As many people already know, I finally took the plunge into the world of Apple for my computing needs! I’ve been loving my iPhone so much that I felt I was ready to make the switch. Originally I had been thinking about a new laptop, but after one trip to FutureShop, I immediately set my sights higher! In all honesty, the Macbooks didn’t really grab my attention as much I thought they might. They were fine… but I wasn’t looking for fine. I was looking for amazing. And then I saw the iMacs.
Quite simply, these things are beautiful. Every computer should look like an iMac. The idea of a single integrated unit does cause me some concern. I’ll admit that. If something breaks, the entire unit is useless. But I’m willing to take a chance.
When it came to choosing the right one, it was a no brainer. Bigger is better, I always say! There is a 21″ monitor model and a 27″ monitor goliath. Guess which one I had to have? (Hey, I only buy a new computer every few years, and I usually go for a basement priced model… this is definitely a treat for me!) I’ll tell ya.. the 27″ monitor is absolutely gorgeous! I’m sure that the 21″ model is also quite nice, but when you have the two of them side by side at the store… it makes the little guy look like the runt of the litter!
Setting it up is a joke. It’s one piece! Just plug it in! I opted for the wireless keyboard and Magic Mouse, rather than the wired ones. You might think that would be a no brainer as well, but not for me. I actually did put consideration into that decision. The wireless keyboard is smaller than a traditional keyboard. The number pad on the side is gone. I’ll admit that feels wrong to me, but I’m getting used to it. The other difference is that the wired keyboard has 2 USB ports on it, while the wireless has none. Why would I even care about that? Well… in order for Apple to make everything look as pretty as possible, all the inputs are in the back. This isn’t a big deal if you have something that you plug in once and leave it there, but it’s a bit of a pain for something that you’re going to plug in on the fly… like a USB memory stick. It’s not the end of the world to move the computer to get access to the back, but I think it would have been nice had there been one USB slot on the front or side.
As for the Magic Mouse, that’s less of a debate. I could have gone either way with that, but the lack of cords getting messed up on the desk is certainly nice.
As soon as you turn on the iMac, both your wireless keyboard and Magic Mouse are automatically paired with it, so there’s no configuring anything. It just works! Doesn’t get much simpler than that.
So what’s it like to actually use a Mac for the first time? Well, it’s not without its little challenges. There is a learning curve, but that’s to be expected. Some of the things that I took for granted with my Windows machines are different in the Mac. Again, that’s to be expected, but it still feels a little frustrating at times. I actually had to look online to find out why I couldn’t right click with my Mac. Once I got that straightened out, things improved dramatically. (note: right click is disabled by default with the Magic Mouse!)
There’s also the issue of my keyboard shortcuts. Instead of Control-X to cut and Control-V to paste, the Mac uses Command-X and Command-V. Not a big deal, but considering that there IS a Control key on the keyboard, it’s what I keep trying to use.
As for software, I think the only thing that I’ve found that I couldn’t use on the Mac was RSS Bandit, which I use to keep track of the different blogs that I read. There are plenty of Mac RSS readers available, so that’s not a problem. As for everything else, the first thing I installed was Firefox. Safari is a capable browser, but I’m more comfortable with Firefox. After installing the Xmarks plugin for Firefox, I instantly had all my old bookmarks again. After installing Dropbox, I had access to everything synched between my iMac, iPhone, and Windows laptop. (This would eventually change a little, but more on that another day). Add TweetDeck, Skype, uTorrent, and VLC media player and I was nearly 100% comfortable with everything that you could possibly throw at me.
I’m still a ways away from becoming an Apple fanboy. I have far too many years of Windows background for me to completely walk away from it, but I have to be honest here… it’s been a long time since I’ve been as excited to open a new computer box as I was when the iMac showed up!