by Steve Siercks, Jordan Streiff, & Chris Rogers
computer news with the teen perspective
Will The Real iBook Please Stand Up?
by Steve Siercks
September 21st, 2000
If you haven't heard by now (which is a task that is hard to accomplish if you are an avid reader of this site), Apple has introduced a new revision of the ever-so-popular consumer laptop, iBook. It has been just about a year and a half since the laptop first made its grand entrance into the computer world and, in my opinion, it was time for an update. But, is this new colorful laptop still worth buying or should you wait yet again for yet another revision? Lets see...
Before getting in to how much you should go out and buy this computer, lets start out with a general overview of the iBook. I think that iTeen's "mother-site," The Mac Observer, puts it best:
The base iBook, priced at an affordable US$1499, now has a 366 Mhz processor. The US$1799 iBook SE gets a speed bump to 466 MHz, and also gains a 6x DVD drive. Standard colors are Indigo for the base model, and Graphite for the SE. Both are also available in a new shade, Key Lime, exclusively through the Apple Store. Both models now have a FireWire port, a video out port, a 10 GB hard drive, and the ATI Rage Mobility 128 chipset with 8 MB of VRAM.
Put into teen terms, there is a blue, key-lime, and gray one. The blue ones are kinda fast, but lack the main ingredient: DVD. The gray (and also possibly orange) ones are faster than the blue ones and have that main ingredient. The only problem with the faster one is that its more expensive. Overall, this computer has got some great things going for it, but we still haven't answered the main question: Is it still worth it for a teen to buy the new iBooks? Let's get to that question right now by breaking it down into three categories: school, gaming, and everyday use.
Yeah, I know... Talking about this horrid thing is awful, but still, the iBook will help a lot for everyday school work. First of all, the new iBooks still sport the exact same frame and design as its older brother; It still has the incredibly rugged design and fold away handle that all students love. These two features really help because, despite how much we hate to admit it, teens are kinda clumsy. I know that I bang things up really easily and when you (or your parents) make a $1500 purchase, neither of you want you to mess it up in any way whatsoever. So, its rather nice to have that rugged, easy to carry feature added on to it for school. Second of all, its very compact and very light, making it easy fit it into most school bags and not even comparing to the weight of most school books. Also, since the iBook is really light and compact, you can fit it on your school desk to work with during class without having to worry about it falling off or not having enough room to have other papers out on your desk. Lastly, the iBook comes loaded with all the software a student would need to keep them out of trouble from school. Here is some of the software that comes loaded on every brand new iBook: AppleWorks 6 ( in my opinion the best word processor), QuickTime 4 (great for audio, video, and picture playback), Microsoft Internet Explorer (a good internet browser), iMovie 2 (incredible if you want to get an A+ on a future presentation), and finally Bugdom (just a fun thing to do when bored in class... Whoops... did i just say that?).
For all these reasons and more, the iBook is a very wise investment for school use. It is practical, durable, and just plain cool for most every student that loves working with macs and also looking cool. So, in this category, the lil' iBook gets a check plus (a plus because its just so darn cute).
I would first like to start this section by saying that I'm not the heaviest gamer in the world, for I am what is known as a "casual gamer." Luckily for me, that's all that iBook is intended to suffice. This computer is definitely not for the ultimate gamer for many reasons, but is also good for the casual gamer for many reasons. First of all, the processor speed is fast, but not as fast as most of the mid-class desktops. A serious gamer may have some lag on their current game, but they should not incur that big of one. For the casual gamer that doesn't really mind occasional lag, this processor speed is not that big of a deal. The second concern that some ultimate gamers might have is the packaged memory. Since Apple only sends 64 MB of memory with every iBook, some games may not be able to open properly. Most games run well with 64 MB, but some select ones may need more memory then that, and for that you would have to increase the memory to a suitable amount. Finally, the iBook speakers... well... SUCK. I cannot even say speakers plural because there is only one soul speaker to be found in the top left hand corner of the iBook. This is a major turn off to most gamers and I could have sworn that Apple would have fixed this problem by now. Since there is only one speaker, it is sometimes hard to hear important audio clips that a game may be giving the gamer. Again, just like the above two disadvantages, it shouldn't affect people like myself who do not play games on the computer that often.
So, in conclusion, the ultimate gamer may have a problem with the gaming aspect of the iBook, but the "casual gamer" shouldn't incur that many problems when playing an occasional game of packman, or the stocked version of Bugdom that ships with the computer. For this category, I have to give a check only to the casual gamer, but not to the ultimate gamer. If you are an ultimate gamer, I would suggest looking at Apples PowerBook line for some more serious gaming.
The last category that the iBook will be graded on is the day-to-day use of the computer, which is excellent. I cannot wait until I get my iBook because it will be so nice to basically have an iMac on the go, which fully describes the iBook. When flying on a crowded airplane, one could sit back, relax, and watch a nice DVD on the 6x DVD drive that comes stocked with the Special Edition iBook. When chilling at a friends house, one could surf the net using the internal 56k modem and Earthlink service that comes with the computer. When going on a long driving trip, one could play Bugdom or Nanosaur all the way there and would never get bored. Finally, when trying to do homework, one could easily type up an essay or create a presentation using the full-size keyboard and iMovie 2, both shipped with the iBook.
It is obvious that for everyday use the iBook works great. As I said before, I cannot wait until receiving my iBook so I can just chill out and show all my friends how I got the coolest laptop on the market today. So, obviously, the iBook scores a check plus in the category of everyday use.
Overall, the iBook is a great computer. It sports both functionality and design. I don't know many people that don't wish they had an iBook and beg their parents daily about getting one (or maybe that's just me! hehe...). If I were a student, casual gamer, and day-to-day normal computer use, I would definitely get the iBook for a computer. On the other hand, as stated above, if I were a die-hard gamer, I would have second thoughts about getting this cool computer just because it doesn't seem like the computer that I would want to play a game like Tribes or StarCraft on. But, besides that group of people, it is definitely worth while for teens to get this revision of the iBook. Apple has improved the functionality of the iBook immensely without changing the design of it that everyone loves. Also, I wouldn't expect another revision of the iBook for at least a year, so you've got some time before your computer goes out of style. But, knowing the iMac and iBook line, it wont go out of style (hopefully!).
As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to either e-mail me at email@example.com or visit our forums to post your question or comment.
Until Next time,
iTeen Most Recent Columns
Offering computer news with the teen perspectiv, iTeen Online started with a weekly column at theimac.com under the supervision of Robert Aldridge. When they realized that there was a huge demand for teen computer news, iTeen Online was born. iTeen Online posted daily, original content that anyone (including adults) could read. Hits soared and iTeen Online became the number one source for teen computer news.
Now iTeen Online has once again became iTeen. At The Mac Observer the iTeem will produce a weekly article that will air on Thursdays at MacObserver.com. In addition to the weekly article, the iTeem will give you the same reviews and content that you're used to at iTeenol.com.