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zlog
Aug 5, 2003, 08:26 AM
I'm currently saving for an Apple computer of some sort ;) which I will hopefully have enough money to buy around December.

As I have never owned *any* type of Mac computer, I am looking for a little bit of help deciding which one to buy.

The models that I am interested in are;

iBook, iMac, and the eMac (All the versions upto 1,100)

My likes and dislikes of each models are as follows;

iBook - Likes: Portable, Looks, Wi-Fi
iBook - Dislikes: Small screen, Can't play DVDs (not sure about this one?), I don't like the touch pad mouse, G3 processor

iMac - Likes: Big TFT screen, Looks, G4 processor, Will probably come with "Panther" OS
iMac - Dislikes: Not portable, More expensive than the iBook and eMac

eMac - Likes: Cheap, G4 processor
eMac - Dislikes: CRT screen, Out dated specs.

All suggestions to what you think I should get are welcome.

Ambrose Chapel
Aug 5, 2003, 08:38 AM
Welcome to the Mac!
Just some comments on some of your concerns...

iBook
"Can't play DVDs" - I think all but the base model can play DVDs. the base model just has a plain cd-rom drive, i think.

"I don't like the touch pad mouse" - you can attach an apple or 3rd party USB mouse

"G3 processor" - yeah this kept me away from the iBook last year. some people say it is fine, but with OS X optimized for the G4/5's velocity engine, I couldn't rationalize getting a G3.

iMac
"Will probably come with "Panther" OS" - any Mac that ships after Panther is released with likely include Panther, or at least a coupon to get it for free. Also, it's likely that if you buy a Mac after Panther's shipping date is announced but before it actually ships, you'll get a voucher to get Panther for free or 20 bucks or so. This is what Apple did with 10.2

this is the place to ask questions...you'll get a lot of answers. :)

saint
Aug 5, 2003, 08:39 AM
iBook: You can play DVDs on all iBook models except for the cheapest one which just has a CD Rom drive,
The touch pad is just as easy to use as a normal mouse with practice,
And the G3 processor may or may not be a limiting factor, depending on what you want to use the computer for.

iMac: Yes, they are very nice looking, and the screen is great. It is a fair bit more expensive though.
And yes it will come with panther after panther is released, but so will the other models.

eMac: I haven't had much experience with them, but it's just not the same as an iMac.

What made me choose the iBook over a desktop was the portability. I can use it sitting on a lounge, in bed etc, not just at the desk.

I am glad I chose to get an iBook, but get whatever is going to suit you. Whatever you get, I am sure you will be happy.

good luck

Phil_S
Aug 5, 2003, 08:41 AM
For what it's worth... I got the iBook 900 a couple of months ago and I've been more than happy with it. If you get one with a combo drive you can certainly watch DVDs on it. Personally I've not had a problem with the small screen (12" model) or the G3 but I guess that's going to depend on what you use it for.

If you don't like the touch pad you can always plug in a USB mouse, I don't think it's all that bad but that's down to personal preference.

Hope that helps...

zlog
Aug 5, 2003, 08:47 AM
So would you advice against getting an iBook then because of the G3 and lower specs?

I really like the idea of portability + wi-fi (and the fact that it is slightly cheaper) but I have seen quite a few friends get bitten when buying laptops before (PC laptops). They buy them and within a few months like are like bricks compared to the new laptops and the specs are way out of date.

Is it not likely that this will happen to the iBook as well?

Another question: Does the iBook come with a Mac mouse (not the touch pad)? If it doesn't it means I will have to spend another 60 for a mouse then 120 on an iSight, totalling nearly 200 on top of the price of the computer.

saint
Aug 5, 2003, 09:02 AM
No, the iBook doesn't come with a mouse, but I don't think it needs one. I use an iBook as my main computer, and I find the trackpad just as easy to use as a normal mouse.
Even if I had a mouse connected, I would probably still use the trackpad, because it is more accessible (hardly have to move your hand to use it), and it doesn't need for the computer to be on a flat surface.

If you get an iBook, try using the trackpad for a while before you decide to buy a mouse. The iSight is your decision.

I don't find the G3 to be something to complain about. As I said, it depends what you want to use the computer for.

And an iBook definitely won't feel like a brick after a couple of months. My friends who have brand new PC laptops are still impressed by my 2 year old iBook.

The specs will not be way out of date after a short amount of time either.

.... Or maybe that is because Apple takes so long to update their products :p

zlog
Aug 5, 2003, 09:10 AM
I'm tending more towards the iBook just now.

I will mainly be using it for web site designing (BBEdit, Camino, Safari, FTP Software) and Internet use, email, music (iTunes + iPod which I already have), photos (iPhoto + Canon IXUS which I already have) and RSS reading (NetNewsWire). It will occasionally be used for Word Processing and DVDs.

If you buy the AirPort Card does that allow you to connect to Wi-Fi hotspots?

jxyama
Aug 5, 2003, 09:13 AM
yeah, apple takes a while to update so iBook won't get severely out of date in a few months. it's been a while since a major update... only speed bumps in the meantime. also, form factor won't become obsolete either. it's not the smallest, but it's very small, and i cannot see some miracle technology will come in next few months which will make laptops significantly smaller than they already are.

i think emac is the best overall deal, but it's not a laptop... did you consider 14" iBook? it has the same resolution as the 12", but the pixels are physically bigger so it will be easier on your eyes. (but you sacrifice portability, of course...)

get a cheap, multi-button optical sub mouse (you can find some for under $30 here, roughly 20 pounds?) instead of the apple one. it's more functional, and IMO, apple mouse has a major design flaw - in addition to being a one button mouse. it looks cool, but not worth 60 pounds...

morlium
Aug 5, 2003, 09:17 AM
i've used panther on an iBook 800, and it's noticeably faster.

i say go for it; plus by December they'll likely be bumped.

Horrortaxi
Aug 5, 2003, 09:24 AM
I would say that the iBook is already a brick compared to the new laptops, but does that really matter? For what you want to do it would be adequate. Ast least today it will be adequate. In 2-3 years it might seem painfully slow. That is really the only reason to consider a G4 given what you want to do with the computer. The future goes a little deeper with a faster processor.

Yes, the AirPort card allows you to go online at hot spots.

zlog
Aug 5, 2003, 09:27 AM
OK, I think I'll go for the iBook.

Will Apache, PHP, Perl, Python, Mail Server etc work just as well on the iBook as they would do on an iMac?

How long do you think it will be before an upgrade/totally new computer is needed? 3 years? Is an upgrade now worth it to help prevent this (More memory, bigger HD ect.)

Ambrose Chapel
Aug 5, 2003, 10:18 AM
zlog -

if you haven't yet, check here on the macrumors buyer's guide for...focused speculation on when the iBook is likely to be updated next:


http://buyersguide.macrumors.com/

Also, buy as much RAM as you can afford - OS X runs better with more.

plutnicki
Aug 5, 2003, 11:55 AM
I have an iMac and a new PowerBook. I find myself only using the PowerBook now. Laptops rock. It is sooo cool to be sitting in my home theater room, wirelessly websurfing while watching TV and still being able to hang out with the family. I take the thing everywhere now, in fact, it's replaced my PDA. That give sthe iBook a nod in my book. You are choosing a G3 over a G4, if that's a concern. I suspect you'll be fine with what you're going to use it for.

The Combo drive models will play a DVD.

I got a Kensington portable mouse with mine, thinking I'd hate the trackpad, but it works pretty well now that I'm used to it. No big deal there...

Good luck.

...Jim

zlog
Aug 5, 2003, 12:07 PM
http://www.apple.com/uk/ibook/specs.html

Software: All models include Mac OS X, Mac OS 9, QuickTime, iCal, iChat, iLife (includes iMovie, iPhoto, iTunes), iSync, DVD Player,

Why does it say that is the cheapest model doesn't play DVDs?

mactastic
Aug 5, 2003, 12:11 PM
As soon as the G5's start shipping, Apple will want to update the laptop lines, probably the powerbook line first (there's been a persistent rumor for the last 6 months that new powerbooks are due "within days") followed shortly by the ibooks. Still out is what form the next processor in the ibook will be, or if it will change at all in the next revision, or a revision further on down the line. However it is fairly safe to say that by December both will have had updates. The ibook may possibly get a new chip that would render your decision easier.

Having bought a powerbook (my first laptop) I have a few bits of information you may or may not want to consider. Notebook computers will send you on a buying spree for additional items! First, you will need a carringing case for it. I bought a cheap but sturdy case that slips into my backpack or can be carried seperatly, but that was $50. You'll want a wireless base station, because otherwise you are always trailing a 25' ethernet cable from you computer that is just begging to either get ripped out of your motherboard, or pulling the whole thing off a table when someone trips over it. That's another $100 for a cheapo, or $200 - $250 for an Apple base station (which I got as well and love). It's nice to have an extra power adapter, because the little plug that goes into your computer is not notoriously strong, and not easily fixable; and also because if you take it places often you want to have a power adapter in your bag so you don't have to take the one you carefully hide behind your desk at home. But wait, there's more!

You will surely want an external keyboard and mouse at home if you do a lot of typing. You will quickly find that it is uncomfortable to have your keyboard high enough to comfortably view your screen, and equally as bad to have the screen low enough to type comfortably. It's not bad for short periods, and this will depend on how you use your computer. Me, I am sitting at it for many hours at a time, so it was a concern here. Also, I use a second monitor at home quite often because of the screen size concern you cited. You will want to get one of those if you don't have one already, and the bigger the better. As a side note, the iBook was rumored to be able to be hacked with some bit of code to allow it to function in a dual-monitor mode, rather than just a mirroring mode. (This is a major advantage over the eMac and iMac IMHO.)

So.. don't be scared, buying a laptop has been a fantastic experience, it is just a little more expensive than I thought it would be at first. It has largely replaced a desktop system for me, as well as provided a great portable experience. The iBook has fantastic wireless reception, is very sturdy, and will serve you well. If you can, wait until the next update - then buy one!

Oh geez, I forgot the laptop stand to sit it on so it gets air under it ($25 or so) and a possible extra battery, but the iBooks are pretty good in that respect already.

solvs
Aug 5, 2003, 01:05 PM
The dual monitor hack works on some eMacs and iMacs as well. Feel free to buy a cheap USB mouse and plug the iBook into a regular monitor. It's just like a desktop. The top models come with a combo drive, DVD and CD-R, but you can always buy an external CD-R/W if you need it to burn faster. But you probably won't. The G3 should be fine for what you want to do. The next revision is rumored to be around the end of the year. The last update was a small bump in April, so it might be awhile. When you buy, fill up on third party RAM. There's only one slot in the iBooks, plus the built in 128MB. You can buy AppleCare anytime within 1 year of the purchase. Protects against defects, but not wear-and-tear.

Let us know if you have any questions.

plutnicki
Aug 5, 2003, 01:10 PM
Originally posted by zlog
http://www.apple.com/uk/ibook/specs.html

Software: All models include Mac OS X, Mac OS 9, QuickTime, iCal, iChat, iLife (includes iMovie, iPhoto, iTunes), iSync, DVD Player,

Why does it say that is the cheapest model doesn't play DVDs?

DVD Player is the program. The cheapest iBook comes with a CD-ROM drive. That is the llimitation, it won't read a DVD.

Personally, I think the Combo drive should be the baseline, but it isn't.

zlog
Aug 5, 2003, 01:11 PM
"third party RAM"

Whats wrong with the Apple RAM? Where can I find 3rd party RAM?

zlog
Aug 5, 2003, 01:28 PM
"As soon as the G5's start shipping, Apple will want to update the laptop lines, probably the powerbook line first (there's been a persistent rumor for the last 6 months that new powerbooks are due "within days") followed shortly by the ibooks. Still out is what form the next processor in the ibook will be, or if it will change at all in the next revision, or a revision further on down the line. However it is fairly safe to say that by December both will have had updates. The ibook may possibly get a new chip that would render your decision easier."

Knowing my luck, I'll save whilst waiting for them to bring out a new iBook - get enough money decide to buy one then they will bring out a new one... :P