Monday, January 23, 2006

Oh Apple... You are a hard mistress

I've been using an Apple 12" PowerBook as my personal machine for about 2 years now. Aside from some complaints about the size of the control key, I love that little machine. The form-factor is perfect for most of my personal use.

Recently, I've been using it to take some work home. For the last few years, I've done most of my development on laptops. Mostly, that was because, as a manager, I lived off my laptop anyway, why bother with 2 machines? Modern notebooks are easily fast enough to be used for development. My basic requirements were a SVGA+ screen, ~1gig ram, and a fastish Pentium-M processor. Now lets compare that to my little PowerBook. My PowerBook is a 1GHz PPC, which can't compete with any current Pentium-M. The memory is maxed out at 3/4Gb, which is usually acceptable, I just get used to long pauses when switching apps. The real kicker is the screen though. SVGA (1024x768) just is not acceptable for most modern IDEs. I don't really use Xcode, but Eclipse and NetBeans barely have space to show any text. I'd just live in Emacs, but I'm addicted to intellisense.

I've been holding off buying a new laptop because I was waiting for the big announcements about Apple's new Intel laptops. MacBook Pro to the rescue. But now that it is here, I am having doubts. With the Intel transition only just starting, how much software will really work well? How long before they iron out all the bugs? As Apple's first Intel laptop, how will it compare to the classic WIntel laptop makers? And then there are the rumors about much more impressive machines coming out later this year.

Then there is the other thing eating at me. I'm just used to using Windows. There is so much software, including some damn good freeware, out there for Windows. The Mac has some really cool apps, but it just isn't a developer platform the same way Windows is.

So, for now, I'm waiting for the hands-on reviews of the new MacBook. By then a number of the big PC manufacturers will have their Core-Duo laptops out as well. This may be the year I un-switch.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

why not get one and put vista on it, its only a matter of time before someone gets it to work.

12:07 PM  

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