Five Years of Progress in Laptops

The last iteration of the iBook G4 came out in September of 2005 and was sold until mid-2006.

  2005
14″ iBook G4
2010
11.6″ MacBook Air
Processor 1.42GHz PowerPC G4 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo (Penryn)
Memory 512MB 333MHz DDR2 RAM 1 4GB 1067MHz DDR3 RAM
Storage 60GB 4200RPM HDD 128GB SSD
Battery 3-4 hours 5-7 hours
Weight 5.9 lbs 2.3 lbs
Dimensions 1.35 x 12.7 x 10.2 0.11-0.68 x 11.8 x 7.6
Cost $1700 $1500

There are a dozen things that don’t show up in the numbers. The iBook’s keyboard is spongy. It has a smaller trackpad that only supports two-finger scrolling. The iBook’s display is much worse, although that may be due to age. The iBook’s trackpad is plastic instead of glass. Even with a fresh install of Leopard, it feels slow. Yet somehow I used it as my main computer for two years.

In case you forgot, that skinny ethernet port on the iBook is a 56k modem. It’s like ethernet, but data goes 1,800 times slower and makes angry noises.

I wonder what I’ll compare my Air to in 2015.

Update: 2015 laptops are better, but progress has slowed.


  1. Bottlenecked by 142MHz front side bus.



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