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June 14th, 2005

I received an email from Apple telling me that the PowerBook G4 I ordered last week will be arriving late this week, earlier than they first predicted. They told me it would get here on the 22nd, but now the correspondence says it’ll get here no later than this Friday, the 17th.

But that’s not the confirmation I’m referring to in the title of this entry. Rather, it’s a review of the exact same PowerBook model on a website called “Notebook Review.” The article is written by Gabe Lipson, a long-time Windows user who intended to buy another PC, but heard of issues with the model he wanted and quickly was sold on the PowerBook when he visited an Apple Store.

Many parts of the review are comforting especially in light of the possibility of Mactel Powerbooks as early as a year from now. Lipson points out that using a very simple benchmark (calculating pi to 2 million digits), the PowerBook outperforms a range of Pentium-M Wintel laptops running from 1.6 to 1.9 GHz; so despite the lack of a G5, the PowerBook G4 is still fast enough to rank up there in the laptop market. I know that more complex benchmarks will rank things differently, but still we’re talking about an equivalent class of computers.

Lipson also compared the PowerBook screen favorably compared to the highly-touted BrightView reflective screen. I’ve seen these on PCs and they look very nice, but as Lipson points out, the reflective part seems like it could be an annoyance. The PowerBook’s screen, he reports, does just as good a job without that down point.

Otherwise, Lipson praises though does not gush about the PowerBook: the size of the computer, the keyboard and the screen is just about right, not too big or small; the speakers do well, the processor performs well, the ports, WiFi and battery all perform as well as can be expected. Lipson likes the backlit keyboard, and admires OS X 10.4.

All of this not bad at all for a notebook computer which has received no significant processor upgrades for the past three years!

Lipson also mirrors my worries and complaints: the possibility of dead pixels (crossing my fingers big-time) and the fact that you never know when a huge upgrade may or may not be just around the corner.

This is what I’ve become used to hearing from long-time Wintel users who make the switch: pleasantly surprised. It also confirms many of the reasons why I like the Mac.

One more point, while I’m here: there has been a lot of talk in the past week about how Mac users are reacting to the switch to Intel, as if we’re all supposed to feel betrayed or something. My reaction has been, “why?” The Mac switched over to RISC and IBM years back, and it didn’t hurt me at all then. Apple will likely make this change just as transparent. So what? A new chip is a new chip.

Many Windows enthusiasts have been crowing about this, gloating about how Mac fans have been touting the PPC, and now have to eat crow over the switch to Intel. I don’t get that, either. I had great hopes for what IBM was supposed to deliver, and if it towered over what Windows PCs were getting, all the better. But what happened was IBM’s failure, not Apple’s, so Apple just went with someone else who could do a better job. Maybe if I’d been going on about how crappy Intel chips were and IBM was so superior and that’s the way it would be forever and ever and I’m so sure I would bet the farm, then I’d have to eat crow. But even at that, for the present at least, IBM’s existing chips are still superior to most of what’s out there in the Windows market. This is evidenced by what I mentioned above, that the laptop G4 still compares well to the latest Wintel chip offerings. The problem is that IBM has stalled and had no future promise–and apparently, no interest, either.

The only way that I see the Mactel news as being of any importance is that it seems to signal strong possibilities for the Mac OS to encroach on the Windows market. And even many Windows enthusiasts I see on the web seem to be more biased towards PC hardware, and would be fine with the Mac OS, so long as it could work transparently with Windows software–which is what will very likely happen.

Categories: Gadgets & Toys, Mac News Tags: by
  1. YouKnowWho
    June 14th, 2005 at 23:53 | #1

    Below are some benchmarks on this new computer vs ohter Mac computers — fyi.


  2. Luis
    June 15th, 2005 at 01:45 | #2

    A better comparison page can be found here:


  3. YouKnowWho
    June 15th, 2005 at 02:28 | #3

    I have a dell 8600, mentioned in the above link, and am very happy w/ it. I don’t know how these two compare in speed.

  4. June 15th, 2005 at 14:16 | #4

    it could work transparently with Windows software–which is what will very likely happen.

    This smells strongly of speech from the posterior. Do you have information supporting this claim? Not attacking, just saw no supporting evidence whatsoever, and tend to feel that this is probably not going to happen.

  5. YouKnowWho
    June 15th, 2005 at 22:34 | #5

    I was at a bar 2 days ago and someone there said that the new Pentium Mac’s will run Mac Os and Windows Xp, yet the Windows Xp boxes will not run Mac Os.

    Perhaps some Windows Xp folks will buy that Mac hardware to run Windows Xp for some odd reason, such as great Apple marketing.

    Perhaps one could run both OS at the same time, and perhaps a “dual” computer could have some benefit over a single computer.

  6. Luis
    June 15th, 2005 at 23:28 | #6

    No evidence, just opinion. I also probably wasn’t too clear on this–what I was referring to was any number of scenarios in which one could use Windows software on a Mactel without any significant effort at any given time to change the environment.

    For example, take Virtual PC; even without an Intel platform, it allows me to simply switch apps and there are Windows programs, bam. Not entirely tansparent, but pretty close, and with the switch to Intel chips, those apps in Virtual PC will work at native speed.

    But I also see the possibility, especially with Transitive technology, of the Mac OS running Windows apps without having to transfer into a Windows-like screen, and that using Windows apps in future Mac OS versions would be like it is now for Mac OS X users to use Classic programs.

    I don’t see how this would be unlikely. I do not speak from knowing technical details, it simply doesn’t seem like that would be all that impossible in the near future, especially see how one can use Virtual PC today and that the Intel platform would accommodate that.

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