I read this article comparing Apple’s iBook and PowerBook lines earlier today, but I didn’t bother commenting on it. However, Chris Clark’s rebuttal inspired me. Chris points out that the Orlando Sentinel article is comparing apples to, well, grapefruit. I agree with many of his points, but I’m looking at it from the opposite end of the spectrum. I chose the 12″ iBook (well, as a present from my boyfriend for Christmas) for its affordability. However, that does not mean that I won’t gladly buy a PowerBook (15 inches, baby!) when I can afford to.
First, my reasons for choosing the iBook that I did. Yes, I picked the lowest end model. Mostly because I had decided on an iBook due to cost factors, and the 12″ model is more favorable for my needs. Sure, you can’t get the 1Ghz G4 that the 14″ boasts, but given that the 14″ is a pound heavier and even with a bigger screen, offers no more pixels, I feel that I can forgo the extra boost of power for now. Portability was more important. If the 14″ offered a higher resolution than the 12″, I might have gone for that, but it doesn’t. For that matter, I’m not all that entranced by the 12″ PowerBook for the same reason, an area in which I disagree with Chris’s summary. While taking the lower cost model, I did get the largest hard drive available, added Bluetooth and Airport, and maxed out the RAM. The result is a machine that’s speedy enough and offers plenty of nifty benefits. (Syncing my Palm Tungsten T wirelessly, for one.)
Overall, it is the built-in hardware that is going to make the difference. PowerBooks have faster processors, more L2 cache, more available RAM expansion, better video cards, SuperDrive capabilities, and lighter hardware. These are not options that can be added to an iBook. Things like Bluetooth and hard drive space are less notable to me, because with a bump to a Build-to-Order iBook, you can get them. It is the former PowerBook advantages that make me ultimately want to buy one, though. While I own an iBook now, that does not mean I have my sights set higher in the future, because I would certainly love to have the extras to play with.
What the new iBook G4 means to me is that I can have a Mac now, without feeling like I’m missing the party. iBooks are no longer relegated to a backwater with G3 processors and no optical writing drives. It’s the kid sitting at the adult table. Lots of fun now, but still more to reach for. I love my iBook, and I will treasure it as long as I have it, but I still look forward to the day when a PowerBook will be mine.