Archive for August, 2009

Back to School Gear.

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Apple Culture

It’s odd for me to write on the subject of a “back to school” computer because when I was in school that would have been a thousands of dollars proposition. We got ’em when it was possible, sometimes borrowed one, pooled ’em together from time to time… and in a pinch, headed to the schools computer labs which mostly sucked as 3 years old was the newest machine you’d ever find… but those days are behind us… these days you can go as low as $700 for a competent personal laptop on the PC side of things. That’s what I’m told at least by my PC brethren… I wouldn’t know as I’ve always spent a bit more for a Mac…

Lemons Icon

Once all is said and done, it’s a question of price vs. user-experience… what’s more important to you? I would argue that no matter which of these two choices describe you… the answer is still to buy a Mac… and here’s why…

If its the user-experience you choose… a Mac is the hands-down winner… Macs run OS X, the slickest most fluid operating system out there, about to get even leaner and meaner with the release of Snow Leopard next month. Out of the box, a Macintosh includes software to manage your pictures in iPhoto… to import, edit and release your video with iMovie… Core Audio coupled with Garageband is a great start on a digital audio studio… Integrated .ZIP compression, .PDF and .DOC recognition. A world-class browser in Safari, mail client in Apple Mail and contacts database with Address Book… etc, etc… all of which can be sync’d and backed up to the cloud at Apple.com. Macs can open Word, Excel and Powerpoint files, so bust that myth… and any peripheral you want to connect to your machine over time will do so seamlessly… and then that one last big time saver… you won’t get any viruses. You won’t have to spend your time combatting them either… How much is that worth?

Closed MacBook Pro

Which is why I believe that a Mac is the price winner as well… how much is your time worth that you’re spending doing battle with all this invasive crap that’s trying to fight its way into your PC? How many additional dollars will you have to spend to equip your $700 PC with the sort of software functionality a Mac has right out of the box? And how time-consuming will the trial and error be as you fight your way towards a system where everything is working together?

That’s why Macintoshes cost more… and I don’t mind that they do… never have. I’ve always been able to see the difference in what I was getting for my money… appreciative most of the time just for the fact that an Apple Computer exists… and let’s not forget about the Apple Store… don’t believe me? Go to your local Apple Store and test drive all this for yourself… it’s free, what have you got to lose?

Open MacBook Pro

So let’s say I’ve made my point… you’re sold and want to know which Mac to buy… well here’s what I’ll tell you… balance what you can afford with the increased speed, memory and storage a more expensive model offers.

At the extreme entry level, Apple currently sells one MacBook that doesn’t include the “Pro” designation. This MacBook sells for $999 and includes a 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 megs of RAM and a 160GB hard drive… I couldn’t really recommend this computer to anyone other than a grade schooler or for a new computer user that’s truly starting from scratch. From there you move to the MacBook Pros…

Apple currently offers two flavors of 13″ MacBook Pro starting at $1199, three flavors of 15″ starting at $1699 and the sole 17″ offering priced at $2499… Bigger monitors, more cash… more RAM and hard drive space, larger video cache… more money… pretty standard in the electronics biz… the more you pay, the more you get. Click here to compare the six Apple MacBook Pros side by side…

And if budget is simply too strong of an issue but you still want to rustle that Mac… then the refurbished market might be a good place to go… get your search started here in the Apple Store as Apple offers the 1-year warranty as well as free shipping… Other options are here at PowerMax or here at Refurbished MacBook Deals…

And one last thing to put out there… in 2009 it seems odd to recommend a desktop computer in a “back to school” themed post… but for some this might end up making the most sense as you get more bang for your buck on the desktop side… and for those that need to do image manipulation, video or audio work at a more complex level… a desktop could seriously be the way to go… especially if the need for mobility isn’t that great… something to think about at least…

Happy shopping.

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