Tangerine Fusion

Why I Chose iMac Over iBook

- 1999.11.24

The iBook is the number-one selling notebook, and it has helped push Apple's notebook market share to 11%. The new iMac is the evolutionary and ridiculously popular redesigned version of the revolutionary and ridiculously popular iMac. Why would Paulo Rodrigues (that's me!) choose the Tangerine iMac DV over the Tangerine iBook?

I would have carried the iBook around. I like the quality of TFT screens better than that of shadow-mask CRT displays.

The iBook, as cool as it is, didn't meet my specialized needs. I wanted a speedy system with a smooth keyboard and a foolproof pointing device. It would have to be a capable word processor, a speedy web surfer, and, during free time, a top-notch gaming machine with a clear and relatively loud sound system for playing CDs.

The iMac fits that entire description (yes, I am one of the chosen few who likes the Apple USB Mouse). The iBook, however, does not.

The iBook is the slowest computer in Apple's line. Yes the speed was shaved for heat and battery life reasons, but I want a computer that will remain speedy enough to stay competitively fast in the near future.

iMac DV 1, iBook 0

The Apple USB keyboard has ultra-smooth and quiet keys, with detents that seem just right. The iBook's integrated keyboard, like the Bronze PB G3's it's based on, seems rickety in comparison, and the keys seem oversized, making you stretch your fingers (and my hands are not small). Compared to PC laptops, it is great, but it seems Apple should have engineered it with desktop keyboards in mind.

iMac DV 2, iBook 0

The Apple USB Mouse is now less easily turned sideways, thanks to a dimple in the button; however, as much as I like the design, speaking on behalf of the average iMac user, it is not as user friendly as it should be. The iBook trackpad is easy to use and clean, but the surface feels uncomfortably grainy, and it is easy to bump. I'll call this a tie.

iMac DV 3, iBook 1

Both computers come with AppleWorks 5 and support numerous other word processing programs which operate similarly on either system.

iMac DV 4, iBook 2

Although they both have a 56k modem and 10/100 ethernet, the iMac excels because it has a faster processor and data bus, and more standard memory for those big graphics-, Javascript- and Java-filled websites. However, although both support AirPort wireless networking, the iBook uses it to its full advantage, since it is a portable in the first place (try surfing the Net out in the backyard on an AirPort equipped iMac - it's ridiculously inconvenient).

iMac DV 5, iBook 3

The iMac uses the ATI RAGE 128 VR in a 2x (133MHz) AGP slot, while the iBook uses the ATI RAGE Mobility (64 bit) in a 2x AGP slot. Because the 128 is about twice as fast as the Mobility, the iMac beats the iBook in graphics (and thus gaming as well).

iMac DV 6, iBook 3

The iMac DV uses the Harmon/Kardon Odyssey sound system (see Listen To The iMac). The iBook uses a single conventional notebook speaker. If you assumed the iMac sounds better, you're right. Also the iBook doesn't support the iSub, an optional subwoofer, so you'll have to buy a non-design-coordinated third-party speaker system to improve bass response.

The final score is: iMac DV 7, iBook 3

And that is why I bought a Tangerine iMac DV. Now you millions of fans can finally stop worrying. ;-)

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