Why get a Mac

The more I use my iBook G4 the more I believe I fall in love with Apple computers. I recently realized my own love for their products when a couple of people, my own girlfriend included, said they were thinking of getting a new computer. My response was to blurt out “Get a Mac!” which is always followed with my justification for my near outburst like response.

Seeing as I support Apple computers, and I believe they are currently a superior product than equivalent Windows based offerings. I think it would be good to list the reasons why I would suggest that you consider an Apple computer for your next personal computer. These are just a few points, and it is not an exhaustive list of reasons.

  • The Operating System – Based on the BSD implementation of Unix, Mac OS X (Called Mac OS 10, where the X is the roman numeral for 10) offers a simple, clean interface that the user can work with. Instead of the confusing menus and desktop icons, Apple offers a “Dock” where applications can be accessed for quick launching. Since the OS is based on BSD Unix, it offers all the Unix/Linux functionality that developers and Linux users are familiar with. It even offers the command line interface though the “Terminal” application. Basing the system on this technology was a smart move on the part of Apple, as the system is virus, spyware and malware resistant by design. As of this writing I know of no known Mac viruses. It also has amazing system stability, unlike Windows that needs a reboot in order to stay stable Mac OS X can run indefinitely with normal user usage.
  • Hardware – Apple has long been criticized for its refusal to open their computers up for hardware vendors to develop products for. Unlike your home PC, where you can upgrade the soundcard, or video by swapping just about any piece of hardware Apple has a closed architecture. Meaning they selectively choose which components they use in their products. Rest assured though, this is a good thing. Unlike your Dell or Gateway PC that may use the cheapest video or sound chips available, Apple has partnered with manufacturers who deliver high quality products. So if you are a gamer and want to play World of Warcraft, have no worries, your Mac will be able to run the game.
  • Software – Unlike Windows, Mac OS X comes preinstalled and bundled with a number of useful and easy to use products. From video editing with iMovie, to recording your demo album with Garage Band your Mac computer will be able to handle this requirement from the moment you open the box. The default suite of applications that came with my Mac are; iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, and Garage Band. This is just the list of applications that allow me to produce some kind of content like a DVD. Every from MSN to Word-processing is supported on the Mac.
  • Compatibility – One of the concerns that many people have is compatibility, since Apple is not Microsoft, will people be able to take their documents back and forth from a Mac to a PC. Well have no worries there, I often switch between my home PC and my Mac laptop when working on documents, powerpoint and spreadsheets. Microsoft develops their highly popular MS Office for the Mac. Also most popular hardware devices like digital cameras; any USB device, FireWire device and just about all camcorders are fully supported by Apple. They also have a large list of cell phones that work with the Mac, so you can sync your address book with your cell phone.
  • Reliability – Because the Mac OS is engineered differently, and the computer has such a locked down hardware design, the over all experience from a reliability standpoint is high. This little 12″ iBook has gone across the country with me, around the province a number of times and makes the daily trip to and from school. As long as you care for your computer it will last, dropping a laptop from any vendor is not good for reliability. That said, the battery life on the Apple laptops tends to be about 4 hours of real use, unlike every PC I have seen here on campus where battery life might be 2 hours and most likely is less. The applications never mysteriously crash, or act unexpectedly. Errors will happen from time to time but the over all experience of this system performing when I want it too is positive.
  • The Intel Switch – For those who are just diehard Windows users and refuse to switch I have good news for you. Apple recently switched to Intel chips, which was the major and only stumbling block to getting Windows XP running on Apple computers. Since that switch they have introduced Boot Camp, which is the code name to a piece of software that will enable your ability to install Windows XP on your Mac. Recent benchmarks in this arena show that a Mac running Windows XP is 2 to 3 times faster than a comparable PC running the same hardware configuration.

All in all I have had nothing but a positive experience with my Mac and suggest that you seriously consider investing in one yourself. It is a different looking interface than you might be use too, and unlike most of my PC experiences it is more intuitive in use. My comments come as a first hand user of a Mac and PC in multiple environments, from software development to general daily use.

The biggest drawback in getting a Macintosh computer would be price. Typically you will spend a bit more in getting a Mac than you would getting a PC computer but the end performance is higher, the reliability is greater and the software is far more verbose.

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