Tuesday, November 11, 2003

iBook G4

My iBook G4, with Panther pre-installed, arrived a few days before my copy of Panther. It was on my desk only about a week after ordering, which is quite impressive considering how new the iBook G4 is. I had tried to order the iBook G3 (Dual USB) that it replaces direct from Apple, so as to get the developer discount. At the time, the model I was interested in was more than six months old, yet after nearly two months Apple still hadn’t shipped it. I finally got tried of waiting on hold only to be told that they didn’t know why it hadn’t shipped, but that it surely would soon. So I gave up, ordered it from MacMall without the larger BTO hard disk, and received it in a matter of days.

The new 12" iBook is a great little computer. Of course, I wish it had a higher RAM ceiling and an option for a faster processor. The PowerBook G4 is significantly more expensive and includes lots of features I don’t need. Nevertheless, the iBook is reasonably peppy.

I’m nearly always impressed by Apple’s hardware. Even the oft-denigrated platinum (not beige!) G3s were innovative and comparatively stylish. However, with the iBook G4, I think Apple has taken one of its best-ever designs and made it slightly less excellent. I don’t follow hardware too closely, so perhaps the following changes took place with the later iBook (Dual USB) models.

iBook G3

The thin part of the power cable is much stiffer than before, so it doesn’t like to lie flat, and the part that goes to the outlet is significantly more bulky than before.

When closed, the iBook’s case looks mostly the same as before, except of course that the optical drive is slot-loading. I’m not sure which I prefer. The tray can sometimes get in the way, but the slot is next to the power cable, which makes it needlessly difficult to grip ejected discs.

iBook G4

After opening the iBook G4, my first reaction was that it looked like a PC knockoff of Apple’s design. Starting at the top, Myriad replaces Apple Garamond. I think Myriad looks great on-screen, but it lends a kind of Fisher-Price look to the hardware. The metal hinge that gave the old design some personality has been replaced by plastic that’s the same color as the case.

The keyboard, though perfectly serviceable, looks drab compared to the old design. It reminds me of nothing so much as Panther’s window title bars. The finish of the palm rests is rough rather than smooth, and it’s missing the shine that made the old design look so elegant. The trackpad is also not as smooth, which makes it feel slow. The white power button doesn’t quite fit in.

Overall, the iBook G4 seems slightly more solidly built, but it also looks cheap compared to G3.

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Had to post ... I'm glad someone agrees with me about the use of Myriad on the new iBooks and Powerbooks. Garamond has always been one of my favorite typefaces in the world, even before I realized Apple's typeface was a stylish variant on it, and I'm awfully sad to see it disappearing.

Maybe they think Myriad is more modern or fits the new aesthetic, but Garamond has a style that never goes away.

Looking at the two pictures I don't share your conclusion. I think the new iBook G4 looks a lot better than the Fisher-Price model it is replacing. I really couldn't stand that shining white keyboard of the old iBooks. Also from what I have read the new keyboard should be more firm than the one it replaces and thusly offer a superior feeling when typing.

Yes, the new keyboard is more firm. The keys stay more level when typing.

Nice pics and comparison of the two models. I own the original Dual USB iBook G3 too and feel that it's better made than the newer ones. I'm also sad to see the Apple Garamond lettering go but I guess it's all up to the user as Gabriel is happy with the revised models.

I heard that the new iBook, like the old one, does not have built-in dual monitor support (unless they mirror one another). Is this true? If so, does anybody think that the computer is deliberately handicapped by Apple in order to maintain a certain difference in perceived value between iBooks and Powerbooks? With regard to the German applescript that enables this feature in iBooks (as long as the video card is capable), do you think that this hack can harm the iBook's motherboard over time?

Thanks for the comparison. I'm afraid I agree with your first impressions of the hardware.

I don't think any iBook as ever supported independent dual monitors, except via Open Firmware hacks.

There's now a 1 GB memory upgrade for the 12" iBook, but it's pricey.

Biggest difference for me is the old G3 iBook I had was stolen so it was a new one or a Powerbook and the iBook was a bit cheaper. Keyboard is firmer, not sure yet if any keys will fall off as did once on the old one or if the ethernet connector will work loose as did in the old one but it does have some improvements. With 640mb RAM and a faster processor, it's loads faster. And Airport Extreme is faster too. I did get more computer for the money and I love Panther. Little difference in the powercord, at the connection, it glows green when charged and orange when charging. It also gets lots hotter than the original oval one did when charging. I don't notice the new iBook being any hotter considering the faster processor.

You gotta love the 6 Hour capacity between charges. I ordered my ibook 12.1" with 512MB upgrade and Airport Extreme card from CompUSA and am in heaven. The airport's range is fantastic and am considering the open-firmware hard to make it dual video so I can hook it up to my dell 1702FP LCD screen. Just simply zen!

Given the change in the hinge color, does anyone know if Apple changed the hinge to fix the cable pinching problems that have been seen in the G3 models?

G4iBook user

Dual head monitor support hack works with every iBook I've ever owned.

Display on G4iBook has just started to give me trouble. Waiting to see whether this is the hinge or the logic board.

DVD drive has broken once (3 months old), trackpad has broken once (4 months old).

Old G3 iBooks never gave me any trouble, this G4 iBook is definitely not up to the same build quality.....

The iBook G4 is a far more superior notebook than the iBook G3. Hardware: The new one has a G4 processor, the hinge won;t pinch the cable and the power cord is thicker and less likely to be damaged from too much use. The keyboard is easier to type on and feels more sold. The flat finish of the keyboard makes it easier to see, the translucent one's of the G3 looked silly and don't feel as though they were quite right for the computer. Tnhe slot loading drive reads and writes faster than the tray of the G3 (not sure whether it's the drive of the processor) and it doesn't knock into things and thereore won't get broken

Looks: The new all white finish is far more dramatic than the clear with a white background. The finish is flattering to the eye and is less likely to scratch. When typing it seems to hold your palms better. The new lettering looks more professional and the trackpad feels mroe responsive

Overall: A great little machine that blows away the competition. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great portable Mac.

iBook G4 1Ghz

Yeah, I agree with anyone who says that the iBook G4 is better looking and better build and overall specs. The keyboard is a lot better, compared to the plastic look of the G3 iBook. I personally like the G4 better. I do miss that fitful glow from the Apple on the G3 iBooks though. It does glow when in sleep mode though, so we don't totally miss out. I also like the processor boost and the maximum RAM. 1.256GB is a lot of RAM! Especially for an iBook. Larger hard drives make this computer so much better too

I'm planning on buying a ibook G4 and im not to familliar with apple computers i was woundering if the ibook G4 is the best Apple notebook if not what is

Question-I have a G3 iBook and love it. One recent problem-intermittently, the charging plug seems to not fit completely into its socket, and won't charge the battery. If I wait 30 minutes, I can plug it back in, and all is fine. This happens about once/week. Is there a circuit problem in the charging circuit, which when overloaded won't accept the plug? Or it is a broken socket? I can't get to the socket easily, even after I open up the computer.

Stephen Taylor

I have a 1.2 ghz G4 model iBook that I purchased within the last few weeks. I also have a dual usb G4 600 mhz model that I really enjoyed. The dreaded "angle of death" affected that book and I had to fix it once and now it has the issue again. I have the $20 part new in box waiting to do the job but don't feel like doing it again (6 hours to do).

ANYWAYS, this G4 is a HUGE improvement. Much more responsive keyboard (firmer). I only type around 70 words per minute, so i'm not sure how fast typists like it but I find a BIG difference. This 'book also looks more professional yet is rock solid and Panther growls on this baby! I upgraded to 768MB courtesy of a free 512MB ram stick I got last year that I had no idea what i'd use it for.


I have both an iBook G3 800Mhz 12" (Combo) and a 1GHz G4. The G4 is a way faster machine even with RAM taken into account.

But I have to say the G3 is much better built machine. The most obvious difference in the silver trackpad and and inside case as opposed to the cheap flat-mat gray colour of the G4. The hinge in also metallic instead of gray plastic looking. As the clear over white is better than the cheap white of the G4. No other product in apple has solid white plastic (the iPod, iMac, eMac are all white under clear), and I'm not sure why Apple has done this other than to make the iBook G4 look alot cheaper to the improved AlBooks.

In short, the casing of the Powerbooks have gone forward (TiBook to Albook) and the iBooks have gone backwards (G3 to G4).

Does anyone know if an iBook G3 clam shall type can be upgraded to a G4, and how to do it, what is needed,etc.

No, this mod is not possible. And I think the G3 'book is more FUN looking but the G4 Is more modern and subtle.


iv only had one ibook but i must say the g4 has a firm keyboard and is a pretty quick loading most web browsers, overall ibook g4s are pretty good little laptops

I've given the iBook (G3 Dual USB) to my son since I upgraded to the MacBook Pro (Pretty good for this iBook to go 6 years without having to upgrade once). Well, now I want to upgrade the iBook so my son and I can play Command & Conquer Generals against each other or as a team (His iBook and my G4 Desktop). Is there any way to boost the Processor to allow Generals to play?

Yes, this is one of my dream machine i just upgraded to a few couple of weeks ago.
I no longer think about things like viruses etc. I got this (iBook G4)from my friend without a charger. Well, here is my little inquiry--can i get to buy an Adapter Power charger (used one) for it at very reasonable price?

I have had the ibook g4 for many years. I am very impressed with it's quality.

I'm getting an iBook G4 from my local Cragislist and I hope it works out fine. I didn't see any pics
so I asked the dude to get me some if possible. He says the CD/DVD drive doesnt work, but
that's fine because I have an older iBook G3 Icebook (as well as a clamshell) that I can take the
Disk Drive out of and plop it in the G4.
As soon as I got my Icebook (G3), The screen didnt work, and I was P*ssed! But then
I heard about the G4 and the G4 sounds A LOT better and more stable than the G3.

Just typing on my new Ibook G4! what a great new technology! Love IT!

I like the look of the G3 better, but it doesn't serve much of a computer. Very little RAM, no DVD drive, etc. I personally like the old keyboard better, it looks cool and the keys feel better to type on. It feels softer in a way. I replaced the keyboard on my G4 with a G3 keyboard just so it would have a less-crappy look to it and because I like the old keyboard better.

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