I think I'm in love. I'm in love with the new iBook that Apple introduced today. It's a nice little piece of computing equipment that's priced quite reasonably at $1249 for those of us in education. For a good look at the new machine, check out the cheesy promotional video.
I won't be placing my order just yet though, as I'm going to wait until they actually ship with OS X pre-installed. I don't see any reason to buy the laptop now, and then have to shell out the $120 for OS X when I could wait and buy the iBook with OS X installed in July. Here's a tip for Apple, ship the iBooks with 9.1 installed now, but bundle OS X for free, for those early adopters who are comfortable installing the OS themselves. By postponing the bundling of OS X, you're just giving people an incentive (to the tune of $120) to wait to purchase their new machines. I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that you can buy new PCs with new versions of Windows & Office from manufacturers such as Dell before the retail versions of the OS & office suite are available, not four months afterwards. Perhaps this illustrates that Microsoft does a somewhat better job of beta-testing their software...
The iBook looks quite nice to me, the screen is 1024x768, which was one of the required improvements for me to consider purchasing the device, I don't do 800x600. If I had to nit-pick, I'd complain that all of the ports are on the left side of the notebook. I like to use external Microsoft optical mice with notebooks, and having to run the cord all the way around the left side and the back of the notebook is a minor annoyance.
Several people I talked to were disappointed in the 12.1" LCD display, as they were hoping for something bigger. A 15" display is all fine and good, but opening the laptop in cramped quarters (like an airplane) is made much easier with a smaller display. Also, bigger screens mean more weight. I sat in my office today comparing two new Dell laptops, the Latitude C600 and the C800. The C800 has a nice big screen, but when you've got them both in your hands, you tend to appreciate the 4.9 lb. weight (same as the iBook) of the C600.
My only other gripe is that to get a three year warranty, you've got to fork out an additional $237 for the AppleCare coverage. That's $118.50 a year for the additional two years of warranty coverage. Considering that Dell gives the three year warranty to their education customers by default, Apple could learn a thing or two here. They're like a new car dealer that shows you the low sticker price, but then charges you outrageous prices on all of the optional extras. Check out the prices that Apple charges for RAM, you'll see my point.
In spite of all of this, it's a gorgeous piece of hardware. I hate to gush over the product like a rabid Mac zealot, but realize that I don't own a single Macintosh, and really do like Windows. But the wannabe Linux guy in me appreciates the potential of OS X, and the showoff in me loves the flashiness of the new iBooks. I'll keep my eye on Macintouch, in case there are some problems with the design of the new iBooks, but if all goes smoothly, I'll be placing my order right after Apple announces the iBooks are shipping with OS X...
Steve Jobs, are you listening?