If you can’t guess, this is the phenomenon that I’m experiencing this week, as positive reports from hands-on usage of the new, Intel-based iMac start rolling in. (There are some less favorable reviews of these new machines’ speed, too, but strangely I’m not registering those notices quite so strongly.) Some early adopters are confirming that the new CPU at the heart of these iMacs, while not necessarily achieving the quantum leap that Apple claims, are indeed very snappy: applications seem to be launching more quickly, scrolling is more “butter”-like, and Web pages are rendering more immediately.
None of that would be how I’d describe my now vintage 12-inch PowerBook, which has long been my day-to-day machine. It’s never been a screamer, but up until this year’s Macworld Expo, I’d always thought that it performed acceptably. Now, seemingly without any specific change to its configuration, it seems to ponder nearly every command for an interminably long time, and reading un-cached data from the hard disk has the feeling of a fitful, cross-town bus ride more than a straight shot down a highway.
Performance expectations tend to shift mostly with exposure to newer hardware or more CPU-intensive software, but I haven’t had any substantive time with either. Rather, if anything has altered my perception of this laptop’s performance, it’s the professional and semi-professional Macintosh press — and the irresistible marketing siren over at Apple. All of which is feeding directly into a growing sense of disenchantment with my current set-up, and rationalizing an increasingly inevitable purchase of a new machine. I can’t be the only one, though, right?