A shiny new Apple

One of the perks of being a tech reporter is that manufacturers lend you their newest gadgets from time to time. The newest gadget I've got is the 17-inch PowerBook from Apple. You might have seen the ads on TV with MiniMe from the Austin Powers movies and that giant Chinese NBA player on the plane. MiniMe has the 17-inch PowerBook and the the big guy as the 12-inch version. Ha Ha. But I digress. You cannot believe the size of the screen on this machine — and the machine is only one inch thick. My colleague George Emerson reviews this machine in the lastest edition of Report On Business Magazine and, so far, I agree with much of what he says, particularly on the issue of size. “I've always believed big screens fall too far on the side of clunky in the balance between portability and performance. Small screens, those around 11 or 12 inches, are extremely portable, and the best ones have good guts (fast processors and capacious memory),” George wrote. “I was quite prepared to reject the PowerBook 17 out of hand if it didn't fit snugly in my briefcase. When it did, I began to reconsider my aversion to big-screen notebooks…” George ended up liking the machine quite a bit and — while I've had it for all of about three days now — I'm liking it, too.
I had been carrying around an 11-inch iBook — very light, very portable, very mobile. I was worried that the immense footprint and size of the machine I have now would simply be too much, that I would be giving up too much mobility. Well, at just one inch (2.5 cm) thick when closed, so far, the tradeoff of mobility vs size has been just about nil. This is a pretty impressive machine.
I've just installed OS 10.3 (Panther) on it and plan to give it a good workout over the next week in a variety of conditions. Only little beef so far is that this machine comes with the Airport Extreme card as standard equipment. (Airport is the brand name for Apple's WiFi group of networking products.) The iBook I just have up had the first-generation (lower max bandwidth) Airport card on board, too. But the first-generation seemed to work much better with my LinkSys wireless router than what's under the hood of this PowerBoook. Perhaps some more tweaking will help.

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