Should I get a Mac?

Steve Jobs is just brilliant. Although Apple has always had a very small percentage of the market for personal computers (compared to Microsoft) he seems to have a plan to increase that percentage through the marketing of other products. It started with the iPod, then the iPhone, then the iPod Touch. Now with the release of the iPad, I believe Apple is building up momentum to increase their Apple Mac computer sales dramatically.

I can say that I for one, feel affected by this movement. I don’t own an iPod, iPhone, or iTouch, but my wife has an iPad and I see the appeal in the quick and intuitive interface. And there’s much to say to the “It Just Works” concept (compared to the sometimes overly complicated Microsoft Windows / Windows Mobile OS).

Last year I experimented with switching from my Custom built Intel Dual-Core Windows Vista desktop system to a Mac Mini, but ultimately returned the Mac Mini for a number of reasons. The biggest complaint I had was the fuzziness of the displayed text on my LCD monitor. Microsoft Windows uses their ClearType technology which produces very sharp text on the screen, while Apple uses their own font-rendering method that results in a more softer or fuzzy text. I’ve read comments from Mac users stating that the reverse is true, in that the Microsoft text is blurry and the Mac text is clear, so I guess it’s really subjective. In my case, the Mac text fuzziness was just too much for me to handle.

The second reason for returning the Mac Mini, was that the OS was so different from what I was use to using Microsoft Windows. Now, I’ve used UNIX machines in the past for my work and I love the scripting capabilities, but the general overall UI for the Mac OSX was just too different. The equivalent of Microsoft’s File Explorer (Finder on the Mac) seemed incomplete, and a lot of other features in Windows that I used routinely were missing from the Mac OSX. That’s not to say I couldn’t get use to it and learn to embrace the better features of OSX, it’s just that years and years of using the Microsoft Windows OS has made it a comfortable environment for me.

A third reason would be the cost associated with Apple products. The Mac Mini that I purchased cost roughly $700 which had a Dual Core Intel Processor, 2 GB of RAM, 5400 RPM Hard Drive, and built-in WiFi. I can’t remember exactly what the Processor speed and disk drive size was, but it wasn’t very much. When compared to a Windows PC-based system, I was able to create a new system that used a Intel Quad Core Processor, 4 GB RAM, 500 MB 7200 RPM Disk drive with Wireless N Adapter for roughly $500 (with Windows 7 OS). So the performance and value is greater with a home built Windows-based system when compared to a stock Apple Mac Mini.

Finally, I had a big investment in hardware and software for my PVR system (to record TV shows and process them for my Zune HD player) which would be difficult to duplicate on a Mac Mini system. I could no longer use my TV Tuner card (PCI-based), and would need to get a USB-based capture system. Then there’s the software to drive the PVR, which currently I use Microsoft Media Center (included with Windows 7). Of course, I could probably search around and find something that would be comparable but it seems I might have some problems getting my converted media onto my Zune (since there’s no equivalent Zune syncing software for the Mac (so far as I know..)).

The reason why I’m now reconsidering getting a Mac, is for software development. It might be that I invest in a Mac Mini as a secondary system, used for developing Mac desktop apps, iPhone apps, and iPad apps. I get a lot of users asking for equivalent apps that I have for WebOS to run on the Mac/iPhone/iPad products, so that may be reason enough.

So to prepare myself I’ve order some Mac programming books from to educate myself on how to write Mac apps. It should be a good primer so I can decide whether it’s worth the investment in a Mac Mini. Wish me luck, and if you have any suggestions for Mac programming books, tips, etc. please let me know! 🙂


About webosdev

Mobile Devices Developer, specializing in creating apps for the Palm WebOS devices.
This entry was posted in Apple, Computer Hardware, iPad, Programming and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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