Tangerine Fusion

Will the iBook Outsell the iMac?

- 1999.08.10

Will the iBook outsell the iMac?

WELL...

The iBook costs US$400 more - 33% more than the iMac. Even though the booming U.S. economy has increased consumer spending, such an increase could not only mean someone who earlier could afford an iMac can now afford an iBook, it could also mean someone who couldn't afford an iMac can now afford one but still can't afford an iBook.

BUT...

The iBook is more appropriate for college students. They can take it out of the dorm or apartment (where an iMac would reside) and into classes, student commons, other apartments/dorms, back home for spring break, etc.

BUT...

The iBook isn't as well suited for hard-core gamers, graphic designers, photo editors, or sound recorders/editors. For 300 MHz G3 and full RAGE Mobility performance for games, you have to turn off many of the energy-saving features, cutting battery time to much less than 6 hours. The iBook screen's viewable size is 1.7 inches smaller than the iMac's (gamers almost always go by "bigger is better") and doesn't support the 1024 x 768 resolution the iMac does, but it can scale down to 640 x 480 to run Virtual Game Station and others that require that resolution. The 12.1 inch LCD iBook screen cannot be used for tasks that need color accuracy, like what a graphic designer or photo editor needs, since the hues of an LCD screen shift every time you move your head. And it is a poor choice for someone who records or edits sound since it lacks a sound-input port, microphone, or stereo speakers. In fact, it is the first Mac since the IIsi (introduced October 1990) to lack the built-in ability to record sound. External stereo speakers are an option since the iBook has a sound-output port, and a USB sound-input adapter will likely become available, but these would be more cumbersome and the portability of the iBook would be diminished.

BUT...

The iBook can be carried and used almost anywhere: on the sofa, out in the backyard, 2000' above the sea, 2000' below the sea, etc. The iMac is sort of portable, too, with its handle, but a 38 pound portable is not too fun to carry about - you have to have a power source, and you must also to carry the keyboard and mouse.

So it seems that the pros and cons of iBook design functionality even out, and I expect the iMac and iBook relative sales numbers to be about the same.

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