Apple iMac w/Intel Core Duo: A User's Review

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MY NEW iMac

When making any large purchase I check online for deals. Amazon.com had a good deal, MSRP less a $150 rebate, free shipping, and no sales tax. The savings paid for the three goodies bought for the iMac: 1GB SODIMM memory (for a total of 1.5GB), 320GB AcomData Firewire/USB2 External drive, and a Belkin 7 Port USB hub.

I felt like a kid at Christmas when the delivery guy brought the new computer! The packaging of this computer is stellar. A lot of thought, design, and effort went into the packaging alone.

The iMac computers are arguably the sleekest, most elegant computers available today. Apple has managed to package a very fast computer and an LCD screen in a format hardly any larger than a stand-alone LCD monitor.


The compact monitor houses most of the iMac.

It took me less than 10 minutes to:

  • Unpack the iMac,
  • plug the Mighty Mouse into the keyboard,
  • the keyboard into the computer, the computer to battery backup, and
  • boot up into OSX.

OSX asked a few questions during setup; this was very simple and complete with impressive graphics compared to the forms Microsoft uses to collect information. When the computer was ready to run, the first thing I noticed was the absence of marketing hooey on the computer. You know how so many computer systems cross promote services like AOL, online banks, Virus protection, etc: There was none of that on my iMac! How nice and clean.

I hadn't used a Mac since a Mac Plus I owned in college back around 1985, I've been on Microsoft OS machines ever since, except for a very brief try on OS/2. In a broad sense Windows XP and the Mac OSX aren't that different from each other and they can both do the same tasks. Navigating around the system and programs, and things like system and programs settings took a bit of getting used to. My approach was simple: Try not to configure or change things to be like I'm used to on Windows XP, but give things an honest try and see how well it works.


The 20" iMac on my desk; Windows PC box below with monitor on background desk.

COMPARING WINDOWS XP AND OSX

After just a month with the new iMac, I prefer OSX to Windows XP. I now realize that it's the myriad of config and setup options on XP that cause people so many headaches. Windows is more of an administrator's OS while OSX seems more like an OS for users. It is easier to get around and do things in OSX. It is less cluttered than XP. OSX needs less fussing; you just get on the Mac and do your work without futzing with the OS.

This is a key thing for me because I'm a busy guy. I put in 45+ hours a week at work, I'm enrolled in an evening MBA program, and I have a wife and two young kids. My free time is in very short supply and I find that I no longer enjoy tweaking or administering my computer. I want to use my computer as a tool to get a job done. Even if I weren't a busy person, I am sure I could find better things to do than administering my home computer.

OSX has some built in features which require third party programs on XP, things like automating tasks, nice Calendar, Address Book, OS level usr/pwd data retention for use with programs and WWW, native PDF read/write support, native ability to mount image files, etc. Spotlight is a fantastic feature on OSX. Windows Vista is supposed to have Spotlight type function, and Windows users will love it if it's implemented as well as it is in OSX.



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