The 'Book Page

iBook as Your First Mac

July 30, 1999 - Dan Knight - Tip Jar

One-third of iMac owners bought the iMac as their first computer.

For those of us who have been computing nearly forever (I got started in 1979), it's weird to think that some people don't even have their first computer yet. But it's true - a lot of people have yet to take the personal computing plunge.

Back in the 1970s, Kodak discovered that a lot of people didn't carry their cameras because they were too bulky, so they invented the Pocket Instamatic. Those 110 cartridges remain with us today, and a generation has grown up with compact, easily transported cameras.

The same market exists in computing, a market Palm practically owns. But the Palm is a supplementary computer. If you don't already have a computer, you probably wouldn't be interested in buying a Palm.

For those who don't yet own computers and demand portability, the iBook is very price- and feature-competitive with value-priced Windows laptops (see The Price Is Right).

Better yet, the iBook is more rugged than other budget laptops, is friendlier (it even smiles when you turn it on), and offers the Pentium-toasting G3 processor.

You can even pick your color scheme, something unavailable (as far as I know) with any other portable computer.

For the first-time buyer, the iBook offers all the features of the iMac, but in a portable package. The extra $400 buys 6 hours of battery life in a computer that readily travels between home, workplace, school, library, and hotel room.

If you don't already own a computer, the iBook definitely merits consideration. It's fast, rugged, easy to use, and likely to stay with you for years. (Really. Ask most Mac owners how many years they keep using their older Macs. Then ask Windows users the same thing. You'll probably find Mac users keep their computers about twice as long before replacing them, which makes the cost of ownership per year lower than for Windows computers.)

But don't take my word for it. When your local Apple dealer, Sears, and CompUSA have the iBook in September, stop by and look it over. I think you'll find the balance of features make it a wonderful first computer - and a good value, as well.

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