Apple releases a totally new ibook
May 1, 2001 11:34 AM   Subscribe

Apple releases a totally new ibook starting at $1300 dollars, they look like a cross between the sony SR series and the g4 powerbooks. Looks like a significantly more portable notebook than the old ibooks.
posted by chacal (43 comments total)
The look is definitely more palatable than the old ones. The other iBooks had their charm, sure, but still. I can't get over that white keyboard, though. That drives me nuts.
posted by sarajflemming at 11:50 AM on May 1, 2001

get your spectacles out to look at 1024X768 on a 12.1 inch LCD. phew! it has two speakers!
posted by machaus at 11:54 AM on May 1, 2001

Not as aesthetically pleasing to my eyes as the old iBooks (me like color. color is good)... in fact, it resembles most ordinary notebooks. Interesting.
posted by hijinx at 12:13 PM on May 1, 2001

I used to Mac, but I got so very tired of swimming upstream. And the new models and operating systems they (Apple) threw at me in rapidfire order got me depressed because I just could not keep up.

And so I let them go. And I'm at peace.
posted by tenbroeck at 12:29 PM on May 1, 2001

Tenbroeck: that's one of the lamest, least valid criticisms I've ever heard.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:32 PM on May 1, 2001

I pioneered with Apple Computer in my job in 1977. I had an original Mac in '84 and several incarnations afterwards. I switched to the mainstream PC during the Internet startup years in the mid 90s because I was playing defense constantly. And because PC competition made it worth my while.

As PCs became more Mac-like, Macs TRIED to become more PC-like to appeal to a broader audience. Any product that succeeds mainly because you can choose strawberry or lime or grape (or is it smoke or snow or sage?) is not something I need to worry about being without.
posted by tenbroeck at 12:39 PM on May 1, 2001

the iBook never appealed to me, but I'm not a teenager or college student or girl. It's like saying the VW Bug doesn't appeal to me--it's not supposed to. But I would be curious what Apple is thinking here: is this a concession that the iBook appealed to too few?
posted by ParisParamus at 12:45 PM on May 1, 2001

It's not a concession. It's a lighter, smaller, tougher, more powerful computer which capitalizes on the sex appeal that Titanium has proven to have. Exactly the right move in an iBook revision.
posted by sudama at 12:53 PM on May 1, 2001

You know, for a company which spends so much time bitching about how everyone is imitating it, Apple seems to be spending a lot of time imitating Sony these days.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 12:55 PM on May 1, 2001

I think you'd need more evidence than that to demonstrate who's imitating whom, or even, if there's any imitation going on at all.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:04 PM on May 1, 2001

Paris: When I bought my three year old Vaio 505, Sony kept trumpeting how lightweight and rugged the titanium (oops, I mean magnesium) case was. Oh! and it was even painted silver! and had rounded corners! and "integrated design!" So... um. Yeah. I won't claim that Apple has been directly derivative, but there are a whole lot of similarities between the sixth month old Ti campaign and the 3 year old Vaio campaign. And Sony was very, very clearly first.

The sad part is that Apple didn't catch on to the most important part of Sony's innovation- small and light is good. Every major laptop manufacturer has now followed Sony's lead and offers a machine that is three pounds or less. The iBook is Apple's lightest- at 4.9 pounds. I'd think about buying one if they weren't built like a brick house.
posted by louie at 1:10 PM on May 1, 2001

I can't get over that white keyboard, though. That drives me nuts.
The problem is the tiny Grotesk legends on the keyboard, which is partly translucent, meaning it is hard to figure out what's a legend and what is a black mark beneath the key. Actually, light-on-dark keyboards are more accessible (the legends are easier to read; the iBook's legends nullify this advantage through size), though they are less sexy. The world may be shocked to hear that this was typed on a Microsoft Internet Pro keyboard (black-on-white keys) on a Girl Power iMac. Beats the [expletive] out of that unusable toy that ships with the computer. Steve Jobs has been hostile to touch-typing for 20 years. But I digress.
posted by joeclark at 1:11 PM on May 1, 2001

ParisParamus: you gotta make your sarcasm a little clearer...
posted by tenbroeck at 1:25 PM on May 1, 2001

Louie: I don't work for Apple, although I do like them. Rounding corners and lowering weight are natural design tendancies (cars, iMac, etc.). Light metals have become readily available with the end of the Cold War. Anyway...
posted by ParisParamus at 1:28 PM on May 1, 2001

Paris, so far as I know the Cold War ended in 1989. (When do you think it ended?)

My Sony Vaio PictureBook weighs less than 3 pounds. It's not the most blazingly fast computer there is, but it's plenty good to run the apps I use on it the most (IE, Word, Excel, FrontPage, Streets & Trips, Outlook) and for those things the small screen is also not a problem given that it's 1024 pixels wide.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 1:36 PM on May 1, 2001

It's square! And it doesn't look like a toliet bowl cover. How does this set it apart from other notebooks?
posted by shackbar at 1:44 PM on May 1, 2001

Damn, tough crowd.

Steve Jobs made it clear that they were setting their sites on Sony. I think they did an exceptional job of surpassing the Vaio with the TiBook.

As for the iBook, it's obviously the right direction to go in -- super bright colors are 1999. They're looking for the next design trend, and it looks like the Vaio/TiBook/iBook is just that.
posted by jragon at 3:15 PM on May 1, 2001

Steve Jobs has been hostile to touch-typing for 20 years.

Actually, touch typists don't care what the keyboard looks lik as long as it's the right size, has the keys in the expected places, and has decent tactile feedback.

Hell, my keyboard doesn't even have the letters on it in the right place. (I touch-type Dvorak but left the keys labeled in QWERTY.)
posted by kindall at 3:17 PM on May 1, 2001

The Apple Dumpling Gang is a hoot. Can't believe that its on Plex, ad free! sweet!

Did someone say something about laptops? I *love* the Ti, hate the friggin OS, I just don't seem to get it - too used to my pc/nt/win/unix/irix ways, I guess.

The new Ibook is interesting. Are they going to stop making the pretty ones? makes me wonder.
posted by tomplus2 at 3:37 PM on May 1, 2001

Sony is making the housings for the new iBooks...which is why they look so similar.
posted by thc at 3:50 PM on May 1, 2001

Really!!? Where are you getting that thc??

I for one will need to see the new iBooks before I'm convinced. Before the old iBooks were released, I was excited at the prospect of being able to afford a decent laptop - unfortunately, the design and the display limitations prevented me from buying one.

This, however, looks like it might be right up my alley. I would, of course, much rather have a TiBook, but being unemployed, the $3000 price tag is a little steep.

A good move on the part of Apple. Glad I own a bit of stock.
posted by aladfar at 4:15 PM on May 1, 2001

From an aesthetic standpoint, I'm just sorry that Ive & Co. seem to have decided they've rung all the changes out of color that they can. I didn't mind so much the shift to neutrals in the upper end models (and I do really like the enclosure of my PowerBook G4; that old black PowerBook design long ago lived out its freshness). But one thing the consumer Macs are as a platform that Windows PCs are decidedly not is fun. The translucent color panels served no performance or usability function whatsoever, in fact they were purely for the fun of design and made no pretense to being anything other. For that reason alone I enjoyed having one because the mere sight of one is enough to send a WinTel bigot into spasms of indignant blathering...

thc: bullshit. The iBook enclosure is a direct derivative of the TiBook enclosure, and clearly the work of Jonathon Ive's group. Unless you'd like to claim that Sony also designed the TiBook?
posted by m.polo at 4:20 PM on May 1, 2001

m. polo,

while I have no idea if it's true that sony is designing the enclosures of the new ibook, take a look at these two pictures:

which is a sony SR series laptop

then compare that to the sideview of the new ibook at

I can't link the apple image, since it's composed of 4 pictures..just reload the main page a couple of times until you get the sideview picture. the similarities in the design, especially of the type of hinge that holds the screen onto the base, and the way it pivots up, are striking.
posted by chacal at 5:21 PM on May 1, 2001

Given that they are both notebook computers, I fail to see that design ripoff...
posted by ParisParamus at 5:44 PM on May 1, 2001

Heh. I was expecting to be convinced, Chacal, but that link just doesn't cut it.

iBook = straight lines, silverish, beautiful, has a hinge
sony = clunky design, silly dual-color look, has a hinge

Operating systems aside, I'd actually *want* an iBook, whereas that PC laptop just looks like a PC laptop. Nothing special.
posted by jragon at 5:47 PM on May 1, 2001

Look. The world is largely divided into those who give priority to aesthetics, and those who do not...
posted by ParisParamus at 5:50 PM on May 1, 2001

It is also divided into those that are willing to have Direct CD 5 blow up their Win2K box, and those that know that the integrated software and hardware will guarantee that iTunes works right out of the box. But then again, I bow before the Jobsian Reality Distortion Field.
posted by machaus at 6:05 PM on May 1, 2001

With the recent step away from colors, I'm wondering what the next generation of iMacs/consumer desktops (due this summer) is going to look like. It's probably about time for a redesign of the tower-G4s, too--the design hasn't changed much since the blue G3s debuted.

And for the record, iTunes has its own Reality Distortion Field generator built in--just fire up the visualizer and watch your will melt away!
posted by darukaru at 6:45 PM on May 1, 2001

Considering I may be able to pick up a high-end model for about 1300 bucks thanks to super-secret discounts, this iBook is very very appealing. I think I'll own one very soon.

And iTunes plus a 22" Apple Cinema Display creates the largest RDF possible. Trust me on this one. :)
posted by toddshot at 6:50 PM on May 1, 2001

That iTunes visual thing is COOL! Puts the old lava lamp to shame....
posted by ParisParamus at 6:50 PM on May 1, 2001

Darukaru, they'll be beige.

(And the Mac faithful will say "We knew it all along! Beige is beautiful!")
posted by Steven Den Beste at 7:07 PM on May 1, 2001

I bet we see colors on that iBook before the year is through.
posted by sudama at 7:09 PM on May 1, 2001

With the recent step away from colors, I'm wondering what the next generation of iMacs/consumer desktops (due this summer) is going to look like.

Betcha whatever the shape, it has silver-colored metal, a glowing Apple logo and is dipped entirely in transparent lucite goodness... Ever since the Cube, Jobs seems to be approving designs along these lines, so it's not much of a stretch to expect they'd port it over the consumer desktop Macs, too. Two interesting tidbits have been out and about (OK, interesting to those who at least pay aesthetics a passing glance, ParisParamus ;-) ): the iMacs need a larger screen to stay competitive and when you custom order a new iBook from the Apple Store, the product descriptions (at one point, it apparently says specifically, "iBook White") could lead one to believe that colors other than standard silver were contemplated... I swear, if they come up with an iBook in that jewel green metallic tone like my Mom's outdoor-cocktail-party-in-the-Sixties glasses, I'm buying one!
posted by m.polo at 7:13 PM on May 1, 2001

That Apple Store oddness and the gradual introduction of the fruit-flavored iMacs lead me to suspect that Apple's not entirely finished with color.

"Monochrome it ain't."

As for putting linux on Titanium, what about Darwin?
posted by sudama at 7:24 PM on May 1, 2001

My dad uses a Sony VAIO, the super-slim one, and has been for at least a couple years now I think (upgrading it once in a while). Sony did do the sleek thing first, and it still looks awesome in real life. Actually, I don't believe the Sony linked above is the "slick" model - the one my dad has is more similar to the TiBook. I have to admit though, the TiBook really does take it a step further on the coolness chart. It looks considerably better (i'm just a sucker for silver... my next comp will probably have a Coolermaster case), and the screen is FRIGGIN HUGE! The two biggest problems: 1) It's a Mac. 2) It's VERY heavy compared to the VAIO. It's a little bit bigger in size, but not by much, and the increase in the screen size can justify that... but the weight of it can't compare to the Sony.

Anyways, after that mongo paragraph... with the introduction of those new crazy iMacs (I mean the rainbow one and the polkadot thing), I doubt Apple will be leaving it's color lovers in the dust. Personally I prefer the slick industrial neutral look of the CoolerMaster ACS-201 and Lian-Li PC-60 cases (and their ilk), as well as the TiBook and the Fujitsus I saw over in Asia a few months back. Colors are for wusses! Silver is manly! :)
posted by swank6 at 8:31 PM on May 1, 2001

One point about the iBook that made me change my mind slightly: the highest-end model includes the SuperDrive, so I can burn CDs, burn (pseudo) DVDs, and watch DVD movies with it.

Now if it was just a G4, I think I might be a tad more swayed. Certainly, for me, the looks aren't going to do it this time out (I want Nitro Yellow-Green!)
posted by hijinx at 9:03 PM on May 1, 2001

(er correction: it's not the SuperDrive. It's just a ComboDrive, or, combo drive. CD-RW and DVD-ROM, but still. Darn Apple marketing!)
posted by hijinx at 9:23 PM on May 1, 2001

A reporter at the Apple event had the opportunity to examine one close-up and proclaimed the new iBook beautiful. I don't know if the pictures up at the Apple site are doing this thing justice. I'm going to reserve judgement until I can touch one myself.
posted by sudama at 10:52 PM on May 1, 2001

If I didn't have use of a Pismo (PowerBook G3 FireWire) provided by the company I work for, I'd be buying one of those new iBooks as soon as I can get my hands on one. The only thing that bothers me slightly is that 12" screen, I'd really have to try it first, I think.
posted by kindall at 11:10 PM on May 1, 2001

S.D.B.: saw the beige iMac gag weeks ago. :P
posted by darukaru at 11:51 PM on May 1, 2001

FWIW, the new iBook is one of the lightest laptops I've seen that still has a CD or DVD drive. Most other notebooks under 5 pounds have no removable media.
posted by Potsy at 12:34 AM on May 2, 2001

This is almost exactly what I've been looking for. I don't need a portable desktop machine, but I need a subnotebook I can carry around to write papers, download images off a digital camera, for presentations, watch a DVD or two, etc... While I would still like to see a lighter subnotebook from Apple, This is perfect for a college student like me.
posted by gyc at 2:10 AM on May 2, 2001

> I bet we see colors on that iBook before the year is
> through.

You could put Lisa Frank stickers on it right now...
posted by jfuller at 6:16 AM on May 2, 2001

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