September 30, 2006

The Falling Dollar

Posted in Commentary at 7:54 pm by Michael Sweeney Media


Macs have always held their prices extremely well. Even more so if you had the original box, packing, stickers and Apple store receipt 🙂 But in recent months I have seen on that great marketplace, eBay, that Mac prices have been falling rapidly for the “older” G4 hardware and even some of the G5 stuff. Within 4 months I saw the Powerbook fall over 300 hundred dollars in average sale price. I know because I have one I’m trying to sell. iBooks is the same story, G4 towers are slipping in price and so on. The mini’s have held their ground even the G4s and I think it’s the great form factor of the mini that keeps them very desirable. The Powerbooks are an interesting lesson in marketing and how you can score a real deal if you can convince yourself to live without the latest and greatest. Let me explain to you my method of my madness.

My Powerbook (one of them) is a 2006 version with the high rez screen, 1.6GHz PowerPC CPU, 128 Meg of video ram, 100 gig drive, gig of RAM and a PCMCIA slot. A relative antique to hear everyone talk but that is where they are very sadly mistaken. For my measly 1200 bucks, I got the Mac, an iSight camera, box, docs, cables and 3 years of extended warranty. I also get a machine that clocks in very close to the Macbook Pro on several of my key apps like Office and Photoshop. Even ripping a DVD is close enough to be livable but the “coup d’ grace” is the PCMCIA slot. Why? Why indeed, because children, I can use my EVDO card on my Powerbook and have a high internet connection virtually anywhere for 60 bucks a month over paying someone like Starbucks ten bucks a day for 802.11B/G access. And that is IF I can find a hotspot or an open acess point to borrow time on. Did I just say that out loud? Damn. When I was traveling to Rome this past month, sitting in the faaarrr terminal without ANY 802.11 access to be seen, I just popped in my EVDO and off I went. Unlike the Macbook Pro which has the “express flash” slot and there is not yet a EVDO card supported for or by Apple widely available. Verizon is rumored to have one and you need to hack OSX to get it to work so I guess we could count that one. But given the MBP is 2200 bucks and the “old” Powerbook with slight better resolution and lower heat is about 1,000 bucks, unless you really, really need the MBP, the old system is a much better deal. No bad motherboards to deal with, no overheating, no sleep issues and so on. THe “old” system is very stable and well known now. Not too mention that if a thief sees the MBP and an old Powerbook, he/she will probably steal the MBP.

So what have I given up? Well, I use an Intel mini every day and I use different apps to run some Windoze crap I have to use at times. The overwhelming favorite way to run Windows is Parallels. It works and it is fast. If I had to run Windows on my notebook, I would get the MBP and Parallels, no questions but the truth is many of my day to day activities run fine on Rosetta and the G4. Remote Desktop, Office, Photoshop, VNC, MacJournal, iPhoto just to name a few all work great on the older systems and well enough on the Intel. SO the only real reason is Windows and for work, I can justify it.

So, who else thinks that their G4 Powerbook is the deal of the century? Or their iMac G5? Not to say I’m not lusting for a MacPro, I am but it will have to wait.


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