Pros: Screen quality is excellent for a laptop
Cons: Airport card and screen brightness drain the battery far too quickly
My reasons for getting a laptop were school work first and foremost, internet second, and music and photo third. I have grown up with pcs, using them mainly for word processing and internet, and I was prepared to continue with what I knew until I stumbled into an Apple store, just to look.
Somehow, through the irresistible combination of sensuous design, a great looking screen and the promise of battery life far beyond what similar pc laptops offered, I purchased an apple laptop. I got the fourty gig, 900mhz, 256mb ram, 14 inch combo drive model, as well as an airport card to go along with it, and within half an hour I was surfing the internet and writing documents.
I have had the laptop for three weeks now, and I have yet to experience any errors, blue screens, missing codes, or the myriad other problems that plagued my pc for no apparent reason. The internet browser Safari is excellent, but appleworks was a pain to get to know from a pc standpoint, and so I went and purchased the new ms office:mac, which I would definitely recommend. The sharing of files between pc and mac ms word is seamless, but it fails when using wordperfect. The screen quality is excellent and very easy on the eyes after long periods, and I have not experienced the 'bleariness' from fuzzy text that so many complain about.
The operating system, jaguar, is exactly as promised; more intuitive. I do not know how to explain it, but there definitely is a greater ease of use and navigation than the pc. I just get the impression that what I could find with a bit of digging on the pc is buried deep within the system, never intended to be seen by user's eyes of the mac (or maybe I'm just pining because I no longer see strings of gibberish kernel code every couple of days). Load times for programs and web sites are roughly equal to (not greater than) pc.
The absence of floppies was surprisingly easy to get used to, and I have happily made the subsequent switch to a usb stick (also just as easy to use). CD burn times for the iBook were actually longer than on my pc with the same burn rate (strange), but it still plays in all my cd players so no big loss. The machine does tend to get quite hot after just an hour of use, though. I am concerned about the longevity of the keyboard, as it doesn't seem to be holding up too well to an average 3hr typing day already: it seems too brittle. The 'sleep' mode activates simply by closing the screen, something I found to be very convenient.
One thing you might have noticed is that my laptop needs are quite sparse: I do not run demanding video applications, I don't run my own website (yet), and I rarely need more than 20gigs of hd space, most of which goes to music anyway (somehow the formatted hd, with only the pre-loaded programs and ms office, manages to bogart 8gigs of space: what gives?). So why did I make the switch to mac? The look, the feel, and mostly the look. The whole 'never crash' aspect can easily be achieved by switching to linux on the pc (which I have) and the pcs remain the world standard for all things computer, so I caution you to question what kinds of programs exactly you will be running, and what exactly is attractive about the mac.
While I am in awe of the visual beauty of the machine, I cannot say that I would be any less pleased with a pc laptop. But, the one thing that really surprised me was that here in Canada a pc laptop with comparable specs, which would be a centrino right now, actually costs more than this iBook cost by almost 600 dollars.
Don't get me wrong: I am very pleased with the overall performance of the mac iBook, and especially the web browser Safari and iTunes. I still think this is a quality machine, but I would not recommend it to just everyone. Think twice, first-time switchers, and don't get drawn in too quickly to the siren call of computer looks!