21 January 2005

Apple lust

I have recently become rather distracted by Apple lust.  That is,
I’d like to get a new computer and I’m ready to go back to Mac. 
All the signs are there: open source and the UNIX core
have made Macs
amenable to the stuff I want to do that I couldn’t a few years back on
a Mac (stats work and such), the interface and the design are so much
prettier and nicer than my Windows box, they just don’t crash, I want
to be able to use some stuff that you can’t get in Windows (NetNewsWire
and iLife especially), and they’re light and slim.  And the new OS
X Tiger comes out soon.  Also, loathe to admit it as I am, the new
Office 2004 for Mac has some sweet features, including the Notebook.

I’ve had my eye on the 15″ G4 PowerBook with the SuperDrive.  But
does anyone know enough about the relative merits of the 15″ vs. the
12″ PB with SuperDrive?  Would I be O.K. with the smaller
one?  Mostly, I’m concerned about going from the 15″ screen I’m on
now back down to a 12″…. But the slightly slower processor and some of the other pieces are also something to think about.

Unfortunately, I do not have $2000 right now (although I might have
some wiggle room in a couple of months).  So for the time being, I
will have to think adulterous thoughts in my heart.  Not quite idle desire, but something like it.

UPDATE:  I got some good suggestions in the comments.  I
should be a bit clearer that I intend to use any new computer to do
statistical work, using either Stata or R
It sounds like the
1.33GHz G4 on a 12″ (with SuperDrive) is adequate.  True? 
‘Cause I can get one with Apple Care (3 year extended warranty) for
$1750.  Or do you all think that the high-end iBook would do it?

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10 Responses to “Apple lust”

  1. scott Says:

    I have a 12-inch 1ghz PB and love it. Performance-wise, I’d say the current 12-inch and 15-inch PBs are about the same. But the 15-inch model supports a higher resolution, so if screen real estate is important to you, say for graphics apps, then it might make the best choice. But if you’re mainly going to be working with text and value portabilty, then I’d recommend the 12-incher.

    Either way, it’s just as well you’re not ready to buy — rumor has it that the PBs will be upgraded within the next few weeks. Regardless of what you get, up the RAM — OS X loves it.

    Good luck!

  2. jbelkin Says:

    The actual rumor is that it might be out late spring or early summer (check the dates for Apple Developer’s conference, Macworld tokyo or Paris) so if you can hold out, it’s proably prudent to wait until then if you can hold out for another 6 months. Of course, if you want portability – at home, you can hook it up the new aple monitors – they are gorgeous!

  3. James Stewart Says:

    I have a 15″ w/ superdrive. I actually got it because Apple lost the 15″ TiBook I had previously when I sent it in for repair. When I bought that the 12″ wasn’t available. But if I had to start again I’d definitely go for 15″ simply for the extra screen size. 15″ works a lot better for me than my 12″ ibook used to.

  4. Keller Says:

    I’d note that an upgrade for Powerbooks (minor, more VRAM, bigger HDs, faster Processors, possibly a faster bus) should be out within a month.

    As jbelkin says the big update (either e600 or G5 processors) is probably in the fall.

    I’m using the current 12″ w/superdrive and I do wish for more screen space sometimes but other then that it is a fantastic laptop.

    If you can accept the res. of the 12″ then go for an iBook because they are functionally quite similar (diff. are (in PB favour) faster bus, mini-dvi, enclosure, better base HD, better graphics card (twice as much memory), way better keyboard. However fot the normal price difference I wouldn’t bother taking the 12″ PB over the 12″ iBook unless you need some of the features or the superdrive option. The 14″ iBook isn’t worth it when the 12″ PB is better for a similar price, and the screen res is the same.

    The 15″ Powerbook has a vastly better graphics card (and can be upgraded to 128 MB VRAM), firewire 800, gigabit ethernet, and a PC Card/CardBus slot for type I and II cards, and of course a higher res widescreen display.

    To sum up: 15″ w/superdrive if you can afford it, 12″ PB w/superdrive if you need the PBs features, 12″ iBook if you don’t need the superdrive or some of the other features.

  5. James Katt Says:

    Get the 15″, not the 12″ model.

    The 15″ is faster, can handle dual monitors better, has a much faster Firewire 800 interface for external drives, has much more screen space – which makes you more productive since you don’t have to scroll as much as with the 12-inch model. You can also have more memory, much faster internet, AND a PC Card slot for further expansion.

    It’s much better than the 12″ model for day to day use.

    The 12″ is better for less intensive uses, and is easier for travel. But the small screen is too limiting for me for doing work.

  6. miquelito Says:

    Nate: Hey there…just taking this as a chance to ask a question: I note that one of the things you’re now able to do on a Mac is stats work. I’m a long-time Mac user and a fairly new stats student, and one of the things I don’t like about the whole arrangement is having to use the Windows machines at school to run SAS. I’m planning to install Virtual PC on my machine to run it at home so that if I have to put up with Windows at least it’ll only be for brief flashes. Do you have a better suggestion?

  7. Janelle Says:

    Hey Nathan! I have a 15″ Powerbook. I don’t have the Superdrive. When I bought mine they had just started putting them into the TiBooks and the processor speed required made it just out of my price range. I decided that the screen size and increased RAM were more important to me at the time. I am still happy with my decision, although my next computer will surely have a Superdrive (and it WILL be an Apple). I am bilingual in computer and still really like the Apple computers best, but you knew that. Anyway, I think that a larger screen is easier to negotiate around and better because of being able to see more stuff overall. Good luck, the Apple fever is really hard to get over.

  8. James Says:

    I’m using one of the original 15″ TiBooks and have been for a few years now. When I upgrade, though, I’m actually going to move to one of the smaller machines, just because I want something that fits more comfortably on my lap.

    Whether you choose to go with 12″ or 15″ depends largely on what you want to do with your laptop. If you’re doing a lot a graphical stuff (Photoshop, Flash, etc.), I’d advice going with the larger screen, as you’ll just want to have that extra space for sorting out windows. From the look of your entry, though, it seems that you’ll be fine getting something smaller, as you don’t really need all that real estate to handle columns of text and/or numbers.

    Oh, and welcome back to the Apple family!

  9. James Says:

    Dang it! I mis-spelled “advise”! >:(

  10. J. Mark Bertrand Says:

    Chiming in late here, but I recently went from the 17 inch Powerbook down to the 12 inch. The reason was portability. Although the large screen was fantastic, I found myself leaving the laptop behind more and more. Getting used to the smaller screen wasn’t easy (though OS X’s Expose feature takes some of the sting out of it), but now I wouldn’t go back. The 15 inch is a good compromise, but if you can bear the smaller screen I say go for it.