very, very tempting. But as it is, I love my PowerBook. So regardless of power, speed and all that other tech-stuff, get a PB and your fingers will love you for it!!

Posted by: B K Ray at November 10, 2005 11:22 AM

I bought a Powerbook a while ago and switched to an iBook. Reason: the powerbooks carry a noticeable voltage on the exterior when connected in a non-grounded way to the power outlet. The result is that the outside feels "weird", especially when you have dry hands and you move accross the surface while touching it very slightly. As soon as you disconnect the external power, it just feels like metal. It is even measurable with a voltage meter.

Most people do not notice (e.g. their wrists never touch the surface for long periods, do not have dry hands) and/or do not mind. But I found it very irritating, so I switched to an iBook with which I am perfectly happy.

I did have one of the series with video problems (a 900MHz G3) which come under a special extended warranty. The problem kept returning so after three repair runs Apple switched it to a 1.2GHz G4 for free.

Posted by: Gerben Wierda at November 11, 2005 09:58 AM

All this babble about drives and memory.

If you're doing stuff that requires a real computer -- photo and video editing, garageband tracks, processor intensive stuff -- get a PowerBook. Max out the RAM and the processor.

If a Blackberry would slow you down, get an iBook.

'Nuff said.

Posted by: Ray Meyers at November 19, 2005 04:38 AM

Um - skip the "powerbook" and go with the "mac book pro". It's hard to say that now but I am sure we will all get used to it. So everyone say it with me - MAC BOOK PRO. MAC BOOK PRO. It still does not flow like powerbook off the tongue but after all - they changed it to MAC BOOK PRO so we all need to call it a MAC BOOK PRO.

Now what was the question - ah yes - iBook or Mac Book Pro. Considering I own a 15" PB 1.5 ghz I would say get the iBook - because the Mac Book Pro name sucks bad.

Posted by: charlie at February 8, 2006 11:50 PM


Best LBO Ever
LIMITED-TIME OFFER SUBSCRIBE NOW
 
blog comments powered by Disqus