In part one and two of this laptop guide, the focus was mainly on Windows based PC’s. That isn’t the only option though. Many people are aware there is this little company out there called Apple.
The biggest difference between a Mac and a Windows based PC is the operating system. For a person that has never used a computer before, the Mac OSX would most likely be easier than Windows to learn. It’s very intuitive and designed for ease of use. However, most people have used Windows for years. So there would be a bit of a learning curve. For instance, when using the mouse opening programs does not require a double click and there is only (technically) one mouse button function.
There is a lot of misinformation out there concerning Apples OSX’s operating system. For instance, many people believe that most software that runs on Windows can’t run on a Mac. In the past, this may have been true, but most major software programs, including Microsoft’s Office suite have been ported over to OSX. Even many game makers are now making Mac versions. Sometimes there may be a program that doesn’t have a large enough user base to make a Mac version. For those instances there are options. Window’s can be run as a virtual machine using programs like “Parallels” or you can install Windows in a dual boot environment using “Boot Camp”.
Another myth about the Mac is that they are immune to viruses and completely safe from being hacked. While it is true that it is less likely to get a virus on a Mac because virus programs written for Windows will not run on a Mac, there are viruses that are written for Macs out there. Macs also do have a better security measures than Windows XP and earlier versions since the default user account does not have admin rights, but they are not impossible to hack either.
Macs also have a better quality rating. They crash less often than most Windows machines, but they still have their issues. The main reason why Macs are more stable than most Windows machines is because of one simple policy Apple has. Only they make the computer hardware so they have complete control. Windows doesn’t make the hardware, so it often has problems with 3rd party hardware drivers that are written poorly or stop working properly when updates are made to the OS.
So that brings it down to the Apple hardware. All Apple computers are pretty similar. When picking a Mac, how much to spend is usually the deciding factor. On the low end is the plan Macbook starting at $999 with a 13” screen. Then they offer the Macbook Pro starting at $1199 for 13”, $1799 for a 15”, and 17” for a staggering $2299. Finally, they now offer the Macbook Air, a slim laptop, starting at $999 for an 11”. Prices can vary depending on the specs chosen, like RAM and hard drive size.
While Macs are very good computers, there certainly is a premium to be paid for them. Is it worth the price? That really depends on the budget you have for a new computer. Remember I mentioned in part II that any Windows based PC over $800 would be more than enough for most people. Then again, a non-technical person that often has their computer infected with viruses, the cost of technician fees may make up the difference.
If an Apple Macbook is the way you decided to go, there are many places around town to purchase one. There is an Apple Store in Kenwood Mall which would be the best bet. They have the “Genius Bar” that can answer any questions you may have. Also, if you are a student, the University of Cincinnati’s bookstore offers a discount on Macs to students.