Saturday, July 15, 2006

"Don't Buy a MacBook"

Despite my long-time use of PCs running Windows of various flavours, I have recently evangelized Macintosh -- especially to computer novices.

Apple's switch to Intel, however, has complicated this. The current range of Macs, which all come with iLife '06, offer complete computing solutions -- in essence, a Mac should give you all you'll ever need for doing the stuff most people would want a computer to do. But the Intel switch has resulted in a number of applications that aren't available on new Macs.

There's also the inescapable Windows-compatibility issue. In the run-up to my purchase of a new MacBook, I was fairly forceful in my recommendations for the new Macs. Someone to whom my Mac-evangelism was taken to heart is now somewhat annoyed with me, because -- in her particular case -- I've recanted my unequivocal recommendation. Two circumstances have caused me to moderate my enthusiasm:

  1. One of the main uses to which this person wishes to put her yet-to-be-purchased notebook computer is video-chat with relatives in Canada. Of course, if these relatives were Mac users, then iChat would be ideal. But they use Windows, and Skype is only now, I hear, beta-testing the Mac version of its video-capable VOIP application.
  2. I had expected there to be some months' delay before this person actually got around to making a purchase, by which time the availability of Universal versions of established Mac applications should not be an issue. At present it is an issue. Therefore, if she wants to buy a computer now, I'm suggesting she gets a cheap Windows notebook. She'll need to put up with the Windows user interface, but that's what she's used to at work.
This does not in any way diminish my satisfaction with my shiny new MacBook. True, there are some things I find awkward or annoying, but that's inevitable with a new computer. Nothing's perfect, but the MacBook is doing the things for which I purchased it, and doing them well.

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