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12" Powerbook: Slick and Sexy, But Not Without Issues 359

Gentu writes "Two very good reviews on the 12" Powerbook have been published today. The first review can be found at the Washington Post and is very positive but not very thorough, while the second one found at OSNews is an in-depth review of the popular Mac laptop, tackling down many issues that future purchasers should be aware of. 'The new 12" Powerbook is nothing more but an iBook on steroids with a G4 in it' OSNews concludes, but the overall read is very interesting."
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12" Powerbook: Slick and Sexy, But Not Without Issues

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  • AMD logo (Score:2, Funny)

    by _typo ( 122952 )
    What's with the AMD logo. Did they get an Athlon in one of these things?
  • by Animus Howard ( 643891 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @08:49AM (#5269761)
    > Slick and Sexy, But Not Without Issues That reminds me, I need to call my ex.
  • by xtal ( 49134 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @08:51AM (#5269775)
    The 12" is really just a hopped up iBook. It doesn't have DVI, making it incompatible with all of Apple's displays .. including the Cinema display. I don't know why Apple did this.

    Lots of people have bitched about the scaled back memory too. There probably isn't a technical reason why it was limited to 640Meg, and there's no L3 cache onboard. Those issues wouldn't have bothered me as much as the lack of DVI.. I mean, apple themselves have sold it pretty heavily.

    Anyhow, my TiSD should be here soon.. I won't even get into the mystery shipping on the 17". 17" makes a great desktop replacement, but if you're going to multihead it with a very large display it's kinda moot.

    • by AKnightCowboy ( 608632 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @08:58AM (#5269793)
      Maybe it's so much like an iBook because they're looking to phase out the G3 processor? When they do that they can just move the 12" Powerbooks down to the $1200 price range with a slow G4 processor and eliminate the iBook line altogether. I know if I had the option I would've bought the 12" Powerbook instead of the 12" iBook I bought in October even though it would've been about $400 more. The G4 alone is worth it. As for the 17" Powerbook.. is anyone buying these things? I can't imagine lugging a 17" iMac's display around all day. I'd rather have a 15" Powerbook with the same specs as the 17" (800 Mb Firewire, DDR ram, etc.)
      • by splateagle ( 557203 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @10:52AM (#5270385)
        Apple are unlikely to eliminate the iBook line, though you can probably expect to see G4 iBooks before long (certainly once the desktop PowerMacs move to whatever they end up branding the G5 - most likely IBM's 970 I think)

        In the same announcement as the introduction for these 12"ers and the new 17" PowerBooks, Jobs mentioned that Apple are moving their focus increasingly toward portables - if anything I'd expect their "consumer" end range to expand in a similar way to their "Pro" stuff, possibly even introducing an "eBook" (an economical and robust low-end laptop offering) before long...

        as for the 15" with the new specs - they're certainly on their way as soon as the old TiBooks clear the distribution channels.
      • As for the 17" Powerbook.. is anyone buying these things? I can't imagine lugging a 17" iMac's display around all day.

        As far as I can tell, the 17" is intended to be a mobile desktop not a portable. Combined with wireless networking, this is a computer which may be carried from room to room in one site (say your home or office). As such, this may be a great machine for many on Slashdot. The smaller units are more appropriate for travel (just try to open and use a 17" in airline coach seating).

        The market for traditional desktop computers is shrinking quickly . The current segments are shifting to small handhelds (palm / cell phone sized), travel computers (sony Vaio), single site (powerbook 17"), and servers (often rackmounted). Presumably we'll see another shift in a few years as next generation display technologies become available.

        • (just try to open and use a 17" in airline coach seating).

          If you can afford a 17" Powerbook, you probably don't need to be flying coach.

        • by weave ( 48069 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @02:19PM (#5272051) Journal
          As a support manager, let me tell you that the TCO for a laptop is far greater than a desktop. Greater hardware failures, more user support issues, like roaming network support, they get lost, stolen, dropped, and they are generally less liked after a while than a desktop.

          At my work, we went through a phase where everyone wanted and got a laptop. After a while, people got fed up with hauling them around, unstandard keyboards, and the expectation that since they had a laptop, they could do work at home. The shift now is back to desktops -- thank god.

          I know it depends on the site and nature of the work. I need a laptop for example, but my office machine is a desktop.

      • Ahhh... a kindred spirit. See What I think of the 17" powerbook [] (I do like the other models, though.
    • by SlamMan ( 221834 ) <> on Monday February 10, 2003 @09:06AM (#5269824)
      Fankly, we tend to use our older Ti's over out new ones at work because they have vga. Our users seem to have problems with the DVI-VGA adaptors for some reason when they're doing ppt presentations on the road.
      • Our users seem to have problems with the DVI-VGA adaptors for some reason when they're doing ppt presentations on the road.
        Oh good, I'm not the only one who's seen that. I rent projectors and had a few PO'd customers that blamed it on me. Of course, then I also see them unplug the adaptor from their TiBook by yanking on the cable.

        Luckily, I've added some projectors with DVI inputs to my inventory. Solves many problems.

    • Lots of people have bitched about the scaled back memory too. There probably isn't a technical reason why it was limited to 640Meg...
      The 12" PowerBook has a single slot that can accept a single 512MB SO-DIMM. The remaining 128MB RAM is soldered to the motherboard, just like on the iBook. So why did they do that? I'm not sure... the 12" PowerBook is thicker than the other PowerBooks which have 2 SO-DIMM slots, but perhaps there were other space issues to deal with.
    • I've got the 12"... (Score:5, Informative)

      by skia ( 100784 ) <skia AT skia DOT net> on Monday February 10, 2003 @12:05PM (#5270906) Homepage
      ...And I love it.

      Its lack of DVI is not really hard to figure. This is the travel-sized laptop. This thing goes anywhere. It's more rugged than most other laptops on the market. It's small. It's light. It's got a great keyboard and a great LCD (yes, that's right, I love the LCD. I think it's fine). But it's not going to replace your desktop.

      That was never its intent. Desktop-replacing laptops start at 15". This is the laptop that you sync up with your dedicated desktop box and then take on the road. It does a great job of that, and honestly, at $1800.00, you can afford to have the 12" and a desktop machine.

      Assuming that this is not going to be your desktop machine, then, what's the use of DVI? The only reason it has external video at all is so that you can give presentations with it (another good use of a truly portable machine), and towards that purpose, it has RCA- and S- video out. Even presentations made with the sexy new Keynote are not going to benefit from DVI.

      This laptop fills a very specific niche (here's a hint: that niche is not "iBook replacement"). Even a cursory glance at the specs reveals that. If someone got sold on the thing to do something it wasn't meant to, well, sorry. They're going to be as unhappy with it as anyone is who tries to use the wrong tool for the job. For my part, I'm using it for what it was made for. And I'm quite happy with it!
    • 640MB? (Score:3, Funny)

      by sulli ( 195030 )
      There probably isn't a technical reason why it was limited to 640Meg

      Ah well, 640MB ought to be enough for anybody.

  • Wow... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rastachops ( 543268 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @08:51AM (#5269776)
    Well done slashdot!! An extremely relevant news article (im not being sarcastic).

    I'll go read the articles and see... I was planning on ordering the 12" Powerbook this evening :)~

    So does anyone here that owns a 12" PB have anything that should be brought to my attention before buying one? I've never owned a mac before but Im quite interested in this Powerbook because of how small it is and also it means I'll have a portable Unix based laptop. Im a student learning C++, Java and AWK right now.
    Thanks for any info.

    • Re:Wow... (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      A student buying a 3k$ laptop to learn awk :) lol
    • by ShatteredDream ( 636520 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @09:44AM (#5269986) Homepage
      because after you use it on OSX you'll grow disillusioned with other implementations thanks to Apple's improvements in the JVM and Swing/AWT :)
      • OSX is so cool for Java developers. I just upgraded to java1.4 (DP11) and so far no problems. Have MySQL, Tomcat etc all pumping away - happy writing struts code and slutting my way in and out of various offices, leaving a trail of very envious clients. You have no idea how cool it is to be able to just walk into the client's office, flip open th mac and ta-dah there is your presentation, code, whatever. love it. and also you get to use BBEdit, and have a nice translucent terminal. :-)

        I did a lot of coding on a rather underpowered 30cm iBook and loved the form factor - and didn't really care much about the speed difference. but now i am back on my tibook i'd say go for that. the extra screen space and the ability to just pop in a second screen makes all the difference.

    • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 10, 2003 @10:07AM (#5270107)
      Disclaimer: I've had mine less than week and it replaces a PII 300 MHz Inspiron 7000.

      I don't agree with all the complaints in the OSNews review. To wit:
      • I didn't have trouble with the touchpad for longer than it took to find the acceleration settings, < 1 min.
      • The LCD isn't fantastic, but it's better than the 15" one on my old Dell.
      • The fonts might look bad to someone used to a powerbook, but they look better than any linux distro I've seen, including RH 8.0

      I've compiled a fair bit of code on it and it seems fairly quick--at least as fast as my PIII 933 Desktop--and has reasonable battery life, 3-4 hours while compiling. Haven't really had time to benchmark the compile times on my own code. I'm quite happy with it.

      Bottom line, if you want something really portable, I'd go for it. If you're looking for a desktop replacement, I'd look at the bigger ones.

      Final note: get more ram. I've noticed that the front left corner does get hot, but I have a feeling it might be related to HDD usage.
      • Re:Wow... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Oculus Habent ( 562837 ) <> on Monday February 10, 2003 @11:39AM (#5270699) Journal
        I haven't played with the new PowerBook, but I do have a few thoughts.

        1. Heat - damn right. the 14" iBook is hot enough, and it's bigger, slower, and a little older. The iBook does have Plastic, which isn't as good a heat conductor as aluminum, too. All of my PowerBooks have been hot after long periods of usage.

        2. He mentioned the lack of ClearType. If he checks the General panel in System Preferences, he would notice the Font Smoothing with four settings and a minimum font size.

        3. While it's not well-known, Apple has a Feedback Section [] for most [] of [] their [] software [] products []. The DVD issues would fall under Mac OS X, and should be reported. I will check my PowerBook for the DVD issues he noted (haven't played one since upgrading to 10.2). The sleep-while-working issue is something I've noted as well, and reported, though mine doesn't usually blackscreen.

        4. Macs have always had slower mouse acceleration than Windows. There have been numerous control panels/extensions/hacks written over time for "Windows users" who can't stand the speed difference. I'm very happy with the speed of my TrackPad.
      • heat issue (Score:3, Informative)

        by gelstudios ( 605243 )
        i have the same problem on my ibook, the heat in the front left corner is from hdd usage, (enable hd sleep and it wont get too hot), and the colorspace of the lcd should be changed to sRGB in the color tab of the display pref panel to make it look way better.
    • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Alan Partridge ( 516639 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @10:40AM (#5270297) Journal
      don't buy the Powerbook. The 800Mhz 12 inch iBook is a MUCH better deal - and is actually FASTER in normal use ( the PPC 750fx has 512KB L2 cache vs the G4's 256KB). The price difference is so large that you could put a top spec IBM Travelstar AND max the RAM and it still wouldn't cost as much as the pb.

      If you don't believe me, check out where they have a comparative speed review. If you want a Powerbook, go for the 15inch model, if you want an OSX portable - 800Mhz iBook is the king.

      • Agreed. The venerable iBook is also more rugged than the Powerbook and doesn't get nearly as hot. It's internal antenna has greater Airport range than the Powerbook.
  • by Longjmp ( 632577 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @08:52AM (#5269778)
    ... I don't own one.
  • MHz vs. GHz (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mj ( 123061 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @08:56AM (#5269784)
    Call me naive or whatever, but this new powerbook comes with a 867MHz processor.

    And while I realize that's not a direct measure of speed, I have to ask:

    Is apple falling way behind? How do these systems compete with the 2 and 3 GHz intel systems coming out?

    The reviewer stated that this model was much faster than their 450. Well, ya, its double, but its not a 2.4GHz chip or anything....??

    Thanks for your comments,
    • Re:MHz vs. GHz (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Vollernurd ( 232458 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @09:04AM (#5269817)
      Whilst you're right that the Motorola RISC architecture that Apple utilise cannot be compared MHz for MHz with an Intel CISC device, they have been lagging for a little while in trms of raw power (MIPS). However, their speed/performance ratio is quite high.

      I think that the general feeling of the Mac-hardcore is that Motorola just do not invest enough time or money in development of their chips.

      Someone more knowledgable than me can correct this fact though. Were Apple also not once considering swicthing to Intel (?!).

      Probably all lies.
      • Re:MHz vs. GHz (Score:5, Informative)

        by danaris ( 525051 ) <> on Monday February 10, 2003 @09:12AM (#5269840) Homepage
        This is true: Motorola has, over the past couple of years, been moving their focus more and more away from Apple, and desktop systems in general, to focus on the embedded market. It is largely because of this that this year's last models of PowerMacs (that is, the ones that will come out late this year) will sport IBM PowerPC 970 chips. IBM won't be leaving the desktop/server market anytime soon, and it looks like they are now forming a partnership with Apple that will benefit them both. (How weird is that? IBM and Apple...)

        Dan Aris
        • Re:MHz vs. GHz (Score:5, Informative)

          by extra88 ( 1003 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @09:31AM (#5269927)
          (How weird is that? IBM and Apple...)

          How about "not at all?" From the beginning of PowerPC Macs, the PowerPC was the domain of "AIM": Apple, IBM, Motorola. They all had a formal agreement of some kind regarding the chip's development. I think it kind of fell apart, probably around when Motorola developed Altivec, but IBM has never stopped making PowerPC chips for themselves, Apple, and others. I think IBM makes all the G3 chips Apple buys today. IBM has long done a better job of keeping up with advancements in chip production and keeping yields at a higher level than Motorola. Higher yields means cheaper and faster chips. Unfortunately Apple needs Altivec and Motorola hasn't been sharing.

          Use of the IBM 970 chip is still rumor, one I haven't really paid attention to though. Has Motorola finally licensed Altivec to IBM or did IBM make their own version of it? You can't have two different kinds of G4s so if the IBM chip doesn't have Altivec it would have to be called something else ("G5?") and the G4 would have to replace the G3 in the iBooks (or, as someone else mentions, the iBook dies in favor of the 12" PowerBook). Even so, if there's a new Altivec-like chip feature, it'll take a long time for apps to be updated to take advantage of it. Apple would use it immediately, followed quickly by Adobe Photoshop, but many apps would wait until their next upgrade cycle.
    • by caveat ( 26803 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @09:17AM (#5269861)
      Well, most PowerBook owners really don't seem to be concerned that an AlienWare desk/laptop with a 3.06GP4 can run Photoshop so-and-so times faster; they seem to be more into the idea of a gorgeously-designed machine with an OS that allows them the ease of use to actually work efficiently, while still allowing them all the power they could ever want. Laptop people tend to realize much more than desktop people that a computer isn't always and end unto itself; most of the time it's just a tool for getting the job done, and they'll choose the best one available.
      Plus they have that great ad with Yao Ming and Verne Troyer...still can't figure out why they didn't premiere it during the Superbowl, though.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        You're forgetting that the Alienware machine is 10 freaking pounds. That's not portable IMO.
      • by ianscot ( 591483 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @10:01AM (#5270076)
        Laptop people tend to realize much more than desktop people that a computer isn't always and end unto itself

        Amazing, isn't it, how people end up on the CPU treadmill? I just bought a digital camera. Already have a film SLR -- decent enough, and certainly a better picture than any digital camera under $1800 or so. What I needed was a complement to that. The kids are nine, they're old enough to enjoy taking pictures but not old enough not to waste hundreds of worthless frames learning how on film. The SLR's big to lug around, too, so a decent little digital made sense. For what we were doing, a 3 MP model seemed fine, and small-but-not-ultra-compact -- emphasis on durable, for the kids. I narrowed the models down, read some reviews, and chose something at that sweet spot. It happened to be one of the Sony models -- because it has a nice little design that's easy to tuck in a pocket and a decent little interface. Seemed better-engineered than the comparable Canons.

        Apple gets that. They understand how to pitch to different market segments. Their machines have design sense, they're meant to work with you. They're durable. The OS is pleasant -- the kids haven't given me much chance to use the new camera, but they tell me iPhoto is easy as can be... :-) And they're using it on the 17" iMac that's displaced the PCs in the household because it'll fit in a weird spot and it's better at the stuff we actually do.

        But why do people not "get" the whole tradeoff idea except for portables? The hutch/shrines people set up for their computers are surreal. (Hide it in the basement, please, honey.) Or look at that /. article last week about upgrading your machine to play games -- that's technology for its own sake, for people who can only be satisfied with a shooter if they know they're getting a respectable FPS rate. For some reason people "get" it for portables, but not for desktop systems. Weird.

    • The Myth (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ciryon ( 218518 )
      Have you heard about the Megaherz Myth []?

      The PowerPC CPU can't be compared to Intel/AMD's since they operate very differently.

      Still, yes, Macintoshes are falling behind when it comes to raw speed. But cleverly designed software makes it a lot faster to work with a Mac.


    • Re:MHz vs. GHz (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Christopher Bibbs ( 14 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @09:36AM (#5269950) Homepage Journal
      Look at it this way. Intel's fastest processor is something like 3.06 GHz. AMD's fastest is, what, 2.1 GHz (sure they call is 3000+, but that's just marketing). Fastest PowerPC is 1.42 GHz.

      So who's falling behind whom? Intel CPU is 50% faster than that AMD, except the AMD is actually about the same performance. PowerPC isn't half the speed of the Intel, but it runs fast enough that 90% of users would never know it was "slow". Add on the fact that if you want Mac OS you only have one choice (and if you have only spent a few minutes with it at a store, you don't know how beautiful it really is).

      Hmmmm.... maybe CPUs really aren't as important as they used to be.

    • Re:MHz vs. GHz (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mononoke ( 88668 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @09:38AM (#5269958) Homepage Journal
      Is apple falling way behind? How do these systems compete with the 2 and 3 GHz intel systems coming out?
      How fast is the processor actually running on those portable 2 and 3 GHz intel systems? When running full speed, how much battery life are they seeing?

      I'll bet you still can't watch a DVD straight through while on battery with those intel systems.

    • Is apple falling way behind? How do these systems compete with the 2 and 3 GHz intel systems coming out?
      The reviewer stated that this model was much faster than their 450. Well, ya, its double, but its not a 2.4GHz chip or anything....??

      My 500 MHz iBook is much faster (at least 1.5X as fast) than my 700 MHz PIII desktop, which also has 1/2 again as much memory. And last I checked, there were no 3 GHz laptops. (Keep in mind, by the way, that [roughly] the higher the clockspeed, the shorter the battery life).

    • How do these systems compete with the 2 and 3 GHz intel systems coming out?
      Doe this matter to you? Honestly? What do you acually use 2.4GHz of CPU power for. I have a 1.33GHz athlon, and my CPU usage graph sits at 20% for most of the time. The only things that really tax it are are compiling and encoding music, both of which would use 100% on any CPU, and neither of which is slow enough for me to seriously consider upgrading this machine. In the past I've tended to upgrade my CPU when the top-of-the-line model is 100% faster than mine. Now I'm just not bothering, and looking at upgrading other things instead, and in terms of overall system integration Apple wins hands down.
  • My 9 year old HP Omnibook 600CT is showing it's age and the 12" Powerbook is almost exactly the same size (and has a higher resolution screen, larger hard disk, optical drive, similar battery life, etc).

    But has anyone got this thing dual booting Linux and OS X? If so I would be very interested in getting one.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 10, 2003 @09:26AM (#5269903)
      The question has to be why would you want it to boot into linux. Don't get me wrong, Linux is great, but if you've got OS X why do you want something that is basically the same (minor differences) but without the flexibility of running all your aqua apps.
      • Here's the thing - I still have to boot into OS 9 to do sound recording, because the software I'm comfortable with there (mostly Coaster) has not been ported to X yet, and it doesn't run under Classic. I'd like to install linux so I can run OS X and 9 side by side in separate mol windows. Does that make sense? Or is OS 9 under linux the same as classic -- i.e. you can't run anything you want to without booting into OS 9 directly. It would be nice to not have to reboot. Then again I don't want to lose speed on OS X but my understanding is that mol runs OS X natively so there isn't a change there. I don't know and I haven't had the time to install it and see; does anyone here know if I would be wasting my time?
    • by GeorgeH ( 5469 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @09:56AM (#5270042) Homepage Journal
      I have Yellow Dog [] running on my 15" Powerbook, and it runs quite well. Bottom line is that I rarely use it, because OS X is a capable Unix and with Fink [] I don't really need to keep a second Unix around (even though I do). BTW the Powerbooks have a nifty graphical boot loader built in (I believe it's built in, could be a YD feature), so I just choose between the disk with the big X on it or the disk with the big penguin on it.
    • by giminy ( 94188 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @10:28AM (#5270217) Homepage Journal
      Yes I run Debian on my powerbook. Or used to. There's not as much point to it now because apple released their accelerated X11 server. Combine that with fink and their development tools and you can compile most of the common linux software (like I use gimp and a few functional programming tools). Okay so some things require a little bit o' porting still, but most of the common stuff will run.

      About all you get by running linux on a powerbook is buggy power management, firewire, and no modem driver or video mirroring.
  • My take... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @09:04AM (#5269818)
    I have one of the previous 12" iBooks, (dual USB w/combo drive), and it appears to be one of the best kept stealth business tools around.

    I originally headed out to buy a Ti, but this one was put in front of me, and discounted heavily, as it was a floor demo. Big deal, if it didn't work out, I'd just pass it along to a family member. Now, I'm in no hurry to let it go.

    The 12" iBook has a form factor that happens to fit my needs exactly. I've had original PB's and Duo's, and felt I knew what I wanted when it came time to go portable, again.

    In my case, I wanted a real portable...not something that shouted 'identity crisis'...something that was 1/2 desktop machine and 1/2 laptop, not doing either well. I wanted something to use with my digital cameras (still and movie), while adding as little as possible to the amount of tech bulk in the process. My iBook weighs a bit more than a Ti, but it's smaller, and that was what I really wanted. Performance is great...the screen is bright and it works...and works...and works. Long battery life. Outputs to the TV in the hotel room. Wireless networking in the airport. Burns CD's on demand. Command line if I need it. Nothing like a Unix based notebook to make you feel like you're toteing a tool instead of a wanna-be workstation. I've never thought about using it as a primary machine, but with all it has going for it, I'm sure it would do just fine. As soon as my Mac guy has a demo G4 12" iBook, I'm going to trade up.
    • I'll second that I was also looking at the TiBook and then ended up buying the 12" iBook and love it, pretty light compared to my old Dell and I am seriously considering buying another Mac now as a Desktop replacement down the road.

    • Agreed. My 12" 700 MHz iBook runs like a champ now that I've upgraded to 384 MB of RAM. Absolutely no problems here. I was expecting some speed issues with Mac OS X 10.2 on a G3 processor, but I've had none since the RAM upgrade (128 MB just wasn't enough), and now this machine has largely replaced my Dell 2.4 GHz and my G4 733 MHz as my main computer.
  • Really? (Score:5, Funny)

    by dogzilla ( 83896 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @09:05AM (#5269821) Homepage
    "The new 12" Powerbook is nothing more but an iBook on steroids with a G4 in it"

    Anyone else find this quote amusing? "The new Porsche is nothing more than a VW Golf on steroids with a much better engine in it."
    • Re:Really? (Score:2, Interesting)

      "The new Porsche is nothing more than a VW Golf on steroids with a much better engine in it."

      Sort of, but the origonal 911 WAS nothing more that a VW bettle on steroids with a much better engine in it. Indeed is was possible to take a 911 engine and put it in your bettle as the engine mountings etc were the was.

      And yes the qoute is amusing, especially as I get the feeling that this was the intention when designing the new PowerBook.

      • Uh, no. The Porsche 356 was based on the Beetle. The 911 has the same general layout, but (thankfully) has rather better underpinnings.

    • Re:Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mccalli ( 323026 )
      Yep, I do find the comment slightly trite, but I do understand what they're getting at.

      To use your analogy, a VW Golf with a Porsche 911 engine inside (assume it fits...) would still not be a 911. You would need better steering, rear-wheel drive, better brakes, better noise control, different trim...a whole set of system changes to go with it.

      They're saying that with a Powerbook line, you expect a certain quality of things about the system - DVI seems to be a stand-out, as does the better quality LCD. You don't seem to get those with this machine however, so hence the 'only' an iBook on steriods quip.


    • The crimes of eBay are a disgrace to it's pig latin heritage!

      eBay protest cry:

  • lag? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BenjyD ( 316700 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @09:11AM (#5269839)
    >Yippee, I can resize Safari and even IE now with >not much lag

    Because it should obviously take an 867mhz processor that fries your lap while working to redraw a 1024x768 window 'almost fast enough'. What is it with GUI designers these days?
    • Re:lag? (Score:2, Informative)

      by truenoir ( 604083 )
      It could be noted that the laptop is using Quartz Extreme, and therefore the graphics processor is doing all the work for this. You can run OpenGL screensavers as a wallpaper in OSX without hitting the CPU (using QE).
  • by sdavid ( 556770 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @09:13AM (#5269844)
    One of his complaints was the lack of cleartype under max ox x. If I recall correctly, cleatype is subpixel rendering, and that has been supported since Jaguar was released. In fact, it's the primary reason I upgraded from 10.1.5.
  • Models (Score:5, Funny)

    by jasonflacid ( 642681 ) <jason DOT carr AT gmail DOT com> on Monday February 10, 2003 @09:21AM (#5269878)
    The iBooks are like models. They are nice to look at and nice to play with and fondle, but when it comes down to it, they have a lot of flaws and will most likely vomit after every meal and have a weird sexual past.
    • Re:Models (Score:5, Funny)

      by kalidasa ( 577403 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @10:13AM (#5270134) Journal

      The iBooks are like models. They are nice to look at and nice to play with and fondle, but when it comes down to it, they have a lot of flaws and will most likely vomit after every meal and have a weird sexual past

      I have no problems with mine. Maybe you've been feeding yours at the wrong four star trattorias?

      I don't have any problems with my iBook, either.

  • Ouch... (Score:3, Funny)

    by BinaryCodedDecimal ( 646968 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @09:37AM (#5269956)
    From the article:

    Number 1 issue is heat. The thing burns. After 2-3 hours of continuing usage, the laptop just burns like a hot cake on the lower left side

    Kind of reminds me of this [].

    Maybe Apple will ship it with a pair of insulated iPants for true laptop comfort?
  • by vasqzr ( 619165 ) <vasqzr@n[ ] ['ets' in gap]> on Monday February 10, 2003 @09:49AM (#5270007)

    They've also came out with a sweet-ass XServe RAID []

    • Oh yes! More Blinkenlights for my server room!

    • xserve experiences (Score:2, Interesting)

      by goombah99 ( 560566 )
      two words: raid 5. its missing from apple. You can buy a third part raid 5 however.

      A while ago I bought two xserves to act as diskserves to a linux cluster and to backup my desktop macs. I bought these machines because I felt they were a good deal. I got bids on several pc based linux disk servers, as well as several NAS boxes. I was comparing 480GB machines. a high quality generic brand (supermicro) with scsi disks and dual Gigabit ran about 8000 (at the time). The mac xserves ran just under $7000 using IDE disks with 4 indepenedent masters (out performs the scsi). Additionally the mac had other nice features such as: 1U versus 3U. hot swap. I bought both systems in the end. after I unpacked the mac I was even more impressed with the high quality construction and ease of access to the interior.

      What really made it for me on the macs was the fact that I had to hire a sysadmin to correctly set up my linux box with load balancing, Ldap, mail server, and moreover to keep it patched and to monitor it. On the macs I set them up myself. No detected problems with load balance. and the mac tools let you set up nearly all the services you might want with an intuitive gui.

      Actually, I had a few snags but even here I have to give apple a good reprot card. they chancged how they did network admin right when I got my box. so all the documentation was for the obsolete tools and none for the new. So I got things really screwed up with services I could not turne off once turned on. The machines would gag when they could not find their ldap serviers or when they were cut off from the internet. But I called apple on the free service plan. after a ten minute wait on came a guy who really knew his stuff and spent about an hour with me getting all of my various problems sorted out and teaching me the new system. And in fact the next day he called me back! said he had another idea about a question i had asked him. I was really impressed on the customer service. its much better than for my other mac computers. Since then Ive had mac people call me back three times with ideas for me. Now that the new tools are better docuimented (still a few gaps), life is easy.

      perhaps the best feature is the software update feature. I get patches and new tools delivered automatically and have the confiudence they wont screw up my all apple configuration. thus I still have not needed a sys admin. At the purchase time I had considered some NAS boxes (e.g. iomega,snap...) for the purpose of making sys admin simple. But these things have lousy throughput for the price and aren't versatile computing machines.

      However I have had three problems with my xesrves that I dont have with my linux box.

      first no raid 5. that's absouluetly maddening. I bought a raid 5 solution from a third party but I'm nervous it wont be effieicnt or it will die someday when I do a self-update that makes it incompatible.

      second, and this compounds the above problem is the UFS/HFS+ dichotomy. while macs do run UFS, they dont do it effieicently or with any advanced features like journalling. Moreover the OS and some mac apps wont work unless they are on UFS. so you always have to have a HFS+ partition. but wait! you cant partition a raid disk with different file systems (on apple) so this means if you want to have any hfs raid the whole disk has to be HFS+. on our four disk Xserve this means I ended up with two disks RAID1 HFS+ and and two disks UFS raid 1- a whopping 120GB of UFS out of my 480GB (raw) can be UFS. yuck!. fortunately there is now a partionalble raid 5 soultion from a theird party which fixes this issue. (the reason I wanted UFS, was because even though I lost some effieiceny i wanted no surprises for my linux systems due to the filenaming case sensitivity)

      The third problem I have had is that while the admin tools are wonderful and run on remote machines, there are a few tools and apps that will not run remotely. for example, if I want to use the GUI software update remotely, I cant. I have to use the terminal CLI tool. This is not too bad, but its just an example. if you use other gui tools, like brickhouse firewall or whatever, you have to go to the terminal attactched to the machine.

      My work around for this is to use OSXVNC which does the job. However there is a catch I dont like. You cant use osxvnc on a headless mac. that is you have to have a display device connected to the mac to use osxvnc!! there's no way I want to have a display for each mac xserve. Of course I could use a KVM switch but my preference would be that it should be unneccessary for remote admin. my work around here is that I can fool the macs by briefly connecting a display to them after boot. I can then unplug the display and OSXVNC will still work on my headless mac.

      My conclusion is that apple has a wonderfulhigh quality machine. And it will work perfectly for you if you dont require UFS or remote admin of GUI based apps. When I bought my system I had just had a bad experience with 20 athalon servers that had died from heat delamination of the fans and were unstable due to current glithces from the cd roms. I was thus very risk averse. when I bought the apples I knew I was buying peace of mind, and not paying extra for it. I had no idea what good customer service I was going to get. PLus I did not realize I could also buy a complete replacement part kit (down to the motherboard) to have locally. Since my experience with their customer service I bought the extened warantee. its lot cheaper than a sys admin.

      when mac comes out with native raid5 and someone writes a VNC that can run headless all will be well

  • EURODANCE?? (Score:5, Funny)

    by cygnus ( 17101 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @10:21AM (#5270171) Homepage
    The sound coming out of the speakers is pretty good quality. Not as good as in the 17" model, neither as good as the one found in most Compaq laptops, but still, not bad at all. Fully acceptable playing my favorite Eurodance radio station... ;-)
    dear GOD.

    the HORROR.

  • Heat Issue (Score:5, Informative)

    by dusanv ( 256645 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @10:24AM (#5270191)
    Let me say I am a happy owner of the 867 15'' PB. When these first showed up people were complaining that they were too loud. So Apple responded and removed the fans. Now it's too hot! Oh well, pick one, fans or heat. Seriously, according to Motorola the 1 GHz G4 (7455) outputs 30W max (unless Apple put in something else not listed on Moto's site). That's a lot for a laptop and definitely warrants a fan. My PB has two fans. One of them has two speeds and the low speed is almost constantly on but it doesn't bother me because it's almost completely inaudible (I can hear it only if there is absolutely no other sound in the room). However after 15 min of UT the other fan kicks in and that one *is* audible (not too bad though). When you stop UT the other fan dies...
    • according to Motorola the 1 GHz G4 (7455) outputs 30W

      An excellent opportunity to mention: IBM's PPC970 only uses 19W [] when underclocked to 1.2GHz.

      I'd love to jump from my Pismo to a PowerBook G5. Here's hoping that IBM beats their production estimates...
  • LCD's suck? (Score:5, Informative)

    by imag0 ( 605684 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @10:26AM (#5270209) Homepage
    Quoth the article:
    Number 2 issue is the quality of the LCD screen... but the one used for this Powerbook is the same as the one found on the 15" iMac and the iBooks

    Being a dual USB iBook owner here myself I am wondering where he's getting his information. The LCD on this laptop is exellent. Crisp, clear, AA works wonderfully and subpixel rendering is peachy as well.
    As for whimpering about motion blur, even this iBook is a previous generation (G3 500) system, I get none of that here. Must be talking out his ass.
  • Based on this article it looks like if I add a $400.OO Sonnet g4 upgrade to my powerbook prism (g3, 266mh, 40GB HD, 392mb ram, firewire card, 14.1" screen) I will have at least as good a machine. Has anyone done this? If so what is your experiance with third party upgrades? Would you do this or buy a new 15 or 17 inch?
    • I don't know much about third party upgrades, but I do know that one of the new AlBook 12" features that wouldn't be upgraded to would be the faster bus and DDR memory. The cache on the Sonnet upgrade might help, but overall the performance wouldn't be as good in my opinion. Also, you don't get Bluetooth or Airport Extreme.

      I bought an 867 TiBook in November for the refresh of the line just before the 17" and 12" models were refreshed, and after a couple weeks of angsting about not having the new features above, I decided that the 15" model was still just fine. The resolution is good, the size is right, the features are capable and someday I might actually get to use the DVI port that isn't on the 12" model. On my budget, the 17" model was right out of my league. So I have no real regrets over my 15" machine, and will be happy enough when 802.11g PCMCIA cards become usable on it.
  • by muckdog ( 607284 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @10:37AM (#5270284) Homepage
    Ahhh... ibook on steriods. Does it mean that this new powerbook has little balls and dies after 40 hours of use?
  • I have one. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by chipset ( 639011 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @10:53AM (#5270394) Homepage
    I picked mine up this week. Sure, it's a little warm, but nothing more than my t30 thinkpad or my athlon based hp notebook. But I can say this, the "cool" factor is certainly there. It has more style that either of my other laptops combined. I was at a work function this week and everyone I work with got new T30s,but the true hit was when I opened up my 12 Powerbook. Everyone wanted to play with it. It has very clean lines, a great screen, longer life battery and all the ports I need, save one. I wish it had a PCCARD. But, having an internal 802.11g port and Bluetooth builtin is very cool. My wife, a non-geek to the core, wishes her hp had an internal 802.11b port, as she has bumped the card a few times.

    All-in-all, the laptop does get warm, and I think people feel it a little more than other laptops because of the casing, but, I can touch the back of the LCD display without getting the "water effect".

    As the VP of R&D said in a presentation this week, "I said we would support apple over my dead thinkpad. We are about to support apple, and it is cool!".

  • by alanh ( 29068 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @11:06AM (#5270482) Homepage
    ...fonts look worse and more blurry as they do on most Linuxes *because* of this LCD and the lack of Clear Type...

    Mac OSX does sub-pixel font rendering (it even did this on an old clamshell iBook). This guy might need to change his font settings to actually do it though.
  • iBook on Steroids (Score:5, Insightful)

    by P. Niss ( 635300 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @11:10AM (#5270504)

    The new 12" Powerbook is nothing more but an iBook on steroids with a G4 in it.

    I understand that this isn't necessarily intended as a positive comment, but isn't this exactly what a lot of potential Apple laptop customers have wanted? I purchased an iBook right after the revision in May 2001, and replaced it with a 15" PowerBook G4 last fall. I've enjoyed having the better performance, particularly when running Virtual PC, but I miss the smaller form factor and more convenient portability of the iBook. To me, an "iBook on steroids" would have been just what I was looking for, and my understanding was that a lot of folks who loved the iBook but needed better performance felt similarly. I think the bottom line is that, if you approach this from the high end of wanting a PowerBook, just a little smaller, you risk disappointment, but if you approach it from the lower end of wanting an iBook, just with a little more oomph, you'll be fairly satisfied.

  • The new 12" Powerbook is nothing more but an iBook on steroids with a G4 in it

    Is this really a problem? I mean, this is exactly what I, personally, want from my next laptop. I know the bigger, faster PBooks are sexier, but I want a small notebook with decent battery time that I can haul to the coffee shop for some light hacking.

    I use my girlfriend's iBook for this sometimes, and it is more than sufficient.

    My only point (to stay on topic) is that Apple is offering a pretty wide range of products to choose from. A "G4 iBook" is really all that I would need.

  • by NaugaHunter ( 639364 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @11:31AM (#5270629)
    {Only the Combo Drive comparison makes sense, and I'm only trying to list differences.}
    12" Powerbook
    867MHz G4
    256K L2 cache
    133MHz Bus
    40GB Ultra ATA/100
    NVIDIA GeForce4 420 (32MB DDR)
    -- Dual Display & Video Mirroring Airport Extreme Ready
    Bluetooth Built-in

    12.1" iBook
    800 MHz G3
    512K L2 cache
    100Mhz Bus
    30GB Ultra ATA Drive
    ATI Radeon 7500 (32MB)
    -- Video Airport Ready

    So the $500 extra upfront gets a faster processor, more RAM, larger & possibly faster HD, possibly faster video card with dual display ability, Airport Extreme ready, and built in Bluetooth.

    Conclusion: there are differences. The question for prospective buyers is would they use the differences. For the record, upgrading the iBook memory to 256 is $50 and the hard drive to 40GB is $100, so the price difference for the other differences is $350.

    On a side note, I personally want the SuperDrive, which isn't available on an iBook (most likely a G4 is required).
  • Hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rogs ( 625889 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @11:33AM (#5270655)
    OK, I've had mine for 10 days, the SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW) version with 640MB and the Airport Extreme (802.11g) card and base station.

    As for the heat, it's definitely not "among the hottest around" as the OSNews article claims - for one it's a lot less hot than the older TiBooks IMHO. He says he suspects his lower RAM configuration could be to blame. I suspect his suspicion is right - 256MB just isn't realistic for OS X. Furthermore, it's hard to hear (or even feel) the drive spin, so VM activity can easily go unnoticed.

    I don't agree with his criticism of the display either. Admittedly I'm not too picky in this area, but I just don't see this supposedly outrageous difference in quality between my 17" Apple Studio Display and the PowerBook's display. Besides, it's hard to buy into the disappointment, since all it takes is a quick trip to the store to check it out (at least for people who don't buy computers just to review them ;-)

    The rest of the criticism goes right at the price differentiation variables: "maxes out at 640MB", "no L3 cache", "not a 1GHz processor", "screen is only 12"" etc etc... Well guess what, that's why it's the $1799 model instead of the $3299 model... that's half as much plus $150. The better comparison is between the older $2299-$2799 TiBook inventory that Apple still officially carries and the 12". Would you rather have:

    - A 15.2" screen, DVI connector, and Titanium enclosure, or

    - A later gen with a faster bus, DDR RAM, Bluetooth, 802.11g compatibility, and $500 in your pocket

  • Is anyone out there using these (Xserve)?

  • It's bundled with the iBook but not the TiBook; which makes the purchase of the $200 Microsoft Office.X pretty much mandatory. I know you can buy AppleWorks for $79, but once you've committed to spend that much, the extra $121 for the larger package seems a better investment.

    Which seems a shame; from what I can tell, AppleWorks seems pretty full featured [], a good way to avoid paying "the Microsoft tax." (They even offer a cross-platform version that runs under both Mac OS and Windows, but only for educational customers [].)
  • Reviewers too anal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Phoenix666 ( 184391 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @12:06PM (#5270919)
    I looked at it at the Apple store in SoHo this weekend, and it's a sweet little machine. Light, bright, nimble. Pulled up a terminal and wrote little perl scripts for twenty minutes. Completely forgot there was a candy-apple GUI grafted onto the ass of the BSD kernel.

    Makes me sad for the lives the reviewers must lead that they can't be happy with the 12" powerbook. You know, the kind of people who let their whole day be ruined because the color of one of their cocoa puffs was off by a shade. For Pete's sake, they could, **horror** of horrors, be saddled with an IBM thinkpad!

    Think on that, and wonder.
  • by jtdubs ( 61885 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @12:56PM (#5271305)
    Low-end laptop from company is lower-end than the high-end models!


    People with over-priced processors running at insane speeds trying to justify purchases by mocking those will lower-clocked but still completely sufficient processors!


    Big Bear: He's iron tough. Big Bear: He don't take no guff. He's BIG BEAR.

    Justin Dubs
  • My thoughts... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by singularity ( 2031 ) <> on Monday February 10, 2003 @02:20PM (#5272059) Homepage Journal
    I posted a journal article [] about the "AlBook as a pimped out iBook" idea when they first come out. Some thoughts:

    My first reaction when hearing about the new 12 ince PowerBook is the effects that would have on high-end iBooks. Some Slashdot comments were dead on the money with their question.

    Then I read the specs. I have been looking for a computer to replace my aging PowerBook Duo 2300c. I want something small and useful. I have a full desktop that I will be using 90% of the time, the laptop would be a stop-gap between times when the Clie 665C is too little and moving my desktop is way too much. The laptop would supplement the desktop, and not come close to replacing it.

    I do quite a bit of flying, so a DVD player was a requirement. Size was also an issue. I would rather have a smaller laptop that I can bring more places.

    I had been seriously looking at the iBooks, mostly around the middle of the line. The size advantage they had on the full PowerBooks was nice, as was the price. In the end, with DVD player and an Airport card, I was looking at spending about $1500 on the iBook. I decided that when I got the money together, I would buy one.

    I am glad I waited. The features that the new 12 inch PowerBook has over the iBook is enough that I want to get it instead. The size difference is also very nice.

    What does this mean? This means that I am going to be buying on the the smaller PowerBooks (at a cost of about $2000) instead of the $1500 iBook. So Apple ends up with about $500 more of my money - money I am glad to give them because of the new product.

    I know in Japan and in a lot of fields there is a large demand for smaller sub-notebooks. I think that the 12 inch PowerBook fills that nicely. I think that Apple will have a hit on their hand, even more so than the 17 inch model.

    I do have to say that the price-drops on the 14 inch iBooks are nice, as well, and make them all the more tempting.

    Ahh, the joys of having too many choices. Apple is doing well, I think.

    Since that time a student of mine showed me his new 12" AlBook. I only held it for a minute - any longer and I fear that I would just run off with it. The form factor is perfect, the weight is perfect. It is a wonderful machine.

    My conclusion? Who cares if it could be described as n iBook on steroids? It is a wonderful second computer to compliment (not replace) a full dektop machine. []
  • by Lxy ( 80823 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @03:57PM (#5272936) Journal
    Page 3 of second article:

    * Max of only 640 RAM

    What's he complaining about? 640MB ought to be enough for anyone!
  • Bah. (Score:4, Informative)

    by rit ( 64731 ) <> on Monday February 10, 2003 @06:55PM (#5274885) Homepage
    I got my 12" PowerBook last Monday. Having had it now for a week I have to say this is simply the finest piece of hardware I have ever owned.

    Granted, it's probably not as cool as a 17", not as fast as the 15", etc.

    But it fits in my backpack and doesn't weigh a brick. With the leather notebook (pen and paper) and a hardcover book in my backpack, the 12" makes no difference in weight.

    Having upgraded from an old Dell Inspiron 5000, this is key. My fucking Dell is a brick.

    The issues on the LCD I can't agree with. The first thing I noticed, and everyone in my office remarked on was the spectacular clarity of the display. If this is Apple's low-end, cheap display, I'd kill for a high-end one. The clarity and crispness of display is better than any other I've seen. It is at least as good as the two 19" Trinitron CRTs on my desk here.

    The font issue? I don't see it. I'm new to OS-X but the first thing I did when playing in the settings was find, in System Preferences, General, an option for font smoothing. There was a setting marked 'Medium - best for Flat Panel' which really improved the clarity of text on the screen.

    Heat is a bit of an issue but I've found it's mostly if the machine doesn't have sufficient airflow. Sitting on a thick wooden desk, my PB heats up rather fast. Sitting on my lap on the couch it seems to stay fairly cool. As for being 'fanless' as I believe was mentioned, I could swear a few times when the machine got real hot on my desk that I heard a fan kick in and start blowing air to cool it down. There was no CD in the drive so I can't think of what else would spin up like that.

    Overall, this is a great machine. While it may not compare to other higher end APPLE boxes, it is simply light years beyond any PC laptop I've handled recently. And it is the most meticulously, beautifully engineered pieces of hardware I've ever had.

    And being completely uncreative the last week or so, I have yet to come up with a better name than MiniMe. Check it out at:

IN MY OPINION anyone interested in improving himself should not rule out becoming pure energy. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.