Apple’s new Titanium PowerBook G4, weighing 5.3 pounds and one-inch thin, is expected to be a hit in Japan (there are already G4 carrying cases for sale), based on comments I’ve received from Mac users, Mac user group members, and developers. However, there still seems to be a high demand for a subnotebook.
“The people here still buy Macs more than any other brand for personal use, it seems to me,” Richard Northcott, president of
Enfour Inc., a popular software manufacturer, told MacCentral. “However, in recent years it’s been eaten alive in the laptop market.”
While the new G4 portable should help reverse this, even the streamlined portable is too big for the Japanese market, according to many folks with whom we spoke. Most Japanese users are more interested in compactness than the size of the screen.
“Apple is still promoting the DVD playing ability of the PowerBook,” Northcott said. “However, many Japanese people ride in crowded trains to and from work. They don’t have the interest or the room to watch DVDs. They want something small that can be easily maneuvered and used. That’s why handhelds are so popular in this country.”
The PowerBook 2400, the last subnotebook that Apple made, is still very popular in Japan. In fact, we ran into two protestors from the
MobileMacUsers of Japan
who were waging a campaign to make it easier to get replacement batteries for the 2400. They told MacCentral that it took two weeks and “lots of money” to get such batteries. So far they’ve collected 380 names on a petition they intend to send to Apple.
An example of the popularity of mobile computers in this country where space is at a premium is the Japanese PowerBook Army. It’s a group of PB owners who customize their portables the same way some folks soup up their automobiles. It’s not so much that they beef up the processors and hard drives, but that they paint and put customized covers on the PowerBooks.
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