After playing with my new iBook for a couple of weeks, I’ve had a chance to give the Mac platform a shakedown from a PC user’s perspective. Here are my first impressions:
- Everyone will tell you that 256 MB is not enough, and they’re right. I added a 512MB chip (total 768 MB) and performance is much better. Installing memory yourself is not too difficult, although you do have to remove the keyboard and it’s a bit tricky to reassemble.
- The UI is, as you might expect, very well done. I hate to sound like a “switcher” but it really feels like an upgrade compared to Windows XP. It’s very nice to look at, and the animation effects are so smooth and fast that I haven’t turned them off—surprising since the first thing I do with a new Windows installation is turn off all animation.
- This is a nice little laptop—good keyboard, effortless wireless, and it’s very stable. Since my previous PC laptop was a 400 MHz Sony, the iBook doesn’t have to work hard to impress me.
- As with every PC laptop I’ve ever used, the trackpad is an annoyance with its default settings. Fortunately there’s a replacement driver called Sidetrack that just about every iBook/Powerbook user seems to recommend. It does nice things like scrolling, but the main feature for me is preventing accidental taps during typing. I’ll probably end up using a USB mouse except when I’m on the road.
- Setting up a Bluetooth Internet connection to my cell phone was just as difficult as on every other platform, but it works nicely now.
Overall, I’m surprised how easy it was to set up and use this machine. I really expected to be writing about all kinds of strange Mac things that were alien to me as a Windows user, but it’s really not all that different on the surface, and underneath I’m already comfortable with the UNIX core.