Purchased Portability

PowerBook G4
I’ve just purchased a new 12″ PowerBook. And tomorrow, you all can laugh with me. You do know what’s going to happen tomorrow, don’t you?
Tomorrow Apple Computer will announce a sweeping upgrade to its entire PowerBook line. The 12″ model I chose will be $300 less, but will have dual 4GHZ G9 processors with 10GB RAM. A free, 100GB iPod will also be thrown in as a freebie.
Of course I’m exaggerating — but this is what happens when I buy a Mac. Every time.
This time around, I got tired of waiting. First waiting for MacWorld in January. Will Steve announce new PowerBooks? No. Oh, but they’ve updated PowerBooks like three weeks after MacWorld before. Oh, OK then. I’ll just wait a few more weeks. Nothing.
Then there was the constant refreshing of the rumor discussion boards (I’ve since deleted those bookmarks). Oh look! They’ve increased the font size on the PowerBook details page — that means new updates absolutely no later than February 2nd.
When all is said and done, I guess it doesn’t really matter when you buy. New models will keep coming out every six months or so. You just need to buy and forget about it. In my case, I had been needing this thing for a while. I had to buy it for a few reasons — but I still wanted to get the best deal. It’s a fantastic little machine. A work of art.
I’m curious. Who has the worst computer buyer’s remorse story? I’m confident it happens to everyone.


  1. riffola says:

    If you bought the Powerbook within the last two weeks, you can go to the store you purchased it and get the price adjustment refund. Check the Apple website for details. This should make you feel better a little.

  2. Darice says:

    I only had a remorse when I bought my first laptop 2 years ago. I bought one for school purpose but ended up wanting to use it for everything like watching movies. But the laptop wasn’t powerfull enough.
    The thing that always happens to me when buying a computer(-parts) is, I never get it right away it’s always delayed till I go mad waiting.

  3. Bought myself a 600MHz G3 Graphite iMac, the high-end at its time. One month later, the flatscreen G4 models come in. Doh!
    Of course, I’d feel much worse for someone who invested in a G4 right before the G5s rolled in, but then again, there was plenty of information out there to know better.

  4. nedward says:

    I love the 12″. Portability is the name of the game. Great having a larger display at home to plug into, though.
    As a rule, the only “safe” time to buy is when they first come out… you can drive yourself silly trying to predict Steve Jobs’ whims.

  5. shr!ek says:

    I stop waiting for the ‘best’ time to buy a new computer since I found out no matter how long I wait it will always become obsolete in a matter of months. So what’s the point of waiting?
    For me the best purchase is usualy a month or two AFTER an upgrade has been released. Price are down enough and you don’t feel you’re buying something from your local museum.
    Even with G5 – or any other 64bits computer – I would still think the same way, since there’s nothing optimized for them.
    By the way, 12″ laptops are the best choice for me since laptop is realy meant to be portable.

  6. huphtur says:

    my next toy. (sorry, no apple, please dont flame me)

  7. a says:

    Huphter: The “Hollywood Silver”? Like…the Lone Ranger’s horse? They sure made the page look like apple.com, didn’t they. “You’ll think you’re getting a Macintosh!”

  8. huphtur says:

    yeah, the site is complete apple.com ripoff heh. but who cares, that hollywood pooter is insane.

  9. Joe McBride says:

    Sorry to hear that. I recently bought a Dell laptop, AFTER they lowered the prices. Needless to say I was happy! I was about 2 days away from making your same mistake though…

  10. Kent says:

    Don;t touch anything from go-l! Over expensive, over hyped, over-specced – meaning they say things that they can’t deliver…recent article on tech-tv.com about them.
    Buy the same laptop with REALISTIC and honest specs from http://www.pctorque.com (no affiliation)

  11. supercrisis says:

    Congrats on the 12″ PowerBook! I bought the very same thing a couple of months back and I love it!

  12. oli says:

    Waiting for new models coming out is just as bad as buying one then having it be obsolete soon. I’ve been waiting for new LCD screens to come out before buying a G5, and I wish I’d just bought the damn thing already! But, you know, I’ve waited this long…

  13. Jim says:

    I bought a 12″ iBook specifically for testing websites in Safari (I’m a web developer). A couple of months later, they brought out Panther (which I couldn’t have waited for). I wasn’t eligible for the cheap upgrade.
    Then they released the new range of iBooks at pretty much the same time, I could have had a faster G4 for £50 more than the G3 I got.
    Then Apple updated Safari with a version that didn’t run on my computer, thus voiding the whole reason for me buying the blasted thing in the first place.
    End result? A couple of months after buying it, not only was it *significantly* slower than the slowest thing you can buy new, but it’s not suitable for the one thing I bought it for. Fantastic.

  14. Neil says:

    After waiting eons for Apple to release new displays (scanning rumors sites, reading Think Secret religiously, waiting for a sign), I finally said “to heck with it” and purchased a 20″ cinema display to replace my 17″ studio display.
    It’s utterly gorgeous and was worth every penny, and I won’t even feel too bitter if Apple should do what I expect will happen and announce new displays tomorrow. Well, only a little.
    Anyone want to buy a 17″ LCD studio display? :)

  15. Dennis says:

    As Kent said above, go-l has been determined to be an elaborate hoax. Here is the proof: http://plex.us/outbursts/liebermann.html

  16. Dave says:

    My dad bought a Power Computing Mac clone the week before Apple shut down the clone project.

  17. Erin says:

    My worst computer purchase came my sophomore year in college. After saving quite a bit of cash for a laptop, I purchased a blueberry iBook.
    I turned out to be a mistake in two respects: 1. It did not include the OS 9 upgrade (I had to pay $20 shipping to get it) and 2. the new iBooks — lime, blue, graphite — came out about a month later. D’oh!
    I learned my lesson, though. When it came time to purchase a new desktop, I held out until the summer MacWorld and ended up getting one of the first 17″ iMacs shipped.

  18. I bought my 15″ two and a half months ago, I’ve never had a computer I love this much :) — TNT totally botched the delivery though, took them 3 weeks to get it to me! The horror! The agony! The humanity!
    Won’t somebody think of the children?!

  19. jgraham says:

    You may think that buying an Apple is a traumatic experience, but at least it’s cheap.
    Cheap? Apple?
    Well yes, at least compared to the price in the UK. The 15″ Powerbook w/Superdrive is $2600 from the Apple store in the USA. It’s

  20. jgraham says:

    The pound signs looked fine in the preview. An experiment:

  21. Tom says:

    I have found that the price of things is determined by their use. — Inevitably they are always too expensive, too late, too not up-to-date. Getting what you need when you need means paying perhaps the least expensive price.

  22. Tom says:

    I have found that the price of things is determined by their use. — Inevitably they are always too expensive, too late, too not up-to-date. Getting what you need when you need means paying perhaps the least expensive price.

  23. Dan says:

    I’ve got a solution. Buy a PC. You can upgrade them cheaply and easily, and it’s just like lego.

  24. Dara says:

    The worst that happened to me was, I bought a Blue & White G3 two month before they introduced a whole line of new G3s. And, of course, the new G3 was $1000 dollars cheaper!!!!

  25. Tim says:

    “I’ve got a solution. Buy a PC. You can upgrade them cheaply and easily, and it’s just like lego.”
    Umm, I think that’s a step too far, like selling your soul or something ;)
    Anyway – Dan wants a laptop. *Any* laptop of whichever platform will be tricky to work on, hardware-wise, IMHO.

  26. Jay says:

    I remember buying the original powerbook 15″. I lusted after this thing and finally bought it. I was all excited “400MHz of G4 power baby!”, then, the 600′s, then the 800′s.. and so on. Then I had all the problems of a first run product, cracked titanium casings, dead pixels, battery shims, etc.
    I’ve gotten a new one since and love it, although I’m afraid to buy anything hot off the presses from any computer manufacturer since.

  27. no says:

    can you tell me for what use you bought the 12″ powerbook?
    i’m thinking of buying one myself, but since i’ll be a ‘switcher’ i don’t know if it’ll be powerfull enough. we’ll be using; dreamweaver, photoshop, illustrator, ..

  28. Todd says:

    When Pennsylvania was having one of its “buy a computer tax free week” I rushed out to Comp USA to buy a first generation grey G4 (this was before an Apple store at our local mall). I needed desperately to replace my 7200/90 Power Mac and it was the last day of the sale. Of course the only G4 available was the floor model. I bought it. No CD burner, 128 megs of ram. Reformatted the hard drive, etc and it worked pretty good. Of course, the next month the newer G4′s came out and mine has been a piece of crap ever since.
    It’s funny you mention this because I’ve been seriously contemplating buying a G5 but I don’t want the same thing to happen as before.

  29. hadley stern says:

    congrats on the 12″. I’ve had one for a couple of months now and I absolutely love it! I think the best time to buy a 12″ is now. You have the benefit of it being a rev 2 version of the product (ie, all the potential glitches in hardware manufacturing have been worked out) and the G4 processor in it is really as fast as it’s going to get.
    Of course if they introduce a 12″ G5 tomorrow I’ll eat my words. My feeling is, unless you are willing to buy a computer every six months there is no way to avoid the potential of buyer’s remorse!

  30. Scott Vandehey says:

    Yeah, you’re not the only one, for sure. I bought my first mac a few months back: A beautiful 12″ iBook 900 Mhz G3 with Jaguar.
    The next week, apple starts selling the same iBooks with Panther.
    The following week, for the same cost, the iBooks all got upgraded to G4s.
    Live and learn, I guess.

  31. paul says:

    not the worst story i’m sure, but a few days after i bought my 12″ ibook they announced 12″ powerbooks and dropped the prices on all the ibooks. bastards.

  32. eric says:

    I bought a 15″ powerbook superdrive last November and I absolutely love it. No need for a desktop machine, this does it all. It would be nice to have a bigger display to plug it in to, but that will have to wait. I will warn you about font book though… I used the “resolve duplicates” feature and it ended up trashing a lot of the system fonts, thus rendering Cocoa apps useless (safari, mail, ical…). The only fix I have found is to just keep font book running all the time, which, of course is not an adequate solution. Be careful with Font Book!

  33. no: I chose the 12″ model because it’s ultra portable, yet pretty darn powerful. I have a desktop G4 that only runs at 733MHZ and I’ve been doing all of my work on it thus far (Photoshop included).
    The 12″ has a 1GHZ processor, so I should be fine — as long as I dump a little more RAM in it. I just ordered a 512MB chip from Crucial — and got twice the amount of RAM for the same price that I would’ve paid Apple.
    eric: I had the exact same nightmarish experience several months ago with Font Book. I won’t touch it again until they’ve fixed. It brough the entire system down. Argh.

  34. Erin says:

    Dan, a quick question…
    I know there are slight differences between the recently upgraded iBook and Powerbook you purchased… What factors personally steered you to the Powerbook over the iBook?

  35. Brian Hess says:

    I just purchased my 12″ PowerBook last week, and it is without a doubt the best Mac portable I’ve owned yet (and it’s my fourth).
    What factors personally steered you to the Powerbook over the iBook?
    You didn’t ask me, but I’ll butt in anyway. :-) For one thing, the RAM limitation in the iBook at 640MB, vs. 1.2GB in the PowerBook. Dual monitor support standard, not a hack and digital video output is nice, too.

  36. Paulo says:

    Ugh, I’ve been there too. I bought a refurbished iBook G3/700 for $1375 in Oct 2000, then watched just over two weeks later as the price of the model I had just bought slipped down to $999 — brand new.
    Minimal regret, though: Switching was still the best computing decision I ever made.

  37. Paulo says:

    Um, that should be Oct 2002. Obviously the snow white iBook wasn’t around in Oct 2000, let alone for that price. ;)

  38. Erin said:
    What factors personally steered you to the Powerbook over the iBook?
    I had thought about the iBook — but the faster processor, faster and more available memory, more level 2 cache were weighing pretty heavily. Also, the PowerBook has a DVI ouput so that I can plug right into my LCD. And there’s an audio input (for GarageBand :).
    It comes at a price, but….

  39. Nigel says:

    I bought my g4 iBook the second they came out to avoid feeling kicked in the ass.

  40. Stephane says:

    Worse remorse ever… I bought a Mac II VX 4 month after ther release it in 1992, it was so bad, it went end-of-life in a little more thant 9 month !!

  41. Davee says:

    woo hoo! i just got my 12″ a couple months ago and it was a real improvement to my daily routine. i figured the extra portability would make it easier to take with me, but it turned out to be so much easier i was making better use of it in general. i hope you’re as happy as i am about your new hotness.

  42. Darrel says:

    Oh…this goes back a lot of years now…I had a PowerMac 7200.
    I REALLY needed to archive some work, so I plopped down $400 for a SCSI external CD-RW (back in the day). I burned 2 CDs. And then never used it again.
    Damn it.

  43. Duc says:

    No regrets if you buy a PC laptop from costco! They have 6 months return policy. I currently have a lovely centrino model laptop that I can’t live without, but in 6 months, I can always return it, get my money back and get the latest and greatest model.
    Aahhh, the joys that costco brings :)

  44. Jason says:

    Bought an eMac in September (I think). Shortly after they announce the G4 iBook….which is what I really wanted.

  45. Tom says:

    I know how you feel – literally the day after I took delivery of my 10GB iPod they announced the total re-vamp of the range, with new touch-buttons and all. Personally, I prefer the old buttons, but it REALLY pissed me off!

  46. pjm says:

    I got a 12″ powerbook for similar reasons, mostly portability. I replaced a 12″ iBook (iceBook). Shortly afterward, the G4 iBooks came out, with most of the same specs but a much lower price.
    I’d still have bought the Powerbook, though, because of the significantly better video. My iBook would only support an external monitor at the same resolution as the iBook’s LCD, and only mirroring the display. My Powerbook allows multiple monitors at multiple resolutions, so I can plug it in to a 17″ LCD, track ball and full-sized keyboard and use it at my desk when I’m not travelling, and take advantage of the full size of the larger monitor while keeping iTunes and/or Mail open in the PB monitor, “out of the way.”

  47. David says:

    dude, at least you’ve got a mac. i’m still waiting for the day i can afford mine (i’m a student). but try the cheap upgrade option. let us all know how it went.

  48. ricky says:

    my buddy josh kept waiting and reading about how much cheaper his new laptop would be if he waited one more month when the new ones come out. the next month he would wait because the new ones would be old in a month and so he would get his cheaper. perfect plan? yeah i guess.
    finally after 6 months of this madness *and me telling him to get the f%*&^* computer already* he gave in and bought a laptop which by the way was crap. anyway, they told him the laptop would get there in two weeks. it actually took one full month for the laptop to get to him. *i promise there is a point*
    three weeks after he bought the laptop, which he did not have yet, he was running in central park and died of a heart attack. we were to meet in his apartment to go to the funeral when the UPS man knocks and delivers his lovely computer.

  49. Gambit says:

    I’ve been playing on one all day, it’s fast, very fast, I just love it.
    I agree with everyone, if you wait you’ll wait forever.
    I got my G5 1.8 as it came out and now its discontinued, for the same price you can get a dual 1.8, but I suppose thats the way it is with computers.

  50. David says:

    Worst computer buyer’s remorse? I bought a Packard Bell as my first computer.

    Top that, you “Apple has always been a better product” people ;-)

    My motto? Buy it. Use it. Forget about how obsolete it is 2 seconds after you get it out of the store. Because it always will be.

  51. rich says:

    I’m in the ‘get what you need and then forget about it’ category. My 15″ G4 PB is the greatest thing in the world. So was my Blueberry iBook, back in 1999…

    A question: what stops Apple bringing out ‘Lego’ Macs? ie. a great G5 body with major internal parts switchable? You could have a G4 in there, or a G5… whatever you like. When an upgrade comes along, you get a new card or drive or motherboard, and it’s still a Mac. You’d sell your obsolete components on to someone further down the chain…

    And yes, I know, I guess I can answer the question already: because that would be totally impossible, for about as many reasons as you can imagine… tons of technical reasons, as well as financial and business model problems for Apple etc., not to mention the whole philosophy of the Mac plug-and-play feeling. Just can’t have both worlds.

    But still… wouldn’t that solve a lot of these (seemingly quite Apple-relevant) problems? Can anyone shed light on whether this would ever be possible? Or desirable? You buy a G5 and they bring out the G6… so get a G6 chip, pick up the upgraded additional parts you need, and put them in the G5 box… Is it technically impossible, or are Apple (perish the thought) relying on this obsolescence cycle?

  52. mBoszko says:

    I had the QuickSilver G4s come out just after I bought one of the Graphite ones. Meh.
    Honestly, though, I’ve not had much problem with the ol’ buyer’s remorse. I usually buy used, or very early in the product’s life.
    In fact, late last year I bought a display model of the 1GHz 17″ PB, right when the speed bumped 1.25GHz models came out. Couldn’t be happier. Sure, it’s not small enough to fit in your pocket, but I finally have a portable Mac with enough screen space to really get some work done.

  53. Harlan says:

    I bought my 12″ 1Ghz in December when it was clear that the PB line wouldn’t get much faster until the G5 was available in portables, which -might- happen around Christmas.
    Of course I realized a week or so ago that they can release a 12″ with a better graphics chipset, and maybe bump the processor speed up to 1.25Ghz. In this case you have to ask yourself what you can do on the new model that you cannot do on the old model. Usually this is very little.

  54. I bought a spanking new Dell Inspiron 5100 laptop three weeks ago. P4 2.66Ghz, 512MB RAM, DVD+/-Writer — definitely something I was happy with!
    Unfortunately, two weeks later they upgraded that model to one with a P4 3.06Ghz processor and whatnot .. oh well.
    I waited for about 5 months getting that laptop, there’s a point where you just need to go for it.

  55. Dangermouse says:

    Simple lesson to be learnt: Dont buy Mac =]

  56. Trisignia says:

    All due respect to Dangermouse, but I’d say:
    Simple lesson to be learnt: Don’t wait too long buy Mac =]
    I held off to buy a Powerbook for months waiting for a new one, and by the time I placed the order, I had reasoned myself into getting an iBook. No buyer’s remorse, but I would’ve been much happier if I had made my purchase earlier.
    Enjoy your new machine!

  57. maura says:

    i also just purchased a 12″ powerbook, and i have the same fear. but it’s a beautiful little machine and i love it either way.

  58. no says:

    another happy owner reporting with a brand new 12″ powerbook! :)
    this is going to be a fun switch (i hope :)

  59. ubik says:

    2 years ago I purchased my 5Gb iPod for 499 Euros, the day after the 10Gb model was sent for the same price :(

  60. With Apple you always have this fear. Is part of their “buyer experience” :-)
    I just placed the order for my 12″ PowerBook today. And I can hardly wait to have it here while I pray for apple not showing G5 Powerbooks soon.

  61. Rogier says:

    The MacRumors buyer’s guide helps you with the odds on when Apple will bring out new models. I discovered this page when Apple introduced the G4 iBook and the next gen iPod months after I had bought the old models

  62. Luke says:

    About a year or so ago I upgraded my Dell Inspiron from an 8100 to an 8200 (I think … something like that) — faster processor, nicer screen, better video … of course about a month later (after the return period had expired) they released their wide-screen 8500.
    So … like any reasonable person might do, I put the 8200 on eBay and ordered the 8500. Only lost a couple hundred.
    I also just ordered a 12″ PowerBook which should arrive today. Can’t wait!

  63. Kit says:

    I purchased a Dell laptop about a month before they came out with newer models that were silver and teal (mine was black). Luckily, I recently redeemed myself by holding off on buying an iBook for a couple of days and lo and behold, the G4 iBooks came out. I bought an iBook G4 the 3rd day it was out, which was the same day Panther was released. But I still wish I had gotten a Powerbook.