A Month with a Mac - Part II: The Mobile Experienceby Anand Lal Shimpi on January 24, 2005 12:01 AM EST
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The Aftermath of Part IBefore proceeding with this article, please read through the first Mac article, "A Month with a Mac article", to get a foundation for the purpose, perspective and background that led to this article. This article is very much intended to be a sequel and not something that will stand on its own. If you've never used Mac OS X at great lengths or haven't read through the positive and negative points of the Mac platform from a PC user's perspective (from the first article), go back and read Part I before continuing.
When I originally committed to doing a Mac section on AnandTech, I actually committed it to the readers before discussing it with the rest of AnandTech staff. So when it came time to implement it, the rest of the staff didn't see much of a place for Mac articles on AnandTech. It took a lot of convincing (as well as some executive privilege) for the establishment of the Mac section, and then came the publication of the first Mac article: A Month with a Mac: A Die Hard PC User's Perspective.
Within the first three days of publication, that little Mac article skyrocketed to becoming one of the all-time most popular articles ever published on AnandTech. The flood of emails that came in as a result of that article is greater than the response to any single product launch that I'd ever seen. Even to this day, I get tons of emails from users just now stumbling upon the article, searching for PC user experiences with OS X as folks contemplate trying out OS X for the first time, thanks to the release of the Mac mini.
Immediately after the publication of the first Mac article, I already thought about doing a follow-up. The scope of the first article was already quite massive and the depth was as thorough as I could be without writing a book on the experience, yet there was already so much more to cover.
Then there were the responses to the article - Mac users complained that I was being too harsh on the one-button mouse, PC users complained that I was being too positive on the OS, but then the vast majority of users actually provided some very good feedback, asking for more information in certain areas. In fact, I'd say that the Mac article resulted in the most positive email responses that I've had from an article to date. I introduced the original article by talking about how difficult of an article it was to write, but after the overwhelming response to it, a sequel didn't seem that difficult.
One problem with these types of articles is that they inevitably take much longer to put together, simply because there are no structured tests to run and analyze. Articles like this are very much about the experience, and to do the experience justice, it's truly something that you have to integrate into your daily routine for a while. Prior to the first Mac experiment, I'd used Macs at various stages in my computing life, but never actually trying to integrate them into my daily routine. Writing an article based on any of those experiences would have turned out very differently compared to what the first article ended up being.
The downside to these long-term subjective evaluations is that the hardware industry changes at a spectacular pace and a lot happened during and immediately after the publication of the first Mac article that changed things dramatically. Before diving into the focus for this article, I'd like to briefly touch on some of the hot items that have surfaced since Part I.
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GL - Monday, January 24, 2005 - linkAnother great read! There's not much to take issue with. Now that I have both a desktop and notebook Mac, I find one of the biggest issues is keeping them both in sync (documents and settings). I believe Tiger will solve this annoying task once and for all because Apple will open the .Mac API to third party developers. But until then, I have to rely on some custom scripts that can only sync my documents, but none of the program settings. Has this been an issue for you too?
michael2k - Monday, January 24, 2005 - linkWow, I didn't know that, DeathB
DeathB - Monday, January 24, 2005 - linkNice review, Anand.
But the drag and drop example in the terminal is not a good one, you can do exactly the same thing with Windows command prompt, maybe since win98 old days :) Sure for XP and 2k, but I'm too lazy to check my 98 box.
DeathB - Monday, January 24, 2005 - link
SteveJobs - Monday, January 24, 2005 - linkMac Rules!!!
SteveJobs - Monday, January 24, 2005 - linkNicely done, Anand.
OptimisTech - Monday, January 24, 2005 - linkI also use a Mac laptop (iBook G4, 15") and a PC for my desk at home. I love the iBook for being on the road. I have recommended the combination to friends. I admit the dreaded "one-button mouse" irks me quite a bit, but I have a little mini-optical mouse that I use almost always, so it's not a big deal. what I wish someone would come up with is a KVM switch that could operate a Mac and a PC happily but wouldn't cost $150. I would think that if mac-mini sales really do well, there would be a pretty good market for something like that.
T8000 - Monday, January 24, 2005 - linkYou should have mentioned the Acer TravelMate 4001WLMi (Centrino 715 based) when comparing with PC notebooks, as that has similar specs, including weight, for under $1250.
Also, you make mention of screen estate like smaller font size does not bother you. I noticed that lots of older users (40+) find native TFT resolutions hard to read, usually setting 800x600 on 15" TFT screens. Since premium "design" products like Powerbooks are not unlikely to be bought by older users, the current resolution could allready be an issue, raising the question how well interpolation works on this Powerbook.
nels0360 - Monday, January 24, 2005 - linkNice review. I switched in June 04 to a PowerBook 1.33Ghz 12". I hook it up to a 20" LCD when I'm at my desk.
One thing I noticed you mentioned alot is disk performance. One of the best upgrades on a PowerBook is the 5400 RPM drive. It really speeds things up. These faster drives will likely be included in the new PowerBook models that are due to be released soon.
knitecrow - Monday, January 24, 2005 - linkThanks for the link #4. iBook sales were up, but powerbook sales have been down.
PowerBook numbers lagged in fourth place, a reflection of the fact that the pro laptops haven't been refreshed since last April. 152,000 units were shipped last quarter for $307 million in sales, numbers that were down 29 and 27 percent sequentially and 22 and 23 percent year-over-year.