Apple iBook, mini review

ibookWell I’ve had the pleasure of using my 1.33 GHz, 14” iBook for two days now and I wanted to share some initial impressions; I know this isn’t mini or even home theater related for that matter, but it is an Apple and hey that’s enough. My particular configuration included a 1.33 GHz processor, 14” screen, combo drive and an additional 256mb of memory from, I just couldn’t bring myself to pay Apple’s prices for extra memory.

Starting with aesthetics I’m really impressed by the fit and finish of the entire laptop. It just feels right, the screen clasp closes as if it was made in an aviation machine shop and the grey band around the outside edge gives a nice balance between the smooth acrylic’ish white finish.

Once again I had the pleasure of OSX’s intuitive initial setup; although this time I punched through it in just a few minutes, as opposed to 10 or so with my mini. The other guys should take note from Apple’s first boot process; it doesn’t ask you a lot of complex questions that can be otherwise satisfied after the initial boot.

One of the things that impressed the hell out of me, right off the bat with my new iBook was how it handled Wi-Fi. Our office has a Linksys wireless B router, in an adjacent closet. That router and my now retired Vaio laptop never seemed to make friends and play nice, whereas the iBook immediately grabbed the signal and never let go.

Apples wireless interface in OSX is well, just about flawless in my book. XP makes you jump through hoops to get on a secure network where OSX only asks the necessary information and connects right up.

Batteries, heh oddly enough the battery was again a pleasant surprise. As someone who was used to getting 30-45 minutes out of an old worn out laptop battery, 4.5 to 5hrs from the iBook feels like an emancipation. I actually wrote this laying on the couch, while streaming iTunes to my stereo, ah life’s rough.

While I’m on the subject of batteries and power, Apple’s inclusion of a luminescent band around the power adapter is a stroke of simple genius; green for charged and orange for charging, both of which can easily be seen from across the room.


Getting down to the nitty gritty, I was also pleasantly surprised with how fast it was. Now don’t get me wrong, this thing won’t break any land speed records, but apps popped open much much faster than I had already prepared myself for.

This brings up another point worth mentioning, if I had listened to the doubters who asked me why on earth I’d want a Mac laptop, I’d still be sitting here with my outdated, slow malware ridden Sony Vaio, trying to decide what wintel based laptop to buy. Given what I’ve seen in the last 48 hours, I would guess that none of them would have pleased me as much as my iBook.


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9 Responses to “Apple iBook, mini review”

  1. Jay Brewer Says:

    Great write up. You are experiencing the same thing I felt when I got my first Wallstreet powerbook and wifi card. It’s just a great experience.

    After that Powerbook – I never went back. I’ve had a ti-book, and now 2 aluminum powerbooks – I love each one a little more than the last (don’t tell any of them I said that).

  2. Doug Says:

    Good choice of laptops! I love my 2001 iBook 12″. And I love OS X. I don’t own Windows PCs anymore, and I haven’t since 2002.

    Eventually, you’ll probably want to max out the memory. 512 is good for general use, but large images and significant multitasking of media apps will work better with more.

    I’d also recommend Mac OS X: The Missing Manual by David Pogue, even for expert users who are new to OS X.


  3. Mike Barrow Says:

    I would like nothing more than to a total switch to OS X, however my issue is not buying new hardware which I have no problem, but software. I own Windows versions of Studio MX, Photoshop, Office 2003, Acrobat, etc. Unless you could convince these software companies to switch the license on each of these over to a Mac version and send me the equivelent Mac version (no way!) the switch to Mac would cost a small fortune on top of the hardware. I suspect there are a lot of people in that boat, who would like to switch from Wintel systems but just have far too much invested in software at this point to do so, so we just sit back and admire Apple’s hardware but never buy. Something like the Mac Mini would be good to give me a taste, but a total switch at this point is impossible…..

  4. B.Greenway Says:

    Excellent point Mike, and like you I doubt most software companies would be willing to ‘trade out’ versions of their software from one platform to another.

  5. Tom Ha Says:

    Has anyone asked the companies in question directly about the platform switch? It was about 4 years ago, but I had no problem getting a cross-over upgrade license (PC to Mac) from Adobe.

    May want to aske them, no?

  6. Richard Dalziel-Sharpe Says:

    Perhaps Mike should consider the likely improvement in productivity,
    the absolute freedom from viruses, spyware etc, the very likely much longer life of the hardware and the more pleasant overall user experience and subtract all of these from the cost of a switch. Of course most of these things do not have a plain dollar value. But if Mike could tell me what the direct dollar cost to him of blue screen rebooting and anti virus protection and the work entailed therewith over the last year and compare it to mine. Mine is zilch. I dont have any sort of antiviral work to do and no such software on my Mac. The only time I have rebooted in the last year is after installing software.

  7. David H Dennis Says:

    Tom is correct.

    Adobe will crossgrade the software.

    So next time you want to upgrade your Adobe software, you can make the switch.

    You may want to call Adobe with the exact procedure, but it can definitely be done at the same price as a regular upgrade.

    You can get shrinkwrapped older versions of software for cheap on eBay. These normally come from bankruptcy sales of large companies and similar situations where people bought the software without using it. I purchased After Effects and Final Cut Pro that way, programs I could not have otherwise afforded. For instance, my shrinkwrapped AE Production Bundle 4 was $399 on eBay and I then upgrarded for $250. That program normally sells for $1,500, so that’s a real steal if you can get something like that. Nowadays, make sure your older version is a MacOS X enabled one since you can’t always run MacOS 9 installers on X.

    Hope that helps.


  8. Wil Says:

    I’ve not touched a Mac since HS – 20+ years now – much less bought software for one, but I’m still a switcher in the making. I’m fed up with… well, so MANY things that I can point a nasty finger at Redmond over. But the single thing (event) driving me to a Mac at this point? The iLife suite.

    My son was born on New Years Eve. Since joining my wife’s family I’ve bought a new laptop for her, my mother-in-law got one, and now my sister-in-law as well. And in that time ALL of us have bought new digital cameras. We’ve taken (honestly) around 500 pix in just over 3 months. My mom lives 500 miles and 3 states away. I simply have to have good ways to manipulate all these images, and from what I’ve read, heard, and researched iPhoto is THE way to go (ok, until I pony up for Photoshop, but give me some time).

    I’ve always known that Apple was ‘the answer’ for all things creative (publishing, photo manipulation, etc). I’ve been trying to ‘ween’ myself off M$ for nearly 5 years by tinkering with Linux and had some succes and some failure. And until my son came along I was content to putz with it and if it worked – good, and if it didn’t – who cares? I’m just spending my time on it and figured that was cheap enough to dabble with. Now time is the single most precious commodity I have, and no long can waste time on upgrades and critical patches (and what will they break when/if I do them). Nor can I simply install-putz-willitworkorwontit?-reinstall-try-another-distro (Linux) and maybe it’ll be ok. I NEED to know that all those pictures are SAFE (yes, they are backed up on 4 different machines and an external hard drive, but still…) And then theres the whole ‘manipulation’ of them.

    See, for me, it isn’t about the cost of what I have at this point (3 PCs, plus a laptop, plus… PLUS all the software. It’s about what I have to lose if I keep going down the same path. Days of old, if one of my PCs crashed (hard, as in mobo died, etc.) it was painful, but like a root-canal – it hurt, but I can live with it and go on. What I have to lose going forward is closer to a death in the family – memories are great, but that doesn’t give the ones to come much to look at. Or know.

    How the hell did I get on this whole ‘give me Mac or give me death’ tirade? *shuffles off looking for a beer* 🙂

    Famous quotes, “If you’re going through hell, keep going” (Winston Churchill). Keep looking at Mac and going thru your Windows hell. Other one is, “Nothing changes until the pain of change is overcome by the pain of remaining the same” (sorry, can’t put that one to the original). In other words, when you find ‘that point’, making the jump to Mac isn’t so terrible after all.

  9. Damon Hermann Says:

    Hey Mike, I totally understand where you are coming from. In Dec I took the plunge and got an iBook G4. The guy threw in the extra 512mb to bring to 1gig.

    I got it home and was worried about getting connected to my WiFi. I still painfully recall the nightmares I had getting it setup and the XP machines on it. brrrrrr

    Anyway from the time I opend the box to getting online was about 10 min.

    I can do all the standard things I normally do in windows on the iBook. I’ve not had to buy ANY new software…yet.

    Unfortunately I do a web design business on the side and use adobe CS2. So, I was bummed out for awhile. Until…

    Along comes the Intel DUO and APPLE IS USING IT!!!

    They have now released a beta version of a dual boot. So, now I can get the MacPower book and dual boot so I don’t loose the adobe software and don’t have to spend all that money converting over.

    Although now all purchases will be for my Apple.

    I have been more productive with this iBook than I ever was with windows. Sadly I have to use windows at work….sigh…

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