Gigabook Observations

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Date: Tuesday, December 31st, 2002, 01:00
Category: Archive

I was lucky enough to get my hands on a new 1GHz PowerBook G4 Titanium with a DVD burning Super Drive and there are a few little things worth mentioning about Apple’s latest portable.

The first thing I noticed with the TiBook 1GHz is the inclusion of a new three-pronged power adapter (on the long cable), the folding duck head adapter is still two pronged. This could present some problems to travellers to Japan where two-prong electric outlets are the norm.

The Gigabook also bears the distinction of being the first PowerBook to ship with Mac OS 9.2.2, 10.2.1, Applications and a full set of system restore images on one system DVD – which just sounds cool. Yep, they’ve crammed five CDs worth of installers onto one convenient 2.7GB DVD! At first I thought they forgot some CDs in the box.

One way you can differentiate the new 1GHz and 867 MHz PowerBooks is by the “PowerBook G4” badge that is painted on bottom of the LCD. On the new models it is painted in Apple’s new corporate font Myriad. Myriad was debuted with the new WWDC logo in May and is used on the new 17-inch iMac, iPod, Xserve and the eMac. Myriad is a sans-serif font that looks like Verdana or Futura, a major departure from Apple’s traditional corporate font – Apple Garamond.

Some people, like Lukas Hauser, are not happy about the font change.

One thing is for certain: the seismic introduction of Myriad in Apple’s design scheme has produced an utter cacophony of typography on the company’s Web site: along with Myriad, there’s Apple Garamond for most of the display graphics on, Lucida Grande for the Aquatic navigation, Helvetica Neue for the small display subheads and Geneva for the HTML text.

I am a little more indifferent about Myriad and find it growing on me.

There are a few new applications on the hard drive as well, including PixelNhance, Art Director’s Toolkit, Omni Graffle and Outliner, FAXstf X, Graphic Converter and iDVD 2.1.

The new hard drives in the latest PowerBooks are only 4200 RPM compared to the faster 5400 RPM IBM drives available as BTO and custom configurations in previous PowerBooks. The new 60GB drives are Toshiba MK6021GAS (4200 RPM) mechanisms so I opted to keep my faster IBM Travelstar 60GH which spins at 5400 RPM. Apple claims that the move to slower drives was a power saving move, but I would always opt for a faster HDD.

The DVD-R mechanism combined with iDVD 2.1 is stellar and the ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 graphics processing unit (GPU) seems pretty snappy but I haven’t really had a chance to test them too much yet.

Stay tuned for some Gigabook benchmarks in 2003 and please post your new PowerBook feedback below.

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