April 8, 2004


I guess I owe many people an explanation of why I bought the iBook. I get the feeling some of you are saying, "but this was all so sudden!!" Well, really, it was pretty well calculated. As many of you know, last summer, we were foster parents to a PowerBook that showed up on our doorstep, looking for a good home. When that computer went back, I started saving with the thought that I might purchase a Mac. That blog entry has some pretty good background on the things I liked.

At the time, Apple was still putting G3 processors in their iBooks and had just announced the G5. I could see that very shortly, the G3 would be a completely obsolete processor. In that post, I said...
In a couple of notebook generations, if Apple has... say... a lightweight G4 iBook with a 12-14" widescreen, USB 2.0 and a combo drive in the $999 to $1299 range, we might have to take a good hard look at it.

Lo and behold, this past October, Apple introduced a 12" iBook with a G4 processor, USB 2.0 and a combo drive in the $999 to $1299 range. So, one reason I bought it is to make good on my comment. The only missing element is the widescreen.

Maybe it would be easier to just itemize some reasons.
  • We quickly got used to two laptops in the house. Having two portable always-on-Internet laptops spoiled us. We joked a lot about IMing each other instead of talking, but it was very convenient not to have to push the other off when you want to look something up quickly.
  • I wanted something smaller. The HP laptop we purchased was a great deal. After all the rebates and everything, we ended up paying about half the retail cost. However, we didn't have a great deal of variety to choose from when we selected it... and everything in that price range had a good weight of about 8-9 lbs. The fifteen inch screen is nice, especially for watching movies and sharing with each other, but it doesn't really fit on a tray table in coach.
  • I'm intrigued with how some of the Mac apps can help. The main candidate for change is iPhoto. We have a ton of digital pics, but no organization to them. The HP has some photo utilities, but nothing that organizes. The software Kodak bundled with our camera is abysmal. Apple's bundled programs are very mature, especially now that we've hit the '04 iteration. They're a very good example of what most mac-o-philes mean when they say, "it just works." Plus, I picked up Microsoft Office v.X so that I could deal with all of the files that I generate at work. And... because it was a deal! I'm getting a free upgrade to Office 2004!
  • The iBook is probably Apple's most price competitive system for its size and power. When you enter the "Thin and Light" world in PC notebooks, there tends to be a premium because they're aimed at business travelers. They tend to have lower powered processors, less expandability, and higher prices. The pricing issue probably comes about due to scarcity - high demand and relatively low supply. While the iBook is not specifically marketed as that segment, it is very close to it. The value equation increases when you consider that you get a "full speed" (read: non-"Celeron" and non-"Mobile Edition") processor, Radeon 3D-accelerated graphics (integrated graphics are more the norm on the PC platform) and a complete software package.
  • There was an immediate need and an immediate ability. Meaning... I had saved up the money so that I was ready to buy, and I'll be leaving on a business trip where I would have taken the HP, leaving Lydia without a laptop. Granted, Lydia would not have starved or gone insane without a computer, but she does use it on a regular basis. Purchasing the iBook for me allowed me to give Lydia the gift of the HP while I'm gone. (Yes, everyone reading this, I know it sounds really lame of me to brag about how ME buying ME a computer benefits Lydia, but it is a very small part of the benefits of buying the computer.)
  • It's cool lookin', and it's cheaper than a BMW.

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