Getting to the core of the line-up
Top Five If you’re considering buying an Apple machine this Christmas but you're not sure which, Register Hardware’s got you covered. We’ve spoken to Apple expert Warren D’Souza, retail manager with independent Mac specialist the Square Group, to help unwrap what’s hot and what’s not in Apple’s current line-up.
Warren’s been in working with Macs for about ten years and uses a MacBook Pro on a daily basis as his lifeline to the IT world. His laptop is used not only for internet access and email, but also for editing videos and keeping his vast music collection up to date. Of course, running a Mac shop also helps keep him up to date on the latest hardware, software and accessories.
Despite there only being five types of Mac in the range, each is offered in a number of variations, and Warren’s lined them up so you can decide which model meets your needs.
“The MacBook is very popular because it’s cheap, small and fast. Most customers buying from this range only want something for accessing the Internet, checking their emails and word processing. However, it’s capable of a little more, such as photo editing. The 2.0GHz and 2.2GHZ white models are very popular while the black 2.2GHz model’s the least popular - most people buying a MacBook buy on their preference to colour. Each model’s technical features are very similar, but not identical.”
2.4GHz 24in iMac
“You get more for your money here, such as a larger screen size and bigger hard drive - up to 500GB. The iMac’s more of a family PC, but it’s also popular with movie fans because of the screens options: 20in and 24in. The 24in model with the 2.4GHz CPU is probably the most popular overall, though. Customers realise that an iMac doesn’t take up a lot of desk space, but some still ask where the actual computer is because they don’t always realise it’s built into the display.”
2.2GHz 15in MacBook Pro
“A lot of professional users and those wanting to do a bit more than simply surf and send emails opt for the MacBook Pro. The choice of faster processors and more memory mean it’s better at supporting the likes of Quark, Photoshop and video editing software. We sell more of both 2.2GHz and 2.4GHz 15in models than the single, 2.4GHz 17in model, possibly because people want something a bit more portable and are put off by the latter’s size and weight. All three models have graphics chips that’ll be suitable for users needs as their requirements grow.”
1.83GHz Mac Mini
“Windows users often buy these as a way of cheaply learning about Macs, or to use them in a sitting room as a media server/DVD storage unit. Both models in the Mac Mini range are popular. Some opt for the 2.0GHz model because it has a DVD burning option, but most go for the cheaper 1.83GHz version. Customers do have to buy a display, mouse and keyboard if they don’t have spare ones already though.”
2.66GHz dual-processor Mac Pro
“The Mac Pro is for high-end use - it's for film editors and small businesses. Although it doesn’t ship with a screen, customers love the sheer power of the Pro and the 2.66GHz model tends to be the most popular, though it'll go up to 3GHz. The unit can take almost anything you throw at it, although it’s not for first time Mac users.”
Warren’s Top Tips for buying a Mac
"When you’re thinking of buying a Mac, the best question to ask yourself is 'what do I want to use it for?' and then 'do I need it to be portable?' Macs do crash less than Windows-based PCs and are less prone to viruses, while some find the OS more intuitive than Windows. However, remember that all five of these models are capable of running Windows, if you can’t face the swap."
Thanks to Warren at the Square Group in New Oxford Street, London
1. Apple Top 5... that may as well say Apple Current Lineup... And including the Mac Mini that will soon be discontinued in a Top anything is bad advertising!
2. I just got a MacBook. I also have an iMac. These are both aimed at "home" users. I use Pro apps every day. I've had a PowerMac G5 and found it to be too big. The intel iMac was basically the same machine in an all-in-one enclosure. I do miss the lack of upgradeability, but I don't have much space!
Same goes for the Macbook. 13" vs. 15" is quite a lot! I prefer them small. It does mini-dvi and has (albeit analogue) audio in+out... Keeps me happy :)
I agree that isolating applications for simplicity, management and security is definitely the way forward for business apps.
I work mainly with Citrix and Vmware and the reason is that for business i generally strongy recommend those kind of environments. Once all business apps are running on pristine citrix boxes or app servers on vm's that are configured to drop all changes to the virtual-hdd upon reboot and software roll-outs are no longer an issue it's amazing how responsive IT can really be.
Plus, the user can start his usual collection of craplets on the PC with not impact to the business systems and the two environments shall never meet apart from the craplet ridden PC displaying whatever's going on in the citrix/vm env. To me and most clients i deal with the flexibility and security provided by this is plenty.
And as a bonus, if it's Citrix i get to recommend staff to buy macs for home use, knowing that everything will work just as nicely for remote work, while still letting me play with macs to learn more about them in my spare time... :)
BTW Jenner, apologies about before, didn't mean to come across so deriding...
@Anonymous Coward • Thursday 29th November 2007 23:12
So, DOS then? No not quite!
In my first post on this concept, I suggested that the "old stuff" would run 20 or so applications concurrently, as far as I know Dos only ever ran one..... and very crudely at that, but if your requirement was to run just one game in a 16bit real mode environment, then why not? I am suggesting that we could have 16 or 32bit real mode, or escape from that and call 16, 32 and 64 bit protected mode apps, in their own genuinely isolated environments.
More like this: You are analysing a database containing highly sensitive data which it would be very dangerous to compromise. You are doing this, one record at a time (batch processing), removing for instance, bank account records, before you send the file to the auditor. Inadvertently publishing or losing this sort of data could lose you your job (unless you are a politician!). This application, does not have any networking/internetworking capability, because for the reason stated, you did not load it. It does not have any gui, you did not need it.
It is your lunch break, you decide to check your email and surf the web for a while. Easy... start a child window loaded with the tools you need for this, assign a different area of memory and a separate core if you want to.... any crapware that gets into this environment is completely isolated from the first, "highly sensitive" one. There is so little loaded overall, that there is nowhere to hide for any little viral monsters, or spyware.
Back from lunch you decide that while the batch process is still running (you only gave it a small piece of the available system), you are going to compress a full motion video that you promised a friend. Start up another child window, load the data, and set the compression running, this might require 64bit addressing, again, this runs completely independently from the other two apps that are running.
In other words the user is in control, not the OS, or some script kiddie hacker in a cyber cafe in Timbuktoo or Lagos.
As I said, this concept is not supposed to be a replacement for the MacWindows model, just an alternative. The biggest problem with these, is that they make your hardware a prisoner of the OS, they make themselves into a piece of virtual hardware.
This modular approach to system management is actually under development at the moment. Probably, in my old blokish and amateur way, and due to lack of space, I have not done justice to it either.
I have wittered on, completely off topic, from what really just started as an aside, for far too long now. So back on topic, the choice as to whether to buy a PC or a Mac, and which Mac, etc. really must be up to the individual. I was merely saying, I have owned/used all of them, and they are all equally poor, and it is not due to the hardware, which by any standard, is fantastic.
"Customers do have to buy a display, mouse and keyboard if they don’t have spare ones already though” says the article.
I interpret this with the following caveat: "However, if they do NOT have a display, mouse OR keyboard (AND they can prove it (terms and conditions apply)) they are exempted from this compulsion to purchase.
right, sorry i guess it's the whole toytown and "this-os-is-this, and this-os-is that and that's that" thing threw me off the fact that you were merely saying we can all learn from the past... :)
FWIW i think today's general-purpose OSs are hugely impressive compared to what we had just 10 years ago. Can't wait to see what's next to come out the toytown factory!