Say goodbye to colorful iBooks. Steve Jobs introduced a totally redesigned, white iBook at a Special Apple Event. Sales of the clamshell iBooks had been disappointing lately. Unit shipments of iBooks were down 52 percent in the first three months of 2001 compared with the same period the year before. It was time for a change.
White iBook keynote summary
00:00. Update on OS X and notebooks
04:40. New iBook specs
12:11. New iBook unveiling
18:27. Digital Hub strategy
25:04. Education market
34:08. iBook video
Date: May 1, 2001
Location: Apple Town Hall, Cupertino
Steve was 46 years old.
What does the press think of the White iBook?
Often a search for the coolest design ends with the simplest. Witness the iBook, Apple’s consumer-priced laptop, which underwent a profound and much lauded transformation last week. Intended as a kind of portable iMac, the two-year-old iBook started life as a bulky, gaudy rubberized clamshell that barely fit into backpacks, with a carry-case plastic handle and choice of colors that critics–yours truly included–derided as “Barbie-like.”
No plastic dolls were in attendance last week when Steve Jobs showed off the iBook’s smaller, wiser exterior on Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., campus. After the runaway success of his superslim titanium G4 Powerbook, it seems Jobs has finally figured out what the public wants in a laptop computer.
The new iBook looks and feels very much like a titanium Powerbook that went through a compactor and got drenched in milky-white plastic. This is not a bad thing. The newcomer is 1.3 in. thick–a mere 0.3 in. deeper than the titanium model, yet has shed about 2 in. in length (meaning you can almost hide it under an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper). Its keyboard is still full-size, however, and the plastic-rubbery covering should scratch and stain even less than titanium.
Watch the White iBook TV ad
Best of all, iBook will save you around 2,000 big ones. Running from $1,299 for bare bones to $1,799 for a version that plays DVDs and burns CDs, it won’t break the bank like a $2,599 to $3,997 titanium model.
Did Apple make sacrifices for that price? Sure. The screen is only 12 in., though it has excellent resolution. And you have to put CDs on a tray rather than slot them in like bread in a toaster.
Otherwise, the new iBook is golden. Its standard 500 MHz chip is speedy enough for all consumer needs, and the FireWire port means you can even download and edit your digital home movies away from home. Jobs is pushing this as the best portable choice for education, but it looks suspiciously like the laptop for the rest of us too.