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Introducing the 13-inch MacBook Pro. The state-of-the-
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VERDICT: Macs can be considered the Lexus of computers. You pay more, and you expect more. But just like a Lexus might give you problems, and there may be things about the car you don't care for, the same things go for Macs. Do you drive a Lexus in real life, or is a Toyota good enough? Even if the Toyota uses the same engine and chassis? I drive a Toyota, but decided to splurge on this MacBook. I'm glad I got it, at the least to see what the fuss is about. This is my first Apple since my 1985 Apple IIc, and it's a very nice product. But I'm not convinced to buy a Mac for my next computer.
There is basically a rivalry between Apple aficionados and people who don't understand what makes Macs so great. The success of iPhones have made Apple people even more intolerable (and increased their numbers). What a lot of people don't realize is that Office is the top selling software for Macs in the world. So they basically buy an Apple to run Microsoft products. And if Windows was the piece of crap that Apple people say it is, then it would have gone the way of the Yugo by now, rather than being on 95% of personal computers. Granted, a huge reason that Windows is so popular is that it runs on computers that don't have a huge markup on their hardware. Don't be mistaken that the hardware is blessed by Apple; they use the same vendors. A Dell Inspiron 14R laptop has a 14" monitor, Intel i5 2.5GHz processor, 6GB 1333MHz DDR3 RAM, and a 750GB hard drive for $640.00. This MacBook Pro has a 13.3" monitor, Intel i5 2.4GHz processor, 4GB 1333MHz DDR3 RAM, and a 500 GB hard drive for $1,200.00. Both have USB ports, DVD drives, etc. So you're practically paying twice as much for something that isn't quite as nice, as far as hardware goes. Yes, Windows is put on some crappy computers (I'm looking at you, HP/Compaq), but you can't use the crappiest Windows computers as an example of Mac's superiority. There are a few other hardware differences, like the Thunderbolt port, which is basically a fancy name for their HDMI port. And they have magnets to hold the lid shut and attach the power cord, which are so minor they are hardly worth mentioning.
As far as Mac OS X vs. Windows 7, let me be the first to say that Windows 7 is a huge disappointment, although better than Vista was. I wish we could still get Windows XP. It's almost like Windows is trying to get too cute, a.k.a. more like a Mac. And Mac does some things much easier than Windows, such as the Family Filter. It's already on the Mac, and super easy to set up on profiles. With Windows, you have to download it, install it, then sign up for their crap, blah, blah, blah. But there are some things I really miss from Windows, like a right click button (you can hold down one of the keyboard buttons on the Mac to get the menus, however). And I like having my open programs on the taskbar in Windows, instead of that icon bar on Macs, where it's not clear what programs are open. There are some other minor learning curves, like the close window button is on the left instead of the right, and the infamous Ctrl+Alt+Del combo is some other keys, which I forgot. You get to scroll and zoom using two fingers, which are neat tricks. But I wish there was a way to lock the computer (like you can with Windows) so updates could continue to be downloaded while you're away from the computer. If you log off, sleep, or shut down the computer, the downloads stop. You have to wait until the screen saver kicks in to keep the downloads going and not worry about someone getting on your profile.
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As far as software goes, that big problem has basically gone away. Microsoft Office on the Mac can open files made from Windows, and vice versa. All the major programs are available for Mac, like Firefox, Google Chrome, Quicken, Openoffice, etc. And the Mac comes with some great programs to edit video and pictures. A program would have to be pretty remote to require only Windows. And if that's the case, then you can even buy Windows ($100) and install it on your Mac, so you wouldn't need a separate computer.
Basically, the reason I bought it is because my wife and kids are in love with their iPod Touches and iPads. But I don't believe Apple products have halos over them. I personally can't stand iTunes. Amazon is WAY better; they don't require a download, it's easier to group your songs, and you don't have to worry about trying to convert the files to MP3s so they can play on non-Apple products. I think the iPod Nano is not user-friendly with its scroll wheel. I prefer Chrome and Firefox over Safari. (IE? Yuck.) And replacing your battery yourself voids your warranty? Not everyone lives next door to an Apple Store to get the battery replaced.
I think that if Apple sold their Macs more in line with what they are worth, their market share would increase tenfold, but it looks like they prefer for Google to try to come up with something to threaten Microsoft's market stranglehold. For now, I believe the reason people buy Macs is the same reason that people buy Lexuses. They think their product is so much better to warrant the price tag. I plan to enjoy this MacBook, just like I plan to continue to enjoy my Windows desktop. But I'm not sure about the hype that they are worth twice as much as a Windows computer from a reputable manufacturer. And although Lexus is a better car, I'm not trading my Toyota in for one, either.