Will you purchase a Powerbook now?

in General Discussion edited January 2014
Preamble: All that follows is written through the eyes of an IBM user since his first PCjr. in 1983.

I have been watching the Powerbook since the TiBook came out, through all of its changes. In its current state of technology, I will not purchase one.

After a year of saving as much as I can on a barely-post-college teacher's salary, I recently made my mark: $3500. This is $3500 set to be spent on a notebook computer of some sort, and Apple has begun to disappoint me. What with the problem of the fan being on constantly and the obvious dysfunction of OS X being slower than OS 9 (why would anyone in their right mind make an upgrade to an operating system less efficient than a previous version & then try to explain these deficiencies by claiming to have "more power" in other areas?) there is nothing to draw me into Apple anymore.

I sent a hand-written letter to Apple recently explaining my on-the-fence status with regards to Windows vs. Mac and my inevitable & impending purchase of a laptop. Two months after 2 pages of carefully crafted verbiage was sent in the mail, I received a crappy _form_ board-room-constructed letter in the mail explaining the advantages of Macintosh over Windows, in very idiot-friendly, meatless terms. I am no computer illiterate, and this quite honestly offended me. It was propaganda. I did not ask for propaganda. I asked to engage in an intelligent discussion with a company ambassador regarding Apple Computers. Here I am presenting Apple with very specific reasons for feeling trepidation at venturing into MacWorld, and they can't take the time to politely ask for my $3500 or at least personally tell me that my money will be in good hands.

I would love to root for the underdog here, which is probably my unconscious reason for wanting to buy Apple. But if the underdog is resorting to the same impersonal methods that made me want to do my part to send Bill Gates' ass on the street, then I'll reconsider the whole thing and probably resort to quill-and-ink for my creative pursuits.

Anyone feel like tagging on here?

-- PEte


  • Reply 1 of 30
    OS X may seem a tad slower than OS 9 - on all Macs - but in my experience, there's nothing disappointing about running OS X on a Ti PowerBook. It's simply gorgeous and I mean that not only in a literal sense. Performance obviously depends on the kind of things you do, but for "normal" usage I say OS X is fine on any current PowerBook.
  • Reply 2 of 30
    I second that.

    Sure, menu building, etc. in OS X might be a little slow. But I rarely use them. X gives me power I never knew I needed. I can crunch RC5, listen to MP3s, program Java in emacs, surf the web, talk on aim (with an awsome client, Adium), and run a web, ftp, and ssh servers.

    I crashed twice a day with OS 9. I've been using X since 10.1 came out. I can count on one hand the number of times I've needed to restart my computer. No kernel panics, either. Certainly this has more than made up for the few seconds I've waited while the Recent Items menu built.

    And thanks to OS X, I don't have to buy a PC for my CompSci classes.
  • Reply 3 of 30
    PEte, you are absolutely right. I am holding back my purchase of TiBook for the same reason as you. Apple treats us like idiots, since some of us willing to pay the big price in return to get the slooooow OSX!
  • Reply 4 of 30
    msleemslee Posts: 143member
    Hi there. I got the original 400 MHz Powerbook G4, and now I've got a combo 550. I wouldn't say this computer is slow when running X at all. The only time it slows a bit is when I'm ripping a CD. I've just finished making a brochure with Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop (Classic, ew)...and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised to find that the speed of both native-X programs was acceptable. If I were doing this full time, I obviously would have a desktop with loads more MHz and I think all issues would evaporate. You have to imagine that the PowerBook was not designed to be a desktop replacement...its not in Apple's mentality. Its meant to enhance productivity on the road...and for that it succeeds in spades. Being able to bust out the PowerBook at the prepress shop and tweak my design was fabulous and a great experience as was web design on an airplane flight. For these activities, you'd probably won't be doing anything taxing for more than a few hours...a small period of time where you probably won't notice the speed difference between 9 and X. If you really need the speed and are doing lots of advanced work, my recommedation is to just get an iBook and an iMac/PowerMac.
  • Reply 5 of 30
    Every software upgrade requires a level of hardware. Do you really think OS 9 would run well on a Macintosh Plus? Or how about Windows XP on a 486. Oh, and we have to boot them both from floppy disks and use less than 1 MB of ram.

    Every software upgrade requires more power than the last to run at the same speed (well, there are a few that actually increase speed). The added features of OS X have proven worth it to most of the people I've talked to and it is winning over even more people.
  • Reply 6 of 30
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Sorry, I don't have much sympathy. You sent a handwritten letter to a multi-billion dollar company and expected what? What kind of response would you have liked? It doesn't sound like there's much of anything they could have told you that would have helped. They have tons of info on their web site, and sales people all over the country in their stores and many CompUSAs. That would be a better route than one guy sending a letter to Apple looking for a dialog about Macs vs. PCs.

    What exactly do you want to know that you can't find out? It's just not clear what your question or complaint is. In general, people who use Macs believe the hardware is more elegant and the software provides a better user experience.

    The TiBook has been one of the best-reviewed laptops ever, by all sources, including Mac and PC reviewers. It's a great machine - big screen, nice Radeon AGP 4X, combo DVD/CDRW drive, beautiful and thin case. And are there any PC laptops with fans that stay off at all?

    If you're looking for an upgrade, there will probably be an upgrade to an Apollo 800Mhz (PPC 7445) chip within the next few months. Maybe not by Spring, but Summer.

    OS X's menu drawing and window resizing is slower than 9's. But as far as I can tell, the slowness complaints have gone away ever since this September with 10.1, certainly on newer machines like the TiBook. Have you used X on a TiBook? It's all subjective, but I don't think most people will say "X is slow" when they use it on any computer Apple is selling today.
  • Reply 7 of 30
    No, I won't purchase a Powerbook now. It's screen resolution is not at a level that satisfieds me.

    That being said, I'm definitely not going to by a Windows based machine. I would take a current Powerbook any day over any Windows machine, no questions asked. The functionality of the Mac OS (9 or X) is that valuable to me.

    So no, I won't purchase a Powerbook now, but that is because I have the luxury of time. If I needed a computer now, I wouldn't hesitate to buy a TiBook.

    - Pook
  • Reply 8 of 30
    serranoserrano Posts: 1,806member
    [quote]Originally posted by CoolHandPete:

    <strong>I sent a hand-written letter to Apple recently explaining my on-the-fence status with regards to Windows vs. Mac and my inevitable & impending purchase of a laptop. Two months after 2 pages of carefully crafted verbiage was sent in the mail, I received a crappy _form_ board-room-constructed letter in the mail explaining the advantages of Macintosh over Windows, in very idiot-friendly, meatless terms. I am no computer illiterate, and this quite honestly offended me. It was propaganda. I did not ask for propaganda. I asked to engage in an intelligent discussion with a company ambassador regarding Apple Computers. Here I am presenting Apple with very specific reasons for feeling trepidation at venturing into MacWorld, and they can't take the time to politely ask for my $3500 or at least personally tell me that my money will be in good hands.</strong><hr></blockquote>

    eh... you're freakin me out, apple ambassador? hand-written? you expected a serious response? i'm pretty sure they were busy running a company... companies are ass backwards nowadays with customer support- the god damn mayor of shittown will respond in a form...

    os x- less efficency? i don't follow. how can things you can't even do in 9 be less efficient in X? speed is an issue, but hardly one even on my ancient g3 450... granted i wouldnt pay money for a computer that would have the same issues, such as an ibook, but i've played with the Ti's- speed is not an issue.

    efficiency = stability, YMMV

    if i know when i tax my system* it's not gunna die, sign me up. (student discount on os x doesn't hurt either )

    apparently in os 9 taxing my system is playing mp3's while using internet explorer
  • Reply 9 of 30
    Let me ask what others have as well. Have you actually USED one of these puppies? I was JUST at Comp USA using one with 256 megs of ram, 667 mhz, and it kills, I mean KILLS my 450 iMac (384 megs/ram etc). I even compared it to the single 800 powermac, and while it seemed slower, it still seemed speedy. OSX IS slower than nine, but that is runing only one application at a time, maybe 2. I currently have CPU monitor, iTunes, Mail, IE (with at least 12 windows), Apache with PHP and CGI support, fire, AND virtual pc, and it is still running great. Anywhere near this many apps on os9 with the same amount of ram (384), it crashes. Remember this is a NEW os. That means it WILL run a tad bit slower, especially considering that it is switching kernels, and is pretty much written from the ground up. Remember the speed increase to OS 10.1? They will continue to improve the speed, along with the OS. Maybe you would do better to get a new iMac with a low end iBook? Also, in response to the letter thing, I find it pretty funny anyone would expect even ANYTHING back from a company of the size of Apple....

    [ 02-13-2002: Message edited by: Jeremiah Rich ]</p>
  • Reply 10 of 30
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    The waiting game sucks. Don't wait for a product that may or may not be coming out unless you can 'afford' it. I don't think we'll see an upgrade to the PowerBook until MacWorld NY or later. Why wait?

    Circuit City was clearing out 667 MHz/256 MB/DVD-ROM PowerBook G4s for $2199 a little over a week ago. They're all gone now, apparently. Maybe you can check up on the prices.

    Smalldog has some great prices on the earlier revs of the PowerBooks here:

    <a href="http://www.smalldog.com/category/X/X/Powerbooks+Ibooks/G3+Powerbook/G4+Powerbook/Powerbook+Acc/wag102/wag10002/"; target="_blank">http://www.smalldog.com/category/X/X/Powerbooks+Ibooks/G3+Powerbook/G4+Powerbook/Powerbook+Acc/wag102/wag10002/</a>;
  • Reply 11 of 30
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    I would not now spend 3500 US on a machine that will not in all likelyhood provide a truly responsive OSX performance. There aren't any noticeable speed bumps to be had from optimization on the OS side, except for maybe some better OpenGl support soon. It may not seem like anything now because it'll still have that new toy sheen, but in a few months all those extra half seconds it takes to launch this or that will add up to mucho annoyance considering what you'd have spent. It probably munches through tasks just fine, but there remains a hint of annoying lag that won't be fully irradicated without another speed bump. Of course this waiting is dangerous territory because something faster is always on the horizon. Normally, I wouldn't advise someone who needs a machine to wait, but this is more an issue of OSX user experience, for the price of a PB, response ought to be instantaneous. It isn't. Wait. Or buy an iBook, which is at least cheap.

    As to the letter, that's just a little weird.
  • Reply 12 of 30
    Sorry to do this mate, but are you fvcking serious?? Try contacting Dell and see what response you get. I think the response you got from Apple was to make to make a point. Consider yourself privelidged (sp?) to get anything from a massive company like Apple. It's not that they think that your $$ aren't welcome, but that's what the Apple channel is there for....go and see an Apple retailer and talk to someone about it. They will confirm why it is sooooo much better on these machines. My God, if you haven't figured it out by now mate, go and have a play on the Fisher-Price joke of an OS at a PC retailer. Either that, or get someone to crack you over the head with a TiBook to see if any sense can be administered.

    Yes, OS X is not as snappy as 9, but when you look at the fact that Apple has written it's OS from the ground up, what did you expect?? This OS has so much room to move and grow, it's gonna make those Windows goons cringe at their own product in the years to come, while they add anothe r layer of GUI crap, trash and bugs to a DOS base.

    Look at this as a small step back before you start jumping in leaps and bounds. People are already talking about crash-free operation for months on end using X. Go and ask a Winblows when the last time they had to restart......hmmm. I think you are starting to let the masses of sheep get to you a little and have lost sight of what is in front of you.

    I'm not an Apple sheep, I just use what I see is the most intelligent choice in computing today. I say we need to let this guy understand why he's a member of this website, and not lose sight of why you use Apple in the first place.

    <img src="graemlins/smokin.gif" border="0" alt="[Chilling]" />
  • Reply 13 of 30
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    3500 is still a lot of money for a machine that is a touch unresponsive. A boat load of RAM and the faster 5400rpm drives could make a difference but any way you slice it the thing *feels* a touch slow. Reports on the net say that it crunches through photo and video work just fine, and I don't doubt that once things are open it works as well as any laptop, but the user/interface experience suffers and the only way around it is a faster machine. OSX won't get much faster now. It'll get smoother, loose some quirks, add some sought after features, improve certain elements, but, while the GUI you got looks beautiful, it ain't getting any faster (barring an upcoming OpenGL boost). While this is indeed a small step back before you start jumping in leaps and bounds, your Ti667 is going to be doing much if any jumping. Faster machines will provide the bulk of OSX enhancement from now on, you need to consider that if this is going to be a machine that stretches your finances. Think about whether you really need a pro laptop right now. Lots of things that aren't acceptable on a $3500 machine are more than fair on one that costs half as much.

    Consider the iMac LCD or a 800-933 powermac if you don't really need portability. The iMac while probably only moderately faster costs a lot less and has a superdrive (though you give up dual display and portability which may be more useful) Still can't ignore the savings, I think.

    However, I think you should not ever buy a machine BEFORE you absolutely need it. If you've been using a computer set up till now, you can probably keep on using it (unless your needs have changed dramatically). What do you teach? If you need it for work, you may as well wait untill late summer (this year is 75% done anyway) I'm sure your school provides computing services.

    If you need it for your own personal side projects you won't (probably) really be able to get into them untill the school year ends, so wait till then at least. No point spending money before you need to.
  • Reply 14 of 30
    The iBook is still not to be sniffed at - they're pretty zippy and great fun to use, as well as being pretty light for a full-featured laptop.

    Regarding OS X's slowness - I agree, the interface is slow. However, the actual workings are pretty nippy - certainly no slower than 9. For example, I usually have iTunes (and often Monica and IE5 as well) running in the background on my pretty ancient iMac; I never get any MP3 skips, even when starting up another application. The share-and share alike multitasking means that all of your apps will get some cycles when they need them, which is part of the reason the interface isn't al that quick.
  • Reply 15 of 30

    A letter sent to a multinational, multibillion dollar company might get responded to by someone who really makes an effort, but chances are, there's a form letter available and most employees are going to pop that in the post to you as a first attempt. They don't mean any offence, it's just the way a company with thousands of employees has to work.

    If you'd really like some answers, I suggest you go to an Apple Store, pull up a chair at the Genius Bar, grab a bottle of Evian and chat with the well informed and enthusiastic GeniusBartenders. They'll be able to answer your questions and concerns - even demonstrate right in front of you in a personable and friendly fashion.

    Even if you don't have an Apple Store right near you, it's worth the trip - especially if you're trying to figure out the best way to spend $3,500.00. I travelled an hour and a half to see my nearest one and it was great.
  • Reply 16 of 30
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Pete -

    Have you ever, in your 16+ years of IBM patronage, tried writing to IBM? If so, what happened?

    It sounds like you have never actually sat down and used a PowerBook. I'd suggest that you hie thee to an Apple reseller with a knowledgeable staff and do that before coming to any conclusions about whether it's right for you. I figure that it's selling like hotcakes for a reason, but if you're going to spend $3500 you might as well kick the tires first.

    OS X is slower than OS 9 at some things - notably drawing GUI elements, which is not surprising since it's doing a lot more work than OS 9 is - and faster at others - notably virtual memory and the filesystem. Its multitasking and stability leave OS 9 in the dust, and both of those are major productivity enhancers. It can easily do things that were impossible under OS 9, as other posters have outlined. And if the current performance seems a bit sluggish to you (it runs smoothly on my 450MHz Cube), it's not necessarily stuck that way. According to some developers who have peered into the guts of the OS and worked with Apple engineers, there's room for another performance boost on the order of 10.0 -&gt; 10.1, if Apple chooses to go through another round of optimizations (which they probably will).

    Imagine never quitting apps, never shutting down, never booting up, never restarting - unless you really needed to (some installations still require restarts). Thanks to the system stability and the smooth multitasking, all your apps can always be running, so access to any of them is effectively instantaneous. Sleeping and waking are almost instantaneous, so you can put your TiBook to sleep, and when you want to use it, just open it up: By the time you have the lid opened fully, it's ready to be used. Close it, and the 'book goes right to sleep (this works for iBooks as well).

    But I have a hunch that none of this is going to go very far toward convincing you, so I can only repeat my recommendation that you sit down in front of a [T]iBook and see for yourself.

    If I had $3500 burning a hole in my pocket, I wouldn't hesitate to buy one.

    That said, I'm moving this to General Discussion.

    [ 02-13-2002: Message edited by: Amorph ]</p>
  • Reply 17 of 30
    I don't want to pile on, Pete, but I'd suggest that if you made a list of the 20 biggest PC manufacturers, and wrote each of them the same kind of letter you wrote Apple, you would receive maybe 2-3 responses at most, and those would be of exactly the same sort as what you got from Apple.

    You have questions or reservations about buying a certain brand of equipment, computer or otherwise, so you write a personal letter to the corporate office of a huge, multi-billion dollar company and expect someone to hand-hold you through the buying process? I know your intentions were in the right place, but I think you would have been better served calling an Apple store, or another Apple authorized retailer. I know that if you walked into (or called) one of our local shops like The Computer Store, or PowerMax, and asked your questions, you'd get a very satisfactory answer to all your questions.

    The problem isn't with Apple being an unresponsive company, it's just that you directed your questions to the wrong place.
  • Reply 18 of 30
    My 500 MHz G3 iBook runs OS X fine. As soon as the PowerBook is 800 MHz or faster I shall buy one as I'm beginning to need one.
  • Reply 19 of 30
    OSX is the greatest thing that Apple has ever done. I can't believe the complaints the the mac faithless luddites express on this and other boards. If you don't like OSX, by all means stay with OS 9 forever, If you can't appriaciate what OSX is all about.

    The naysayers whine about the speed but this is a petty problem that has been pretty well addressed by 10.1 and will be gone by 10.2. Productivity gains and the stability alone make up for the microsecond screen delays of the Quartz layer over the crash prone OS 9.

    OSX is the future and will bring many wonderous things (like iPhoto) to the platform, for those that don't like it there is always the past to live in, and OS 9 is in the box with it.
  • Reply 20 of 30
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    I don't think OSX is bad or too slow. But it is a tad unresponsive. In exchange for the other benefits I can live with a little unresponsiveness. That is, I can live with it at an iBook or iMac price. For the Price of a 667 I can't. I don't think anyone can justly say that OSX is way off the mark, it is arguably the best OS out there for any platform. But it does need just that touch of oomph that an expensive system should provide. 667 is right on that edge where just a little more speed would remove any complaints about responsiveness.

    I think for those who are using OS9, and especially those who use photoshop, they should continue to use OS9 on the machines they have at the moment. In the next 6-12 months OSX will finally get portable hardware that is up to the task in every respect. It's close now, certainly ready enough to use, but some will demand a little more for their money. Those need to wait. It's all they can do.
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