The Boston Globe’s John P. Mello, Jr. says that Apple has “chosen understated elegance” with its new iBook design, eschewing the garish colors and clamshell casings of the past. His comments come in a new review called
A good Apple with plenty to love.
Pithily calling the new iBooks “iceBooks” because of their translucent pearl-colored outer shells, Mello points out the iBook’s composition as complementary to the “punishment” of being toted around by students. Mello lauds the tough polycarbonate casing, magnesium frame, and rubber-mounted hard drive.
Mello has some complaints about the tiny portable’s keyboard, though. Mello said that after about ten minutes of use, his delete key popped off. Even worse, the nubs that held the key in place broke when he tried to get it back on.
“A deletion key may be a small thing. But when you buy a new computer, you expect it to last more than 10 minutes before it starts falling apart,” said Mello.
Delete key aside, the reporter found plenty of other things to love about the new iBook. He called the iBook’s screen “superlative,” although the article incorrectly identifies the screen as 10,240 by 768 pixels (giving new meaning to the word “widescreen”) — it’s actually 1,024 by 768. He’s also impressed by the iBook’s unique hinging mechanism, which enables users to swing the screen fully open at a relatively shallow depth, enabling a better angle of viewing in cramped conditions such as on a coach airline seat.
Mello also talks about the Apple-made software included with the iBook — iMovie, iTunes, and AppleWorks — as well as the third-party stuff that’s included, such as Acrobat Reader, Communicator, Outlook Express, IE, and Palm Desktop.
Listing the array of interfaces sported by the iBook — including Ethernet, FireWire, USB, 56K modem, RGB, audio port, and AirPort connectivity — Mello notes the omission of PC card slot. It’s something that Apple has never included on the iBook line, but it also seems to be an interface that more and more critics and users alike are expecting to see on laptops, regardless of their price point.
“There isn’t much not to love about the new iBook — except for that damnable delete key,” concludes Mello.