I’m now spending most of my time on an Apple computer, the 20″ 2.4 GHz iMac. I also use a Dell Inspiron e1505 and a Toshiba R100, both of which just run Windows. In my opinion, compared with the typical big-box computer (there are exceptions, like some Dell laptops, mainly the XPS series, and some other units by other lesser-known manufacturers) units by Apple hold some advantages if you’re deciding to purchase one over the other:
1. No promos
I like promo-hunting but lots of people don’t. Apple’s simply computer line doesn’t rapidly vacillate in price, and the relative dearth of customization options make it pretty easy to figure out what Mac you’re gonna buy. Easier than, say, buying a PC from elsewhere.
2. It can run the best of both worlds.
Macs run Windows too. And they run their own pretty-darn-good operating system. So while in the hardware arena ou give up some choice by going Apple, you get twice the operting system choice you do normally from a PC. Heck, the percentage is actually less…in a good way…x86-based Linux will run perfectly fine on n Apple unit.
3. They don’t skimp on components
As opposed to the PC manufacturers, which start you off with 512 MB of 533 MHz memory, a single core 1.46 GHz processor and a rather limited operating system, not to mention a lowcapacity battery in some instances, for Apple computers the low-end models are perfectly capable of doing everyday tasks very smoothly. The desktop situation is a bit better for PCs, since Apple elects to use a bunch of notebook components in their iMac(the only thing I don’t really like about having that system). But to get down to cheap price levels, PC makers skimp on components that Apple doesn’t, thus making Apple look betterand PCs look nearly as costly as Macs when you get similar features, at least on the consumer end of things. Macbook Pros are much more expensive than Dell XPS m1530s, but less expensive than workstation laptop models that Dell tucks away in the business categor. Likewise, Mac Pros are more expensive than high-end home machines, but are cheap compared with desktop workstations in many cases. :/
4. They DO skimp on bloatware
PC makers are getting better about this, but Apple never had any problems with it to start with. One suggestion that you might want to buy a .Mac subscription, and you’re on your way. All trial versions of software are neatly tucked away should you want them, but they’re tucked away so you won’t be annoyed if you don’t want them. Again, Dell at least is slimming down the junk they include with their computers, so that the darn things will run with 1 GB of memory and a rather slow dual-core processor in a Vista environment without grinding to a screeching halt, but no matter whether you put Windows or just keep Mac OS on your Apple computer, things are quite clean.
5. Mac OS is pretty, and so are Apple computers
Don’t get me wrong, Windows Vista looks awesome, and actually is much flashier than Apple’s Leopard OS. But Mac OS X has been doggone beautiful since pretty much the start, and thus applications built for the system are actually made to look nice, as opposed to a rather haphazard collection of Windows doodads. It’s probably easier for programmers to make pretty Mac apps, too, what with all the developer tools Apple builds into the operating system. Oh, and on the hardware side, while PC makers are getting better about this every day, I still think my iMac looks better than the Dell XPS One system. The Macbook also looks very cool compared with…oh…every other laptop on the market, though expansion capabilities, beyond memory and hard disk space, are nil internally. Yep, no ExpressCard slot on that little bad boy.
So if you just want to use your computer, whether that means using WIndows or using Mac OS, the Apple bunch trumps Dell, Gateway, HP et al. Though if you’re willing to work it a bit, the latter manufacturers will get you a better deal on a better system. Just be prepared to delete a few miscellaneous trial versions at the get-go. Oh, and your computer won’t be designed by Apple in California, for what that’s worth. Hey, I have nothing against anybody…yet…my next normal laptop will likely be the Dell XPS m1530. My next ultraportable, coming soon? If it proves worth the wierd USB and headphone jack arrangement, the Macbook Air.