I will jump on the Apple discussion bandwagon and detail pros and cons of my Macbook and its Mac OS. I don’t do anything special with my computer, like music or photo editing, so this is from a casual-user standpoint. Before my Macbook, I had a Sony Vaio desktop for 4 years. And previous to that, I used my family’s HP. And previous to that, we had an Apple (some 1997 version).
Specifications (I’m kind of computer illiterate, but this may mean something to you.): Macbook 1,1 (2006); Mac OS X version 10.4.9; 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo; 512 MB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 55.7 GB HD
1. Overall Look and Feel: I will admit I am one of those presentation-obsessed types that Matt was talking about previously. Not only do I find my computer pleasing to look at, but I also find the simple design to feel nice in my hands. The smooth design is also functional in that it lacks any latches that might go awry or covers that would eventually get lost.
2. Mousepad: As much as the right click on a PC is nice, I think I prefer the single click mouse, especically on a laptop, with the option of using the “ctr” key, which I rarely need due to quick keys, for all right click functions. I hate when I open a PC laptop and there is some stupid-looking knob erroneously located between the “g” and “h” keys. The feature I love most about the mousepad, which I’m not sure if it has already been implemented in all laptops, is that you can switch to two fingers for easy scrolling–a simple idea that I use constantly.
3. Keypad: The keypad is raised at the appropriate level for practicality and ease of use. I am guilty of eating by my computer and, so far, so clean.
4. Quick Keys: This is a pro on any computer. Toggling with “apple, tab” and clearing the desktop with “F11” are my favorites.
5. Dashboard: This idea is pretty genius. By pressing “F12,” a ghost-like, second screen appears from no where and applications called widgets appear for your convenience. You can download a widget for pretty much any need or want you could imagine, from football scores to calculators to world maps. I keep it simple with a calculator and dictionary.
6. Dock: Located at the bottom of the screen, hidden or not hidden, is a bar that has shortcuts to any frequently used application. I pretty much only use the dock to access my most used applications.
1. Price: Macbooks will cost you an arm and a leg. At a thousand odd dollars, you could buy a much more powerful PC.
2. Settings: This is probably just my computer ineptness, but I feel like I have no control over what the Mac does some times. When I plug in my camera, it automatically opens iPhoto–a program I find to be completely useless and tries to make me put all my pictures into some folder that I have no idea where it is located on my computer. I really dislike using programs that are made to simplify what you are doing and losing control of where things are archived on the HD.
3. Graphic Editing: Basically, I really miss MS Paint. With the Preview program, I can do little more than rotate and crop. I suspect that Apple assumes that everyone who owns a Mac, owns Photoshop.
4. Speed: My computer can’t handle many applications at once and I spend a lot of idle moments, waiting for programs to load.
5. Memory Card Inputs: Pretty much all drives are covered: DVD/CD, USB, internet, headphones, etc. I just wish there was a slot for my camera memory card like my old Vaio had.
Conclusion: I can’t really make a say on if I’ll be a repeat customer since I’m not sure how advanced computers will be in a few years when I will be due for a replacement. I’m sure 2011’s bottom-of-the-line model will be fast and large enough by my standards right now, but maybe I will expect the super, amazing, top-of-the-line computer that I probably won’t be able to afford in the future. If things are as they are now (with PC offering faster speeds and larger HDs for less $$$), I would probably go with a PC. On the other hand, if the gap between cost and product decreases, I would probably go with a Mac.
But, the real question: do I recommend a Macbook to the casual user in 2008? Yes, if you have the extra dough to throw around, then, by all means, purchase a nice, fast model–along with Photoshop. If you don’t have a lot of money, forgo convenience and beauty, and buy a PC that is larger and faster for less money.