For the love of Apple

What would be your ideal Mac laptop purchase advice? Help me out here guys.

With Valentine's Day fast approaching, a young man's thoughts turn to love and as with any matter of the heart, there is often a dilemma involved. What should be my next purchase from Apple?

Firstly, should I shake the cobwebs off my wallet and buy a shiny new 15.4" MacBook Pro with Virtual PC for testing sites under Windows, or should I avoid the first release of the new dual-core Intel engine and plump instead for a trusty PowerBook G4? I must confess that my testosterone is telling me to buy the Mac Book Pro with it's built-in iSight, MagSafe and more.

Secondly, as I now do far more international travelling with my computer than ever before, is AppleCare an essential purchase? What have been your experiences of breakdowns either with or without AppleCare in place?

What would be your ideal Mac purchase advice? Help me out here guys.


Replies

  1. #1 On February 12, 2006 05:44 PM Channing Walton said:

    I often hear of people saying that the first version of a product from Apple should be avoided, "give them time to iron out the bugs" they sagely intone.

    However, being reckless I have bought no less than three V1 Apple products - the first iMac, the first PowerMac G5 monster and the first tower thing that could support OS X who's name escapes me.

    None of them have failed. I don't recall any of my friends having problems either.

    But, if you are travelling a lot maybe it would be prudent to buy AppleCare, although I don't know how far their support goes if you're travelling.

    Channing

  2. #2 On February 12, 2006 06:01 PM goophy said:

    Actually I am confused, when I compared prices of MacBook Pro and Asus A6J.

  3. #3 On February 12, 2006 06:17 PM Daniel Morrison said:

    I'd say go for the MacBook. The extra speed should compensate for any problems you run into.

    As far as AppleCare, I tend to avoid it like the plague, as the biggest issues to me (theft, dropping) aren't covered. Buying a first-edition product might make AppleCare more important, but you never know.

    Also, never buy the AppleCare right away. You can purchase it any time in the first year (while the original warranty is valid), and get the same benefits. So wait 11 months and decide then.

  4. #4 On February 12, 2006 06:23 PM Jeff Smith said:

    I'd say go for the MacBook, however, I wouldn't expect to run Virtual PC on it just yet as Microsoft has made no commitments about making that piece of software Intel-OSX compatible.

  5. #5 On February 12, 2006 06:26 PM Adrian Kostrubiak said:

    My suggestions to you would be to wait until the next release of the MacBooks. First generations alwasy tend to be not quite as good as seconds or thirds.

    As for Apple Care, I'd say get it. I know it's quite expensive, but quite a few times over the years it has saved my ass from paying a massive amount of money to fix some issues.

    Just my 2��

  6. #6 On February 12, 2006 06:38 PM James Darling said:

    I have this huge uge to say the whole "don't trust the V1", but that's just because I bought a Powerbook a couple of months ago, and like to have the impression that I still have the best. Macbooks look and, if it's similar to the intel imac, feels far snappier to my powerbook. It's almost as if OS X was written for intel...
    Also, I hate my powerbookdefect.info.

    As for virtual PC with a macbook, it won't be long till you can dual boot, which will be mighty nifty.

    And applecare, it's great if you're near a genius bar, as you can book an appointment with someone actually helpful. The helpline has been outsourced, and while I don't necessarilly have a problem with this, it's been outsourced to complete numpties with no knowledge reading from the manual and website. As previously mentioned, I'm waiting 'till the 11 month mark to decide (should be living in london then as well)

  7. #7 On February 12, 2006 08:12 PM Chasen Le Hara said:

    The MacBook Pro won't support Virtual PC (I've read before that the new iMac can't run it), so if you'll need Virtual PC, then now is probably not the time to get an Intel Mac. The MacBook Pro will run apps like Photoshop and Illustrator a lot slower too, so you'll probably want to take that into consideration.

    The last revision of PowerBooks are probably cheaper, so it wouldn't make as much of a dent on your wallet like a new MacBook Pro would. I would go for a PowerBook; it's probably best for what you want to use it for (but, I don't know everything you use your Mac for...).

    I'm a big fan of AppleCare. I had a processor on my original Dual 2 G5 go out, and I had to have it replaced. This happened during my year of warranty, but if it hadn't have, then I don't know what I would've done. As of right now, it's refusing to boot on the first start up (as in, it won't boot, then I'll "reset" it and it'll boot the second time), so I'm thinking about taking it in since it's under AppleCare. There might be better suggestions for more coverage for laptops, though, as Daniel mentioned.
    -Chasen

  8. #8 On February 12, 2006 08:52 PM Richard York said:

    Go for the MacBook Pro. I just bought a shiny new Intel Core Duo iMac, and I love it. I can't believe how fast it is. Everything I've wanted to run software wise has ran without a hitch. And as others have pointed out, Virtual PC doesn't run under Rosetta, so you'll have to wait for the next version to run Windows XP as a virtual machine. Wouldn't make much since to *try* to run Virtual PC as is anyway, emulating to PPC from x86 back to x86 again would result in Windows running *really* slow. The Intel Macs are much faster! It won't be long before more apps are made native. Eventually someone will crack the dual boot dilemma. Personally, I haven't even noticed any speed problems running things under Rosetta. Photoshop, MS Office, etc, all run fine, you can't even tell emulation is taking place.

  9. #9 On February 12, 2006 10:14 PM Jan Bra�na said:

    "[...] a shiny new 15.4" MacBook Pro with Virtual PC for testing sites under Windows [...]"

    Eeek. No VirtualPC on MacBook for now. Rosseta doesn't support pro apps, some drivers and unfortunately even VPC.

    I'd go for G4 at least until the end of this year. And BTW I don't fancy 15.4", so G4 12" would be my choice now.

  10. #10 On February 12, 2006 11:24 PM Andrew Disley said:

    I'd hang of a bit for a MacBook considering that native support for many applications is not available yet.

    AppleCare is a must I waited till 10 months into my first year before purchasing AppleCare from a third-party at a much lower rate. I've had a couple of issues with mine and the customer service was fantastic. It's also good to know you can pop into any Apple Store in the world should you be traveling and get your product fixed. A separate insurance cover for theft / damage is something I'd also recommend.

  11. #11 On February 13, 2006 02:33 AM Malarkey said:

    OK so I wasn't aware that Virtual PC would not run under Rosetta so I'm going to need to look into the Windows testing issue.

    It seems ridiculous to buy a Windows box simply testing Windows browsers, so I may plump for a Mac Book Pro and a Mac Mini with VPC to solve that particular problem.

  12. #12 On February 13, 2006 03:25 AM Tom Carwardine said:

    Wait for a MacBook, I bought the Powerbook G4 17 HD after cafeful thought (no classic, not wanting rev.A product etc) and am regretting every minute of it.

    The Powerbook is the worst Apple I have owned in 14 yrs. I had a Powerbook 17 1Ghz which was ace but the current revision is full of hardware/software bugs let alone the lack of power.

    Check out the powerbook defect site which has 1000+ people on the list affected, let alone the Apple discussions page with over 700 replys and 20,000 views.

    Wait for MacBook... don't settle for the �EchoBook�.

    Having said that there is no native Adobe/Macromedia yet, with only pay-for updates coming [CS3].

    I would just wait.

  13. #13 On February 13, 2006 03:26 AM Tom Carwardine said:

    Wait for a MacBook, I bought the Powerbook G4 17 HD after cafeful thought (no classic, not wanting rev.A product etc) and am regretting every minute of it.

    The Powerbook is the worst Apple I have owned in 14 yrs. I had a Powerbook 17 1Ghz which was ace but the current revision is full of hardware/software bugs let alone the lack of power.

    Check out the powerbook defect site which has 1000+ people on the list affected, let alone the Apple discussions page with over 700 replys and 20,000 views.

    Wait for MacBook... don't settle for the �EchoBook�.

    Having said that there is no native Adobe/Macromedia yet, with only pay-for updates coming [CS3].

    I would just wait.

  14. #14 On February 13, 2006 07:09 AM Robert said:

    Somehow, when I see the words testosterone and Mac/Apple in the same sentence it makes me laugh. There is no relation of the two. Now if one said my Mac is a true picture of estrogen then I think that would be a more factual statement.

  15. #15 On February 13, 2006 09:37 AM Barry Bloye said:

    Apparently, Powerbooks are becoming increasingly short in supply, so you might not have a choice before too long!

    As with VPC, this is what a Microsoft FAQ has to say:

    Q. What does the announcement about Intel-based Macs mean for Virtual PC for Mac?

    A. Virtual PC for Mac Version 7 is still the best emulation solution for users who have PowerPC-based Macs, but it does not run on Intel-based Macs. We are working with Apple to determine the feasibility of developing Virtual PC for Mac for Intel-based Macs. Virtual PC for Mac is highly dependent on the operating system and hardware and will require additional development to run on Intel-based Macs.

    Personally, I'm more than happy with my current-model (while stocks last!) Powerbook - the occasional audio problem when running two audio applications is annoying (especially as I'm from an audio background), but anything it lacks in raw power it makes up for in responsiveness, stability and usability.

    From what I've heard about performance using Rosetta, I think a Powerbook might be the best option until your main apps run natively, but there'll no doubt be a huge performance jump once they do. Given the choice, I'd go Intel for future-proofing!

  16. #16 On February 13, 2006 10:10 AM Geert Leyseele said:

    This statement is not true: "Rosseta doesn't support pro apps, some drivers and unfortunately even VPC."

    Most Pro apps are supported by Rosetta, Adobe apps, Word, Macromedia all run fine. Here is a list of what apps run and doesn't run. The Apple Pro apps will be universial in March. The clue is buying enough RAM, Rosetta seems to love Ram. Apple always does the right thing in the end but it usely takes a while to get there, been there with the noice of the mirror doors G4. It's not like the current PowerBooks don't work at all like Tom Carwardine make it sound, there is an audio bug yes but full of hardware/software bugs is just talk of a bitter customer. I was angry too with the noice of the mirror door G4 but that got solved eventually and I'm sure the same will apply for the audio bug. I know Apple needs a kick now and then before they get their ass in gear but hey this is about money and a replacement program doesn't happen overnight. Still I would go for the MacBook Pro if I were in your shoes because even in Rosetta it will run as on PowerBook G4 if you have enough RAM. We have one on order (for Kenneth our php guy) so I'm sure we will do a side by side with a PowerBook 17 inch once we have the machine.

  17. #17 On February 13, 2006 02:44 PM M.e. said:

    Always go for the new hotness! Anything that doesn't work will only be a problem in the short run. Screw VPC. WINE is well underway for Intel OSX. We'll all be able to run IE 5, 6 and 7 for Windows right along side Safari, Camino and Omniweb in OS X.

  18. #18 On February 13, 2006 02:48 PM Andrew said:

    Applecare is likely a good investment. I bought a dual g4 tower with applecare ( on clearance ) when the g5 towers just came out... One of the processors went and it went in for repair... got it back and a week later it happened again...... So I called apple and complained about the lemon I bought and they agreed to give me a repacement machine... only they didnt have any G4s left so they sent me a 1.6 G5 instead! I'm happy I bought the applecare!

  19. #19 On February 13, 2006 05:46 PM karmatosed said:

    Well, just had this sort of thing myself. I had a laptop death and as a result made decision to go for a mac replacement. I nearly drove myself mad with the macbook / powerbook dilema. I eventually went for the 15" powerbook. My decision was based on a few things:
    1. Time : turned out to bit of a bummer as the powerbook is taking 2 weeks as it is - argh! But, I still should receive before the macbooks.
    2. Upon careful investigation I turned out to be a complete chicken. Therefore, risking on a rev A product wasn't a chance. That being said the list of problems on powerbook is enough to make me cry if I read anymore.
    3. There was no battery time listing and the non binaries out made me think again about it all.
    4. I figured if it all went poo I can justify getting a rev B macbook pro and giving the powerbook to my husband (he gets all my hand me down machines). I figure end of year for this 'gift' to him.

    I have zooped mine up thought with 1gb memory and a 7200 drive - hoping that will compensate or at least mean they have tested the machine and hopefully those now infamous powerbook issues will have gone.

    On one hand I regret, on the other I am glad. I have also found out I can't make decisions during this dilema. I just want my machine to turn up after it's around the globe journey - apparently it is in amsterdam now.......

  20. #20 On February 13, 2006 09:25 PM David McCreath said:

    I'm starting work with a new company where I will be entirely reliant on my Mac notebook, and coincidentally, my wife's laptop is on its last legs. So I get to buy something new and hand down my iBook 800MHz G4.

    I've decided that I'm going to stick with the G4s for now, but I'm going iBook instead of PowerBook. The only thing lacking in my iBook right now is memory. It's maxed out at 640Mb, so I'm going to replace it with the final model of 12" iBook (that oddly, can take more RAM than a 12" PowerBook).

    The biggest deciding factor for me was software availablity vs cost of the machine. Adobe has given a timeline of a year for universal binaries of its apps, and Photoshop is one of the problematic apps on my current iBook. Then there's the Virtual PC issue.

    So I'd rather spend a little money on an iBook right now, wait until Rosetta isn't necessary for my big apps, then drop the big bucks on a new MacBook.

  21. #21 On February 16, 2006 01:03 AM Andy Budd said:

    I'm thinking of picking up a MacBook Pro in Austin, so if you fancy a trip out to the Apple store, let me know.

  22. #22 On February 16, 2006 01:03 AM Andy Budd said:

    I'm thinking of picking up a MacBook Pro in Austin, so if you fancy a trip out to the Apple store, let me know.

  23. #23 On February 16, 2006 08:37 AM Geert Leyseele said:

    The audio problem of the PowerBooks is solved in the 10.4.5 update btw.

  24. #24 On February 16, 2006 02:16 PM Malarkey said:

    So, a decision is made. I'm currently in the Apple Store Manchester soon to be the proud owner of a new 12" iBook (my previous one is gagged and bound for Wales). I chose another iBook for several reasons.

    1. It's available now and I need a new Mac today
    2. It runs VPC
    3. I love iBooks

    I'll be taunting my credit card with the thought of buying a new MacBook Pro in Austin during SXSW and will run both Macs until VPC runs on CoreDuo or Rosetta. At that point (hopefully not long) I will give the iBook to Alex.

    The staff at this 'up North' Apple Store has been exceptional. Say "Hi" Dan!

  25. #25 On February 16, 2006 11:12 PM Tom Simcox said:

    Glad to see you are getting such good service in THE NORTH Andy. You'll be glad to know that since leaving Newcastle someone has spun all the road signs back to point in the right directions :-)

    Oooooh I know what you mean about threatening the credit card with a MacBook Pro. I'm not going to be at SXSW this year (next year maybe?) but don't suppose anyone could carry an extra laptop case with said MacBook Pro enclosed back to blighty with them could they? How much is there to be saved by buying over there, I'm guessing say �250/�300?

  26. #26 On February 17, 2006 09:38 AM karmatosed said:

    I might be regretting my suggestion of a powerbook ... mine arrived and turned out to be a macdud. Well, works great if you don't want to put a CD into the drive - they don't fit as dirve has shifted / has some magical blocking thing stuck or something technical like that. Now, I am waiiting for version 2 to be sent out on a slightly faster boat from china by the end of next week. It was all going too well obviously.

  27. #27 On February 17, 2006 04:47 PM blowmage said:

    There are other emulators you can use to run Windows on an Intel-based MacBook Pro while you wait for Virtual PC (or hopefully VMWare).

    Q (open source)
    iEmulator (commercial)
    WinTel (commercial)