The following is my experience and impressions based on my recent purchase of a 15" Powerbook G4 and how the transition is going from being a Windows user who is now engrossed in OS X. I did my best to lay out my opinions and impressions even if it is a bit 'tongue in cheek' at times. Perhaps this will help encourage others who were as indecisive as me to make the switch: -------------------- Stumbling out of a local Apple store in a daze, gripping my Powerbook's box handle with white-knuckled, possessive panic I managed to drive home with my wife without causing an interstate pile-up. The real excitement began at the opening of the box at home. The box possesses the same thought and care as the product inside and makes opening it akin to an eight year old stumbling across a Toys R Us that has his name tagged on every toy. The smell of fresly poured plastic and virgin silicon is also distinctly present. The manuals are set aside in favor of getting to the meet of the box: the Powerbook itself. While the images online (and the store display models) give a good idea of the machines nothing compares to pulling out your very own Powerbook. I liken the experience to the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where, Indiana slowly approaches and admires, thoughtfully the golden idol. The look, feel and design are sleek and smart. It's not just a laptop you hold in your hands, you come to realize, but a finely crafted tool, designed for the best. ----------------- Ok, enough of the mellow-drama. My impressions of switching over to a Powerbook are as follows. 1.) It looks great, better than any of the other boxes I own or that my company owns and thus receives a lot of looks and comments/questions about what I'm using. Sure it's conceited, but the looks are amazing and it's nice to receive complements on a tool you use. Several co-workers asked 'Why a Mac?' which in turn results in lengthy, vibrant discussions and demonstrations. 2.) It's stable. Nothing's perfect, but I've already had better stability issues with OSX than I've had with Win Xp in completing day-to-day tasks and heavy workload tasks. 3.) It's intuitive. It's easier to figure out the interface. For example, I often used a shortcut to minimize all open windows/programs in XP, somewhat disgruntled at not finding such a shortcut (as in, only one key-combination) I found Expose and discovered one can hide all open windows with a move of the mouse or quickly jump from one open window/app to another with the same move of the mouse. It makes clumsy key combinations in XP feel horrendously tedious in comparison. 4.) Intelligence. It's not just a shiny, stupid GUI - one can fire up a terminal window, modify shell scripts, check log files, add/remove permissions on files, list network statistics, or anything else found in a typical Linux distrubution. You get the best of both worlds: 1.) A quick and painless install with a great looking GUI and 2.) The complexity and customization option of a Free BSD underbelly. Users can make the OS X experience as simple or as varied and challengins as they choose to. 5.) Integration. OS X is not an island for those working in a Windows world. Office for OS X works flawlessly with all my technical writing (originally created in Word 2003 for PC) and there is a tremendous developer community that provides chat, ftp, web browsing, security, and countless other software for free. I had no problem finding word processing software, chat programs, file transfer tools, and security-related logging software. 6.) An amazing community. I've worked through DOS, Windows 3.x up to the present XP and 2000 variants, strayed over to Redhat Linux/Fedora Linux, Mandrake Linux and even played with the BeOS when it first came out. None of them possessed the cohesive, open and friendly environment that the OS X / Apple communities possess. Apple users go beyond possessing an interest in technology and instead are inspired and passionate about aiding and encouraging others in using Apple products as well. Friendly, helpful and rich in knowledge - a unique strand among the others. Final Notes For those who sit on the fence with the indecision of investing in an Apple Powerbook, Imac or G5 (or any other Apple computer) know that you won't be disappointed. Certainly the argument is present with regard to the comparison of computer specifications. One can buy a Dell laptop that has higher 'more powerful' specs than say an iBook or Powerbook but the difference in quality of use on both functional and aesthetic levels quickly reveals why so many pay the premium for Apple products. I took the risk head first and the rewards have been far beyond my expectations. Make the investment to take back the excitement and pride in computing as has happened with me. It is well worth it. Whew, ok, I think I've blurted out just about as much praise as I can possibly write so far having used my new Powerbook for over a week now. Hopefully someone out there will find this helpful in making their decision.