USA Today: Apple iBook the ‘perfect student companion’

“Keep your major in mind. A student of cinema or graphics arts may be wise to consider a Macintosh, because those fields tend to be loyal to Apple. An engineering student might do better with a Windows-Intel configuration,” writes Edward C. Baig for USA Today.

“I strongly suggest a notebook with wireless capabilities. It will let students exploit increasingly common Wi-Fi networks for accessing e-mail, the Internet and the college networks from campus hot spots,” Baig writes.

Baig looks at Apple’s 12-inch iBook, “You could quarrel with the size of the screen (12.1 inches) and puny memory (though you can add more and still remain under $1500). But the specifications only tell part of the story. The iBook is a perfect student companion for more substantial reasons. At less than 5 pounds it is light and small enough to fit into a backpack, and the battery provides enough oomph to carry kids through four or five lectures. Of equal significance: the reliable OS X operating system plus the sweet suite of Mac multimedia software including iTunes, iMovie, iPhoto and iChat.”

Baig continues, “The machine is equipped with a pair of USB ports and a 1394/FireWire connection for, among other purposes, hooking up an optional iPod music player. Quibbles: Though the system is generally quiet, while I burned a CD, the combo drive whirred distractingly in the background, and the speakers are merely ordinary. Moreover, the system ran sluggishly at times, which is why I’d go with 256 MB of memory as a minimum.”

Full article here.

USA Today also offers a “cheat sheet” for buying a laptop, “Mac or Windows? It comes down to individual choice, as well as which type of machine is recommended in your field of study. But if you choose a Mac, be sure to get the latest version of the OS X operating system; on the Windows side, pick XP Professional, which has more advanced networking capabilities, over XP Home.” Cheat sheet here.


  1. Following computer science at university here the last 2 years, I can safely say that of the approximately more than 100 students in class, 0 have brought their laptop to class.

    Pen, paper and book/notes, that’s what you need, not solitaire.

  2. Behind the times? It’s your education system that is considered as “crap”, not ours. Btw, make no mistake about it, half of them do have laptops.

    Really, enlighten me, what value brings a laptop to a lecture? I can only see the negative sides of it being allot slower than just writing, sketching and hilighting. It’s distracting, and can get noisy with 100 fans turning on.

    Aah, when will people learn that electronic gizmos doesn’t help education, but decent books and professors will.

  3. tja.. so the students at your university have a laptop, but don’t bring them to lecture?

    I don’t know about you, but I can type way faster than I can write (and much easier to read, I might add). At least for me, your argument that writing is faster than typing is null and void.

    As far as fans… the fan in my iBook rarely comes on (especially when only typing or sketching), and when it is on, it is barely audible.

    Much different than a Sony Vaio laptop I use for work – you can hear its fan from across the room! *WHIRRRR*


  4. I may also mention another use for my iBook in lecture – recording the lecture itself! The iBook’s mic, even when pointed away from the instructor still picks up his/her voice very well. It’s much easier to skim through a digital file using iTunes than it is use a tape recorder or digital voice recorder.


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