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#198808 - 15/01/2004 16:01 iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill?
tonyc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 27/06/1999
Posts: 7058
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
I'm interested in buying my first laptop, and the iBooks are looking nice. I know from the last "should I buy a Mac?" thread that several people here purchased iBooks awhile back, and was wondering how they're holding up. Are they still meeting your expectations? Are you finding good support, 3rd party software development, etc? A couple years ago I would have never considered purchasing a Mac, but now that they have UNIX underneath and the prices have come down, it's at least on my radar.

If I do decide to go the iBook route, are there any good deals now? Is there any particular model to buy or stay away from?
_________________________
- Tony C
my empeg stuff

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#198809 - 15/01/2004 16:15 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: tonyc]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
My only complaint (and mine's of the older clamshell variety) is that they stopped producing batteries for it and the thrid party one I got won't hold what the charging system considers 100%, so it gets charged all the time, and the new battery is wearing down pretty fast.

I've yet to find an mp3 player that I really like, but I don't really use it for that anyway. Otherwise, I've not got any complaints about the applications I can find for it. It's obviously slimmer pickin's than for Windows, but seldom am I unable to find something that doesn't work at least reasonably well for my purposes.
_________________________
Bitt Faulk

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#198810 - 15/01/2004 16:47 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: tonyc]
trs24
old hand

Registered: 20/03/2002
Posts: 729
Loc: Palo Alto, CA
Way to go, Tony. I don't think you'll be dissapointed with an iBook in the slightest. I just purchased a new Powerbook 15" yesterday and am very much looking forward to it coming in.

I mostly do development in ASP and ASP.NET these days so when I was looking for a laptop I was afraid I'd have to go the PC route. But instead I just purchased VirtualPC 6.1 along with my laptop and upped the RAM to accomodate the system load. That way I can test with IIS while still using dreamweaver in OSX.

Any questions you would have about purchasing a mac would be best answered at the MacRumors Forums. There is a large section on buying advice. There is also a buyers guide on MacRumors that gives suggestions on what to buy based on product update cycles.

One piece of advice I'd offer is, don't purchase RAM through Apple. If you go through the Apple Store to customize your laptop, leave out the memory and either get it from Crucial or from here

Good Luck!

- trs
_________________________
- trs

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#198811 - 15/01/2004 16:50 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: wfaulk]
tonyc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 27/06/1999
Posts: 7058
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
What is it you don't like about the available MP3 players?
_________________________
- Tony C
my empeg stuff

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#198812 - 15/01/2004 17:11 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: trs24]
tonyc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 27/06/1999
Posts: 7058
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
Cool, thanks for the tips and links. I was originally considering the 14" iBook but reading through those threads, I find out it's limited to 1024x768. I was hoping for 1280x960 or so. But if I want to move up to the 15" PB, it's a pretty steep price difference.

If you don't mind my asking, how much did your PB 15" set you back?
_________________________
- Tony C
my empeg stuff

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#198813 - 15/01/2004 17:16 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: tonyc]
loren
carpal tunnel

Registered: 23/08/2000
Posts: 3825
Loc: SLC, UT, USA
Awesome. Glad to see a thread like this as i'm about to take the plunge back to macs... specifically a 15" Powerbook within the next month. I'm gonna dump all the PC's i have around save one, which will be the MAME/server/game machine which i'm going to hook up to my plasma. I can't wait to empty out my computer room! Thanks for the tips... i'm sure i'll be posting many OSX related questions soon. =]
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|| loren ||

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#198814 - 15/01/2004 17:48 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: tonyc]
trs24
old hand

Registered: 20/03/2002
Posts: 729
Loc: Palo Alto, CA
Well, to be specific: $2,824.00 before tax.
I upgraded to the 5400rpm drive and to one 512MB Ram module so I could upgrade it with another 512 at 1/3 the price of what apple is selling them for.

It is a steep price, but you are definitely paying for a lot of performance and feature upgrades with that price. My favorite of which being the backlit keyboard with ambient light sensor.

If I could, I'd wait for the G5 powerbook, but those could be anywhere from 4 months to over a year out. And, with my old Ti Powerbook screen going out I had no choice. I got a full 4 years of use out of my old powerbook without noticing much of a performance issue until only recently (performance did improve A LOT, however from os 10.2 to 10.3). Had it not been for the screen going bad (which was actually a result of my gf dropping it a while back) I would probably still be using it.

Also, I just felt like I needed a newer accessory to go along with my iPod mini!

- trs
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- trs

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#198815 - 15/01/2004 20:28 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: trs24]
tonyc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 27/06/1999
Posts: 7058
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
Ouch. Okay, I won't be getting that one, at least with all the upgrades. See, I don't think I need a ton of horsepower (CPU and RAM.) I probably won't be running web servers, playing 3-D games, or rendering Toy Story 3 on this machine. If I need hardcore number crunching, I have powerful Windows and Linux machines to do that stuff. So, without knowing a whole lot about OS X performance, I think the iBook's CPU and RAM specs might be good enough for me. But the low display resolution on the 14" screen is probably not going to make me happy. The worst thing is, I know they're doing it on purpose so the iBook dont kill their Powerbook sales... I hate when companies do that!

I think maybe I'll swing by a local Apple dealer sometime soon and see if I can fall in love with the 14" iBook's screen. If not, I don't know if I'm down with dropping $2000 for a Powerbook when a decent Wintel laptop with a 14-15" screen can be had for less than half that. The OS X thing is more of a curiosity than something I really need.
_________________________
- Tony C
my empeg stuff

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#198816 - 15/01/2004 20:37 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: wfaulk]
Daria
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/01/2002
Posts: 3932
Loc: Providence, RI
I've yet to find an mp3 player that I really like

xmms!

*runs away*

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#198817 - 15/01/2004 20:38 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: tonyc]
Daria
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/01/2002
Posts: 3932
Loc: Providence, RI
Get someone who can get an academic discount to buy you one. (Of course, I already promised my academic discount to someone this year, and you get one per year, so...)

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#198818 - 15/01/2004 20:48 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: Daria]
tonyc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 27/06/1999
Posts: 7058
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
Yeah, that's a given, I have plenty of friends in academia. But how much is the educational discount?

EDIT: Okay, looks like it's around 10%. The 15" Powerbook starts at $1800. Getting warmer...
_________________________
- Tony C
my empeg stuff

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#198819 - 16/01/2004 03:15 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: tonyc]
gui
member

Registered: 27/07/1999
Posts: 123
I've had one of the first white iBooks - 12" 500MHz G3 for about 3 years now and it's held up pretty well. Only major problem was when the display backlight crapped out about a year ago, turned out the power wire had got caught in the hinge and had sheared through it by opening and closing it. Was a pretty easy fix fortunately.

Unless your eyesite is poor I'd recommend the 12" over the 14" as the resolution is the same, but the 12" is so much smaller. The video out is also crippled to 1024x768 on both which is a shame. Need to go to the 12" Powerbook to over come that one.

But for the money the 12" iBook is strorming value. We've got about 8 at my company and they've all held out really well apart from my display problem above although I've not had my hands on a G4 one yet.

Phil

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#198820 - 16/01/2004 06:55 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: tonyc]
David
addict

Registered: 05/05/2000
Posts: 623
Loc: Cambridge
Also consider the 12" PowerBook. It's good value or the spec, smaller than the 12" iBook and it looks a lot more prefessional.

However, the screen is only 1024x768. It does support dual displays though; the iBook only supports mirroring (although I believe you can get a hack to change that).


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#198821 - 16/01/2004 09:11 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: gui]
tonyc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 27/06/1999
Posts: 7058
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
My eyesight is fine, but I genereally can't stand running at anything below 1280 resolution. Maybe I'll feel better about it once I give the 12 inch models a look, but the small display and/or low resolution might be a dealbreaker. I'd already be paying a significant premium over a Wintel laptop, to pay that and get a lot less display real estate would be a real drag.
_________________________
- Tony C
my empeg stuff

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#198822 - 16/01/2004 09:56 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: Daria]
andym
carpal tunnel

Registered: 17/01/2002
Posts: 3979
Loc: Manchester UK
xmms!



Whenever any of my friends start argueing about web browsers I always like to throw lynx in for good measure.
_________________________
Cheers,

Andy M

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#198823 - 16/01/2004 10:07 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: tonyc]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
What is it you don't like about the available MP3 players?
They all suck?

Seriously, I have a preference for being able to simply play an mp3. I don't want the player to import an mp3 into a library or anything, and most of them do that, including iTunes. I could probably ignore that, but it imports random music that you want to play from the internet, too, like samples from Amazon or whatever, and it's a pain to go and clean that shit up.

The few I've found that don't do that have trouble with their active playlists. When I tell it to play a track or playlist, I don't want it to add that to the currently existing playlist; I want it to replace it, and I can't find any players that have that as an option.

In addition, most of those have stability issues. The only one that I can think of that comes the closest is Audion, but it costs money, which I don't want to do in order to play music on the system as infrequently as I do. Also, it's been a while, but I remember having some issues with its playlist function, too.

xmms works the way I want, but I have no desire to create the overhead of running an X server (which Apple does include these days) just so that I can play mp3s the way I want. It's all very frustrating.
_________________________
Bitt Faulk

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#198824 - 16/01/2004 10:51 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: tonyc]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3728
Somewhat off-topic, but not too far:

Last night, I was trying to do a mail merge to print addresses on about 100 envelopes. The raw data was in an Excel spreadsheet. I first tried doing it on my PowerMac with Office v.X. I just couldn't coerce the thing to print sideways onto the envelopes, despite the ten different places where I could tell it the paper orientataion. Furthermore, even when I said to only print some small number of records, it would always try to print every record. That made testing difficult. The PDF output was also missing lines that showed up on screen and on paper.

I gave up, pulled out my Windows XP / Office XP laptop, and more-or-less got everything working without a hassle.



Moral of the story: depending on what you're trying to do, a Mac can be a great machine. But, sometimes, you're wandering into the land of untested software and you may be unsatisfied with the results.

Personally, I'd buy a Mac laptop in a snap if only Apple had a product in the under three pound market. The lightest Mac laptop available today is still something like 4.6 pounds. Apple invented the subnotebook with their Duo and subsequently dropped it. *sigh*

(And, whatever I did, I'd always have some sort of PC around for just these sorts of "the damn Mac doesn't work, let's try something else" emergencies.)

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#198825 - 16/01/2004 11:24 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: tonyc]
trs24
old hand

Registered: 20/03/2002
Posts: 729
Loc: Palo Alto, CA
If you end up really wanting a pb, you could also consider eBay. You might not be able to save much on the newest models but you probably could find a good newish aluminum 1Ghz 15" for significantly less than what the new 1.25Ghzs are going for now. You might be able to save $500 or so. It all depends on how comfortable you would be spenging that much on eBay. Checking them out at your local Apple store is definitely a good idea, too.

Also, are you fixed on having a laptop? The reason I ask is that you could get a G5 desktop for less than a G4 laptop - not including monitor, etc...

- trs
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- trs

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#198826 - 16/01/2004 14:16 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: tonyc]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7868
Loc: Seattle, WA
Check out the refurbished products Apple has. They come with the same warranty as a new product, and the warranty can be extended with AppleCare as well.

I've been very happy with my 15 inch Powerbook, and my overall transition to OS X that started in October of 2001.

And about the backlit keyboard. Get it if you do go the Powerbook route, even if you don't need to see the keyboard much. The other great use of it is the ambient light sensors that also dims or brightens the LCD backlight when needed.
_________________________
Tom

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#198827 - 16/01/2004 14:23 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: drakino]
trs24
old hand

Registered: 20/03/2002
Posts: 729
Loc: Palo Alto, CA
The other great use of it is the ambient light sensors that also dims or brightens the LCD backlight when needed.
Oooooh. I didn't know about that. That's really cool. I can't wait! I can't wait! I can't wait! I wish they'd hurry up and ship already!
_________________________
- trs

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#198828 - 16/01/2004 15:25 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: trs24]
loren
carpal tunnel

Registered: 23/08/2000
Posts: 3825
Loc: SLC, UT, USA
Drak, your link timed out... but you can just go to the store and click the specials link at the left side...

Ooooh! They just added a 15"... that wasn't there when i was looking yesterday. Better get it while it's hot. If it had a superdirve it'd be mine.
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|| loren ||

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#198829 - 16/01/2004 17:08 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: wfaulk]
tonyc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 27/06/1999
Posts: 7058
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
Yeah, I don't mind WinAmp's library system but some of the other players out there rely on it too much (to the point that it diminishes performance every time you play a new song.) I'd rather the library were a manual thing where you bulk-import specific folders instead of cataloging everything.
_________________________
- Tony C
my empeg stuff

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#198830 - 16/01/2004 17:14 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: trs24]
tonyc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 27/06/1999
Posts: 7058
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
Yeah, my goal is to get a laptop, not get a Mac. Getting a Mac laptop is just a kooky idea that came to me since I don't strictly need another PC or another Linux box, but I want a laptop. Most of what I'd do with it is platform-neutral stuff, or even just telnetting / VNCing to my Windows box in the other room. I kinda like the idea of the laptop as a "thin client" of sorts, and maybe something I'll do some web browsing and word processing on.

So, in that respect, I really don't care if it's a Mac, Windows, or Linux box. OS X has just been a curiosity of mine. Plus the Mac hardware (both iBook and Powerbook) is nice, and pretty reliable from what I've seen. So I figured if I could find a decent Mac laptop within 125% or 150% of the price of a comparable PC laptop, I'd give it a go. What I'm finding is that the price premium for Apple vs. PC laptops seems to be more like 175% to 200%, and that's a little much.
_________________________
- Tony C
my empeg stuff

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#198831 - 16/01/2004 17:17 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: loren]
tonyc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 27/06/1999
Posts: 7058
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
(Fabris mode is in effect, y'all... )

So can I apply an educational discount to these refurbished units? Or is it an either/or thing? Looks like the refurbed ones are only $100 cheaper. If combined with an educational discount that wouldn't be so bad, but still kinda high.... Man, if the iBook went up to higher resolutions I'd be all over it.


Edited by yn0t_ (16/01/2004 17:17)
_________________________
- Tony C
my empeg stuff

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#198832 - 16/01/2004 17:54 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: tonyc]
loren
carpal tunnel

Registered: 23/08/2000
Posts: 3825
Loc: SLC, UT, USA
I just tried the corporate store we have for Lucas and the refurbs aren't any cheaper than without the discount... so i'd imagine the same is true for education. You could always call and ask. =]
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|| loren ||

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#198833 - 16/01/2004 18:14 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: tonyc]
V99
member

Registered: 12/01/2002
Posts: 192
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
The refurb prices look like they're the same as the normal store.. In case you haven't found it yet, there's a separate store for education that you can browse everything at; Just pick a city with a school near you, and choose the standard store if it asks if you want to go to the Custom one for that school: Education Store

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#198834 - 16/01/2004 19:11 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: V99]
tonyc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 27/06/1999
Posts: 7058
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
Yeah, I didn't notice the refurbed link on the Penn State store earlier. It is indeed the same price for refurbished stuff. Oh well.

So, with the price range I'm looking at, it looks like it's either 14" iBook or a Wintel laptop. No way I'm going to reach into the pocket for the $2200 or so a 15" Powerbook will set me back. I'm gonna go to CompUSA tomorrow to take a look at the iBooks, and if I'm not too keen on those, I'll resign myself to the standard PC laptop quest.
_________________________
- Tony C
my empeg stuff

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#198835 - 16/01/2004 19:22 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: tonyc]
loren
carpal tunnel

Registered: 23/08/2000
Posts: 3825
Loc: SLC, UT, USA
You see this thing? eMachines Notebook with Mobile AMD Athlon™ 64 Processor 3000+ and all the bells and whistles for $1600. Crazy... i bet it melts the skin on your lap.
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|| loren ||

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#198836 - 17/01/2004 15:36 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: tonyc]
mcomb
pooh-bah

Registered: 31/08/1999
Posts: 1649
Loc: San Carlos, CA
What I'm finding is that the price premium for Apple vs. PC laptops seems to be more like 175% to 200%, and that's a little much.

I've got to disagree with that. You get what you pay for and apple has been pretty competitive with their laptops for the last few years. Compare the prices and specs to any big name PC manufacturer's laptops and they are pretty damn close. Toshiba's Tecra series for example is pretty comparable spec for spec with apples powerbooks and apple's prices are better. Of course if you are shopping for your laptop from "Crazy Joe's Bait and Computers", things may be a little different.

-Mike
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EmpMenuX - ext3 filesystem - Empeg iTunes integration

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#198837 - 17/01/2004 19:12 Re: iBook Owners: Should I take the aqua pill? [Re: mcomb]
tonyc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 27/06/1999
Posts: 7058
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
If you're talking MSRP, you might have a point. But the difference between Apple laptops and PC laptops is that the PC market is a lot more competitive, and retailers have a lot more flexibility with their pricing. I don't know for certain that Apple has a Minimum Advertised Price or anything like that, but I sure as heck don't see any remarkable difference between the prices at Apple's store and those at the various online Apple resellers.

Here is a recent example of a Compaq Presario laptop with a 15" screen that was going for $640 (after a bunch of rebates) at BestBuy. I wouldn't call Compaq or Best Buy "Crazy Joe's Bait and Computers." Granted this was a pretty exceptional deal, but I regularly see sales and rebates that bring prices down about that low. I don't know anything about Mac vs. PC performance, so I don't know how a 2.4 GHz mobile Celeron compares to Apple's mobile G4, but for my purposes, the 2.4 Celery would be just fine.

Also, I wasn't really talking about spec for spec, I was talking about "I can get a new Apple laptop for X, and a new PC laptop for Y." will agree with you that Apple has been much more sensible about pricing in the last year or so, but I think there is still a significant price premium associated with the Macintosh brand.
_________________________
- Tony C
my empeg stuff

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