I took a trip to the Tyson’s Corner Apple Store today. It was PACKED full of Christmas shoppers buying iPods, Macs, and accessories. But I was there to check out the new PowerBooks.

Why? Aren’t I content with my 17″ 1.33ghz PowerBook G4? Yes I am. Its the best computer I’ve ever had and is the answer to my dreams of combining a great user experience, rock-solid stability, full UNIX underneath, great apps, all in a portable computer. Oh and I love the instant on / instant off with the opening / closing of the lid. There’s more love here, but I’ll save it for another post.

I went to check it out because the new 15″ and 17″ PowerBooks have more pixels. Maybe it doesn’t seem as sexy as a G5 under the hood, but I think it is a great trend: towards more screen space on laptops.

My current 17″ is 1400 pixels wide and 900 pixels high. At the time, it was the largest number of pixels on a laptop that is still readable. I make that caveat because I’ve seen PC laptops that had a lot of pixels, but were basically illegible. So the owners tweak the system font size and Windows looks even worse than it usually does.

So I was concerned that the 15″, which is smaller physically, but which now has slightly more pixels than my current 17″ would be illegible too. The 15″ is 1400 wide and 960 high.

I’m happy to say that it looks great. I’d highly recommend it if you need a new laptop, since it combines the screen space that can make you more productive along with the portability of the 15″.

On to the 17″: On New Year’s Day, I had a bit of fun and made some predictions, one of them being that Apple would introduce a 20″ PowerBook G5. Well, we’re still waiting for the G5, but Apple essentially gave us the 20″ part. The reason is because the 17″ PowerBook now has the screen space, pixel-wise as a 20″ Cinema Display. If you’re looking for the ultimate laptop with the largest screen space available, then definitely go out and get the 17″. Also predicted, you can get a 7200 RPM drive built to order now. :)

And if you want an in-depth review of the new PowerBooks, check out John Gruber’s excellent Full Metal Jacket.