When Apple announces a new product I am typically among the first to proclaim how few rat anuses I give. Not only am I not an Apple fanboy, but I actively dislike OSX. I have also been known to make fun of people who purchase overpriced computers with far more horsepower than they will ever need. Given all that, I can not deny that I am excited about the Mac Pro. Given that it is so out of the ordinary, I think I need to explain this excitement not just to others, but also to myself. Don’t worry though, I won’t be buying one anytime soon.
The first argument I make against Apple hardware is that you can get the same stuff for less money from just about anywhere else. Since the Intel switch, this has become even more true. It’s not just Apple computers, even the iPod follows this same rule. There are numerous iPod competitors that offer similar features, and more storage, at a lower price. The Mac Pro defies this trend with its dual quad-core processors. I looked on Newegg, and it really isn’t feasible to build a computer with dual quad-cores. Right away my first argument against buying a Mac falls flat on the Mac Pro, as there is presently no viable competition.
My other major gripe with Apple is how proprietary their hardware and software is. More than just lower prices, the major reason I like to build my own PCs is because it leaves the hardware wide open. If I want to upgrade or modify, it really can’t get easier than on a box you put together yourself. With a Mac, such as the mini or the iMac, the exact opposite is true. The Mac Pro, yet again, changes this completely. Right on Apple’s website they are putting pictures of the inside of the machine right up front. They are actively pushing the fact that the case is accessible. Looking at the pictures, I can not deny, that is among the most well designed towers I have ever seen. I also imagine that it is much quieter than most boxes I could build myself.
Like so many other people, the iPod has also helped me to warm up to the Mac. While there are many cheaper alternatives to the iPod, I still use my nano. The main reason for that is because of the devil of details. If I start playing a podcast, pause it, and then synchronize with iTunes before finishing, I can play the podcast in iTunes from where I left off. This is a small feature, completely unnoticed by most people. However, I can’t live without it. This kind of thing is presently, to my knowledge, only possible with the iPod and iTunes in tandem. Right now I’m using iTunes on the Mac mini downstairs, but it’s horribly inconvenient. Having a Mac on my desk would make my music and podcast listening life a lot easier.
Even though I don’t own one, the iPhone has also helped to whet my appetite for the Mac Pro. My mobile phone contract will expire next year, and I would like to get a phone that does more for me than just making calls. I will have a tough decision to make between a Blackberry/Android device, which will integrate well with my Google applications, or the iPhone, which will work well enough with my Google apps, but will also allow me to carry fewer devices on my person. If I do end up getting the iPhone next year, a Mac in my room will almost be a must. I can’t leave my phone docked overnight in the living room as my iPod is now.
It’s no accident that I mention the Google applications. Strangely enough, it is mostly thanks to the likes of Google and Mozilla that buying an Apple becomes viable for someone like me. Any computer with an Internet connection and a browser is just as good as my own personal machine. Whether I’m using OSX, Linux, or Windows I feel right at home as long as I have Firefox. There might be plenty of things I don’t like about OSX, I don’t imagine they will bother me so much, as I will be using Firefox 90% of the time.
It’s not just web-based third parties that are making a difference either. Without the magic that is VMWare Fusion, the Mac Pro would have absolutely no appeal to me whatsoever. I absolutely need to use Linux to get development work done. I absolutely need to use Windows to play PC games. Using OSX to manage my music and for Adium would be optimal. With dual quad core processors, and a motherload of RAM, the Mac Pro, more than any other PC, can do absolutely everything I need. I might have to use boot camp to play a game once in awhile, but a Mac with VMWare Fusion is still more convenient for me than any other currently available configuration.
For the first time ever I am actually able to seriously consider purchasing an Apple computer. In that, I have realized something about Apple’s business strategy. People, especially those like myself, will always have something to dislike when it comes to Apple. We have something to dislike when it comes to everything. Despite this, slowly but surely, Apple products constantly improve over time. It’s hard to imagine them ever getting worse. You might never make the switch on principle, and that’s just fine. Whether I make the switch still remains to be seen. However, you can bet that at some point in the future an Apple computer will be capable of satisfying almost anyone’s needs and desires. While I like Ubuntu more, Apple is currently a lot closer to creating a system that satisfies all of my computing needs.