I continued the progression into Apple land. First came the 2nd gen iPod Nano for my wife, then the 3rd gen iPod Nano for me, then the Apple TV, and now this past week, a MacBook Pro. This is a life long Windows users first impressions of using a Mac.
Friday, April 11, 2008
I can sum it up in three words; easy, pretty, and just works (ok, four words). I have been bombarded by coworkers who use Macs for some time so when I decided it was time for a new laptop I was ready to try it. Our current laptop is a Compaq 15.4" that weighs 8 lbs and was never meant to be a 'portable' computer. Just one to use around the house. I wanted one that was more portable and the Macs fit that bill.
It isn't that a Mac can do anything more than a PC can but it does everything better and more eloquently. Apple has thought of the little things from the magnetic power connecter, illuminated keyboard (on the pro), built in camera that works out of the box, and simple clean design. PC makers try to tack on more features to their laptops often making them confusing. Apple adds more features without losing the simplicity. They actually put thought into the design.
Operating within the OS does take some change of mindset from the Windows world. Like the concept of installing apps is in most cases as easy as dragging an icon to the applications folder. Clicking on the X doesn't necessarily close an application so you get familiar with the Apple - Q key combo to close an app. Although leaving an app running in the background isn't necessarily a bad thing in OS X. The preference dialogs don't have OK, Cancel, or Apply buttons. You just set and forget. This is all part of the simple elegant design.
It still has it's faults like everything else. I installed a 3rd party desktop widget which caused some slow return from sleep issues. I have the issue where a noise is emitted through the audio out port when the laptop is connected to the power supply and no audio is playing. I believe this is due to some power saving feature where the line amp is turned off and lets some noise in from the power supply. Once you play audio the noise goes away. Not a big deal but I have started using the MacBook to play pre-service music at church through the sound board. I just have to remember to mute the channel when I'm not playing anything.
There is no right mouse button on the laptop but I got used to putting 2 fingers on the trackpad and clicking the button to bring up right-click menus. There is no separate Backspace and Delete key. There is one Delete key which actually functions as a backspace key. Not a big deal for me but I know there are people that hate it. There is no Insert key which I have found distracting. I use Lotus Notes and the Insert key toggles the message read and unread indicator. I use this quite a bit. There is probably some other key combo to emulate this.
I'm avoiding installing XP in a partition because I want to maximize OS X. I can run most programs I use on OS X including Lotus Notes and if I need a Windows OS I have RDC installed so I can just remote to another machine. I'm not planning on transitioning my photo and video editing to the MacBook. I use Adobe products which run on OS X but I would rather wait for an iMac to do that stuff rather than do it on a laptop. I will take the MacBook on vacations though as a temporary computing platform for photos and video. Flickr also has an uploader app for OS X.
Anyway, these are my initial impressions. I can seen Macs taking over our house in the not so distant future. I just have to convince my wife now. That shouldn't be too hard if I can stop using it long enough for her to try it. :)