My closer look at new iBooks

Deepdale

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 4, 2005
1,965
0
New York
Yesterday I was at Apple Soho for about four hours that was split between both the 12 and 14" iBooks. I do make regular trips there for the purpose of gaining familiarity with assorted products and also for attending some workshops, but this time my eye was clearly focused on the other "i's."

I am not a person who takes copious notes based upon my visits because I do not meet anybody's definition of an under-the-hood technical wizard. As a general user not into the more demanding activities such as photo editing and moviemaking, I found both systems to be responsive and screen resolution was better than I expected.

The cumputers come preloaded with OS 10.4.2 and despite the raising of the installed RAM to 512, these had 1GB on them. One bit of reasonably good news to me at least was that ordering it with an extra 512 of memory added $150.00 to the price. Sure it is higher than 3rd party RAM, but for me I will gladly pay the asking price just to avoid self-installation (not my personal strength).

My typical usage would likely be to have AOL, Safari, Word, iTunes and a few widgets open at the same time. While at the store, I also opened up Zinio Reader, iPhoto, Excel, Activity Monitor and about 3-4 other apps and, as expected, was not plagued by the spinning beachball.

Since all store models have many bonus programs and utilities loaded so people can have access to them and practice, I asked an employee who proved to be enormously helpful how much true space on a 40 GB hard drive is utilized by OS 10.4.2 and all factory installed applications and utilities. He explained that any size drive basically ends up having approx. 3 GB less because of formatting, etc. So the advertised 40 is now reduced to 37.

Space taken by Mac OS and all software is approximately 7-8 GB, which would leave buyers with 30 GB free for their music, photos, text files and the like. My current G3 iMac from late 2000 had a 20 GB drive and I still have 9 GB left ... and over 7 GB is taken by my iTunes music library of 1,750 songs. I would clearly be exceedingly well served by a 60 GB drive, but will probably go with 80.

I went through several customizing changes with different icons and desktop images and everything looked wonderful on screen. The Apple employee then opened up eight windows in Safari and demonstrated how they looked scaled down when Expose was activated ... very nice results.

One new feature taken from the Powerbook line that is a welcome addition to the iBook community is the scrolling trackpad with tap and drag features. I loved it when it was initially introduced and am very pleased to see it extended to the PB's lower cost cousin.

My limited concerns with iBooks has revolved around keyboard quality and peeling paint from selected letters, screen brightness and whether I have a bonafide need for the extra speed afforded by the Powerbook line. I don't see a blazing speed differential that makes it hard for me to live without a PB.

Let me be clear in that PB's are outstanding computers, but the price differential for users who will not capitalize on all they have to offer is fairly steep. There is more than enough zip in processors running at 1.33 and 1.42 Ghz, respectively. As to the KB, it had a good solid feel to it and, while impossible to speculate as to the life expectancy of the painted letters, I plan to use iSkin for added protection regardless of what I finally buy.

I am still mulling over whether or not I want a SuperDrive, but that is not something that will preoccupy my time for long. For those potential switchers and others like myself just contemplating an update from a current Mac to a new one, I would urge them to minimize some of the blurriness many grapple with by doing the following.

Compare key stats between the models you look at (speed, RAM, size and cost) and then distinguish between that and your actual typical daily usage, not your imagined usage which rarely comes into play. With all that iBooks offer, I know I would be challenged to steadily use more than 30-40 percent of the features.

There is no need for purchase overkill unless you are naturally fond of partaking in that activity. The iBooks are definitely worthy of receiving full consideration from most prospective buyers. Based upon my enjoyable visit to Apple, I can unequivocally sum up my feelings towards the new iBook line by stating that you can easily ... color me impressed!
 

Tahko

macrumors regular
Jun 11, 2005
223
0
Finnland
oh yeah, someone with those new ibooks should most passionately rub some meaningless key - like å - on their keyboard just to see if it wears off quickly.
 
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Chundles

macrumors G4
Jul 4, 2005
11,974
390
Hard drives do not lose that much space to formatting but rather the difference between advertised space where 1GB = 1 000 000 000 bytes and the actual space as seen by the computer where 1GB = 1 073 741 824 bytes.

Other than that, you're pretty much right.
 
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skubish

macrumors 68030
Feb 2, 2005
2,663
0
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Chundles said:
Hard drives do not lose that much space to formatting but rather the difference between advertised space where 1GB = 1 000 000 000 bytes and the actual space as seen by the computer where 1GB = 1 073 741 824 bytes.

Other than that, you're pretty much right.
This is a long standing battle between Hard Drive Manufacturers and computer manufacturers.

Hard Drives are made in gigabytes which is actually 1 000 000 000 bytes. However computers process everything in powers of 2. (i.e. 2^0=1, 2^1=2, 2^2=4, etc.) Well 1 000 000 000 is not a power of 2 so the closest power of 2 is 2^30=1 073 741 824 bytes. This is mainly why hard drives appear smaller.
 
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Deepdale

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 4, 2005
1,965
0
New York
skubish said:
This is a long standing battle between Hard Drive Manufacturers and computer manufacturers.

Hard Drives are made in gigabytes which is actually 1 000 000 000 bytes. However computers process everything in powers of 2. (i.e. 2^0=1, 2^1=2, 2^2=4, etc.) Well 1 000 000 000 is not a power of 2 so the closest power of 2 is 2^30=1 073 741 824 bytes. This is mainly why hard drives appear smaller.
--------

One day -- many days from now -- I might begin to understand that, but the smart money strongly advises against placing any wagers on it. :)
 
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mojohanna

macrumors 6502a
Jul 7, 2004
868
0
Cleveland
What most impresses me about the new iBooks is the feature/price ratio. I received a dell back to school catalog (previously purchased a dig cam from them) and I was very suprised to see what you got for the price. In all cases, an equivalent to the high end stock iBook was more expensive ON SALE. Anything less came with less stock ram, no wireless or bluetooth, no dvd burning.
I know everyone has made arguments in the past about there not really being a price differential when you boiled things down, but this one seems so obvious to an average joe.

I am quite biased when I make this statment, but it seems to b such a no brainer.

If I had the $$ right now I would be all over one of those iBooks for my kids. I could keep my 5 year old occupied for hours on those long car rides!!!
 
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joecool85

macrumors 65816
Mar 9, 2005
1,355
1
Maine
I really like the new iBooks. If I needed a laptop right now I would definetly consider one. Although, on that same note, I don't know if I could deal w/o having my aluminum case. Makes me happy when on a daily basis someone asks me if I just got a new computer and its 2 years old.
 
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iGary

Guest
May 26, 2004
19,581
2
Randy's House
The AirportExtreme and low price is what made me jump on my 12" iBook in October of last year. The included Bluetooth and faster processors at the same price make them even more desirable.

My only bitch about the whole machine is the screen, but I knew that going into the deal.
 
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bodeh6

macrumors 6502a
May 18, 2005
772
0
mojohanna said:
What most impresses me about the new iBooks is the feature/price ratio. I received a dell back to school catalog (previously purchased a dig cam from them) and I was very suprised to see what you got for the price. In all cases, an equivalent to the high end stock iBook was more expensive ON SALE. Anything less came with less stock ram, no wireless or bluetooth, no dvd burning.
I know everyone has made arguments in the past about there not really being a price differential when you boiled things down, but this one seems so obvious to an average joe.

I am quite biased when I make this statment, but it seems to b such a no brainer.

If I had the $$ right now I would be all over one of those iBooks for my kids. I could keep my 5 year old occupied for hours on those long car rides!!!
I got that same catalog and compared all the laptops to Apple's offerings and found that Apple was actually a better deal with many respects especially the smaller models 12".
 
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devilot

Moderator emeritus
May 1, 2005
15,588
1
bodeh6 said:
I got that same catalog and compared all the laptops to Apple's offerings and found that Apple was actually a better deal with many respects especially the smaller models 12".
Yeah! My bf is stubbornly adamant about getting a Windows laptop and we went to Fry's two days ago-- all of the notebooks w/ slightly similar peformance specs, were ginormously bulky (we're talking minimum 7.5 pounds up to 8+ pounds in weight)! If you wanted a notebook w/ similar weight/ thickness, it cost WAY more than the iBooks and it was woefully under spec'd. Tsk tsk.
 
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Chundles

macrumors G4
Jul 4, 2005
11,974
390
devilot76 said:
Yeah! My bf is stubbornly adamant about getting a Windows laptop and we went to Fry's two days ago-- all of the notebooks w/ slightly similar peformance specs, were ginormously bulky (we're talking minimum 7.5 pounds up to 8+ pounds in weight)! If you wanted a notebook w/ similar weight/ thickness, it cost WAY more than the iBooks and it was woefully under spec'd. Tsk tsk.

Run like hell.
 
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iGary

Guest
May 26, 2004
19,581
2
Randy's House
mad jew said:
Agreed. And to be honest, it's only a small gripe anyway.
Yup, me too. It is the only complaint I have about the machine. It is otherwise simply brilliant. I love when I whip it out of my brief on a plane. People look at it like it's from another world. :cool:
 
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devilot

Moderator emeritus
May 1, 2005
15,588
1
Chundles said:
Run like hell.
Aww, he's a really awesome guy otherwise. I got him to mutter under his breath about whether or not he really wants a Mac. Baby steps, right? He's a bass player so I have him lusting for garageband, not to mention, he is totally enamored w/ MactheRipper and Handbrake. Especially because I am NOT tech savy but am able to do all these things that we both had previously believed to be impossible for the average user. ;)
 
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tsk

macrumors 6502a
Jan 14, 2004
642
0
Wisconsin
If you want to compare the iBook to something in Dell's line, you can look at the 600m.

I priced some out with specs *approximately* like:

600M P-M 1.8/14" LCD (1400x1050) w 64MB VRAM/512MB/60GB/DVDR/BT/Wireless $800

I considered this seriously since it's faster and has some nice resolution. You can also complain about cheap construction, but I think the same complaint can be made about the iBook (flex in the plastic by trackpad). Ultimately, I decided on a 12" iBook because it's essentially the same price (with edu discount and after I sell the iPod) and I don't have to mess around with getting optimum battery life out of Linux.

Now, before you go price out that 600m and say the price doesn't agree, there are Dell coupons available quite often for $750 off a $1500 system. I priced this out during one of these deals. At full price they are considerably more expensive.

I am just pointing out that it is possible to get a reasonably compact Windows system with better specs than the iBook for cheaper.
 
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devilot

Moderator emeritus
May 1, 2005
15,588
1
tsk said:
I am just pointing out that it is possible to get a reasonably compact Windows system with better specs than the iBook for cheaper.
You have very valid points. But for the ignant tech shopper such as myself, and many other consumers-- it is much more reasonable and practical to walk into an Apple store/ reseller, flash your student ID and get that kickass machine at that price versus hunting around online to find a similarly spec'd notebook, hunt for coupons, etc. :eek: What can I say? I'm not the best at shopping for techie gadgets and whatnot.
 
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