Thursday, September 23, 2004

Rave Review for the iMac G5

Walter Mossberg's current column is devoted to Apple's latest version of its consumer computer: The iMac G5. Mossberg really likes this new offering from Apple. He points out that starting at $1299.00, the new iMac is faster, quieter, prettier, easier to use, safer from viruses, and cheaper than comparable Windows-based offerings.

Personally, I don't like it. I understand that it is significantly more powerful than the iMac G4, but I'm unimpressed by the fact that the entire computer is stuffed into the display. I got a chance to see and play with a 20-inch iMac G5 at the Apple Store last weekend, and I think its new form factor is a step backwards. Compared to the iMac G4's flat panel display that floats on an arm, the G5 is clunky and ugly. It only moves in one axis (it can pivot to

angle the display up or down), and cannot be raised or lowered. It cannot be turned from side to side to allow someone at the next desk to see what's on your screen.

And where are the new capabilities for this "digital hub?" My life now includes digitally recording television shows, but the iMac G5 offers no new support for this significant lifestyle enhancement-- no TV tuner, no PVR software. Mossberg also makes a point that a built-in memory card reader would be nice.

I was surprised to find that mentioning to the Apple Store "geniuses" that I didn't like the new iMac was not unlike yelling "God is dead" in a church. They were shocked! What wasn't there to like? When I mentioned the loss of flexible display positioning as my major gripe, they were unanimously dumbfounded... they had "never thought about that. Hmm."

I think I'll just hold onto my PowerBook, since I don't really need a desktop anyway. But if I did, it would be a close-out 20" iMac G4.

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