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Apple's new line of laptops inspire switch

By Shoshana Berger
Business 2.0

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(Business 2.0) -- I switched. No, I'm not friends with the creative director at Apple, and I don't plan on being the next "reality model" to mug for an ad. I haven't used a Mac since high school, but my PC laptop just melted down after nearly five years of trusty service, so when Apple announced its new line of more robust PowerBooks and iBooks two weeks ago, I bit.

Two things help curb my anxiety about leaving the Windex transparency of Windows. (Gates's branding team landed an apt metaphor -- seeing through to the back-end guts of the computer is important to anyone who doesn't have an IT department in the living room.)

The first is Apple's new OS X "Jaguar," which is UNIX-based -- or so all my propeller-head friends tell me -- and is more stable and more transparent than any earlier system. The other is Move2Mac, a new switchers' software from Detto Technologies that races like a bullet train, migrating 500 megabytes of PC documents and settings to a Mac in just 15 minutes.

Tempted by iBook; Bought PowerBook

Let's talk hardware first. The new PowerBook G4's blow-your-hair-back feature is a slot-load SuperDrive that burns both CDs and DVDs. And with Disc Burner software integrated into the Jaguar OS, I can burn movie and backup DVDs as large as 4.7 gigabytes right from my desktop. The machine still comes in a slick, sub-zero-style titanium casing with the best screen of any laptop I know. It's still 1 inch thick and 5.4 pounds. But now it packs a 1-gigahertz PowerPC G4 processor that performs graphics-heavy maneuvers faster than the 2-GHz Pentium notebooks I've tried.

It also comes loaded with a built-in AirPort card slot, and is Bluetooth-enabled (with an add-on USB device) for those of you on a wire purge. Though I went for the PowerBook, I was tempted by the iBook (Apple's milky white laptop), with its new 14.1-inch screen and less severe sticker shock (the bigger-screen iBook sells for $1,849; the PowerBook, a wallet-burning $2,999).

Moving made easy

The Move2Mac software made the whole process less painful than popping a pill. Using a USB cable, the program transferred my documents, photos, MP3s, and Web bookmarks to my new Mac. Best of all, it threw all of my Outlook Express contacts in a knapsack and made like a hobo across platforms. Switching ain't the 12-step program it used to be.

Move2Mac: $60; (also sold at the Apple Store).

PowerBook and iBook: Check for pricing on various models.

For more personal technology news visit Business 2.0.

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