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You are here: MacNN Forums > Enthusiast Zone > Classic Macs and Mac OS > ipads vs late model g4 ibook

ipads vs late model g4 ibook
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Apr 5, 2013, 09:35 AM
 
for internet browsing is there much difference between the two? i know that neither one will work with flash videos and one has a keyboard and the other doesn't, but what all else is different? is general browsing speed about the same and if not, why? just curious. thanks.
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Apr 5, 2013, 09:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by gooser View Post
...i know that neither one will work with flash videos...
Flash works fine in Mac OS. It just doesn't come pre-installed.
     
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Apr 5, 2013, 09:56 AM
 
my understanding is that an ibook can only run 10.5 and that flash videos aren't compatible with that. please correct me if i'm wrong however.
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Apr 5, 2013, 09:59 AM
 
You can install older versions of Flash for older versions of OS X.

HOWEVER, an iBook is going to be balls slow if you want to watch flash videos, like youtube or netflix. I mean, it's going to be unusable.

What model iBook are you talking about? That factors in a lot with regards to how well you can use it to do stuff.
     
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Apr 5, 2013, 10:11 AM
 
no particular model. let's just say the latest model. the last 12" came with a 1.33ghz processor so let's choose that. just curious. but why will it be so slow? any other reason that i'm missing? is it the processor? vram? operating system?
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Apr 5, 2013, 10:20 AM
 
It's mostly going to be the GPU that's the bottleneck.

No PowerPC can handle HD video, period. You might get away with a high end Power Mac G5, but any G4 or lower can't handle 1080p, so that's not an option on a laptop.

For Flash, the GPU on a laptop is going to be the problem. It's just not fast enough and there's enough dedicated video RAM to handle the demands of Flash. Leopard is terribly slow on a G4 laptop for the same reason. You can browse and do stuff pretty easily if you use Tiger, but if you want to run Leopard, just be aware that multitasking and having more than one or two tabs open simultaneously in your browser will slow down the machine considerably.

If you're using a G3 iBook, I honestly recommend using OS 9 unless there's something you absolutely need OS X for. Aside from video sites, you don't need Flash support, and Classilla has really good support for modern site technologies like JavaScript and CSS. You'll find that the whole experience is just significantly better than trudging through Tiger (which, while useable on a G3, is still quite slow).

If you're using a G4 iBook, I would stick with Tiger if I were you unless you find that there's a particular application that requires Leopard that you can't live without.

When it comes to the general web browsing experience, a laptop - or a tablet with a keyboard and mouse, like the Asus Transformer - is going to be better than an iPod Touch or iPhone, simply because of the screen size and form factor. With a mobile device, you have to hold it up constantly to read, or put it in your lap and bend your neck down at an unnatural angle. A laptop or similar device allows you to put the screen at a comfortable angle without you having to hold it there indefinitely.

And, of course, for things like email and blogging and posting on forums and the like, you really cannot beat a real physical keyboard.
     
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Apr 5, 2013, 10:26 AM
 
thanks. so the problem is the processor then. my question was answered quickly today.
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Apr 5, 2013, 10:33 AM
 
Originally Posted by gooser View Post
for internet browsing is there much difference between the two? i know that neither one will work with flash videos and one has a keyboard and the other doesn't, but what all else is different? is general browsing speed about the same and if not, why? just curious. thanks.
To actually answer the question:

The iPad feels considerably faster and a more pleasant in every single regard than a late-model G4 iBook.

I have used my iPad 2 alongside a 1.3 GHz G4 iBook, and there is absolutely no question whatsoever as to what I would use if web-browsing were my primary usage.

Neither one will do Flash, regardless of what anybody tells you. The last version of Flash supported on the iBook is old enough to be considered useless, and any Flash content it might still be able to display will run sluggishly enough that you will have a Flash blocker installed within minutes.

In addition, the iPad has apps available for a huge number of cases where the website would still insist upon Flash; this is not an option on the iBook.

Forget the iBook, sell it to shif and get a used/refurbished iPad 2 or 3 instead. The 3 will be nicer due to the double amount of (non-upgradeable) RAM, which means pages will not need to re-load as often. The iPad mini is the technical equivalent of the iPad 2.

Also consider that the iBook is at least ca. seven years old at this point and a frail veteran, while the iPad is fit to be thrown onto the sofa from across the coffee table.

The only reasons for the iBook would be legacy software (but now that Carmageddon is available for iOS, that should no longer be an issue) and complex document hierarchies/project management.
     
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Apr 5, 2013, 11:09 AM
 
can i assume that if i'd asked the question about comparing a 2009 2.13ghz macbook running 10.6.8 with maxed out memory to an ipad that the answer would've been different?
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Apr 5, 2013, 11:20 AM
 
Yes.

Though for plain web browsing, I actually *mostly* prefer my iPad 2 over my early 2011 13" MacBook Pro, simply for the convenience, and due to the fact that the MacBook is "the work machine". The MacBook is faster and more capable, though, and it's nice to be able to play a video and troll the forums at the same time (on a larger external monitor, mind).
     
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Apr 5, 2013, 11:47 AM
 
ibooks hold a certain charm for me but i suppose it's time to close that chapter. i always plan to keep my imac g3 and g4 but i don't use the g3 for internet at all and only use the g4 for internet rarely. but both are more suitable for other uses for me than the new ones.
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Apr 5, 2013, 10:03 PM
 
gooser, there's no reason to retire your iBook.

I still use my PowerBook G3 a lot for IRC and general web browsing. MacIRC and Classilla in OS 9 are great, and there's something really fun about using OS 9 with all the clicky sounds turned on.

It really depends on your wants and needs. I can't stand using a tablet for a long period of time for browsing. It just gets heavy after awhile - like I said, a laptop allows you to keep a display at a comfortable angle all on its own.

I would not recommend replacing a laptop with an iPad. If you want to get a tablet, get an Asus Transformer with the keyboard - it's really badass and gives you the best of everything - touchscreen, top hardware specs, AND a keyboard and mouse when you want it. Otherwise, I'd recommend a cheap, slim netbook or, if you really want to stick with Mac, get a used 11" MBA at a decent price.
     
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Apr 6, 2013, 12:20 AM
 
shifuimam, i have been disappointed with classila on my g3 imac so i just don't use it for internet. and i find my need for portability has greatly diminished since i closed my business year before last so i sold my three ibooks. i will however be getting a macbook soon to park beside my g3 to use for internet. if i'm satisfied with it i may get a monitor to plug into it. and a laptop would be good for taking on vacations. macbook airs are not for me. my reason for asking about ibooks was that a former employee of mine has a g4 ibook running 10.3 that she says is pretty much useless for her. i offered to bring it up to 10.4 for her but after the answers here i will tell her not to get her hopes up. she's young, is heavy into facebook, and likes to watch videos.
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Apr 6, 2013, 10:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by gooser View Post
no particular model. let's just say the latest model. the last 12" came with a 1.33ghz processor so let's choose that. just curious. but why will it be so slow? any other reason that i'm missing? is it the processor? vram? operating system?
Shifuimam's explanation is correct, but there is a little more to it. Modern videos online are mostly using a video format called H.264. Generally videos are decoded by the CPU, and H.264 is quite heavy, which is why an iBook will fail. Yet an iPad will decode any H.264 video, and in fact, so will the first gen iPhone, which is certainly slower than that iBook. The reason is that the iPad and the iPhone include special circuitry that offloads most of the hard work decoding H.264 video (and a few other formats) from the CPU. Many Intel Macs can do the same thing by using the GPU to decode the H.264 video, but Apple was incredibly slow at implementing that, which means that you need a fairly recent version of both Mac OS X and Flash for that to work.

iPads don't support Flash, but there is an alternate way to deliver video using the HTML5 <video> tag. iPads support that, and in fact do a very good job. I've had my iPad for a few months now, and since then I've never come across a video that I couldn't watch on the iPad.

As for PowerPC Macs and HD video in general... My old iMac G5 1.8 GHz could show 720p H.264 video without breaking a sweat. 1080p was borderline - it usually worked, but scenes with too much movement could make it go blocky. H.264 is a very complicated standard with multiple profiles and levels, and to decode all the way up to High Profile and level 4.0 (what Bluray uses) is very taxing if done of the CPU, yet a $99 AppleTV can do it without even having a fan. Hardware decoding is the way to go for H.264.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Apr 6, 2013, 11:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by gooser View Post
i offered to bring it up to 10.4 for her but after the answers here i will tell her not to get her hopes up. she's young, is heavy into facebook, and likes to watch videos.
Yeah, Facebook will be a problem because of how JavaScript-heavy it is. It slows down the browser on an older machine quite a bit.

Really just depends on your needs. A lot of people only use a handful of very modern (with regards to web technology) sites, and an older machine just won't cut it.
     
   
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