This article is the second in a two-part series. Please check out Part I: Ten Reasons Why I Hate My MacBook Pro.
It cannot be understated how important this was to me. I envied every Mac user who had a FreeBSD system under the hood because I know how powerful it is. As it turns out, FreeBSD is also my server OS of choice, so I feel even more at home in the OSX terminal than I do in DOS.
Making the Intel switch was a brilliant move on Apple’s part. I believe that this change has initiated an impressive wave of prior wafflers, hesitant switchers, and organizations who will finally feel comfortable buying hardware that will still run Windows if necessary.
For this reason, I think my Apple shares have a really bright future.
#8 Built-In Software
My Windows disc came with a calculator and WordPad. Oh, and MSpaint. Hmm, I can’t think of anything else of use that shipped on the Windows CD. Wait, Explorer. Does that count?
I scrapped Safari for Firefox almost right away, but let’s see some of the goodies that Apple provided that I use each day:
Again, this is just the daily use apps. There are probably more, and there are at least a couple dozen more very thoughtful programs that I’ll get around to using over time. I suppose Windows has Defrag. Yeah, I’ll give them that.
#7 Backlit Keyboard
Two days after Boot Camp was released, I drove down to the Apple store and spent two hours of quality time with a MacBook Pro. Before this point, I had no idea the laptops were shipping with a backlit keyboard. As small as this may be to some people, this is one of the things that pushed me over the edge at decision time.
#6 OMG So Sexy
It’s hard to argue that the MacBook Pro isn’t a well crafted and beautiful machine. With few exceptions, I believe that Apple manages to hit the sweet spot where form and function peak.
This machine manages to be brighter, longer lasting, faster, lighter, and thinner than my old Dell. In fact, it beats even the new Dell machine I was considering on every physical characteristic. Fully configured, it didn’t cost much more, either.
The aluminum case is a stroke of genius. Of course laptops are going to run hot as long as they have today’s Intel processors in them. Ony the smart laptop manufacturers make the entire laptop body a metal heatsink as opposed to a plastic insulator.
#5 Battery Life
The MacBook Pro users I interviewed before making my purchase indicated that I should expect 2.5 to 3 hours of battery life. Using the computer in a seminar, I made it through three hours of off-and-on note taking (with OmniOutliner Professional) and the system estimated I had another 2.5 left to go. This is proper power management. Heck, I left this computer sitting on the counter without power for three hours last night while we went to a movie. When I came back, the battery had only drained a few percent.
My old Dell machine would reliably gobble up a battery in 1.5 to 2.5 hours, no matter how much or little I was using it.
#4 Front Row
Where have you been all of my life?
The days of hunting for a site and selecting a player type and buffering and waiting and buffering just to watch a stinking movie preview are over. I’d never imagined that having a remote and turning your computer into your personal theater could be so sweet.
All I need to do now is plug my computer into the A/V system and I can show my wife movie previews just like they were on Tivo. I can play my iTunes library around the house without having to wear my iPod.
Now I just need to hang tight until the day Apple announces a version of the Mac Mini with a built in TV tuner and DVR software. That’s the day I’ll kick my Tivo to the curb.
I really do appreciate that OSX hasn’t had the virus exposure Windows has. I love that I can download and install any application I please with minimal concern for what it might do to harm my computer.
This isn’t to say that I’m going commando with my MacBook Pro. I am pleased to see the Mac community at large slowly coming to terms with the fact that they aren’t 100% immune to attacks. With increasing marketshare comes increasing scrutiny, and I for one have more clam in my system than Ivar himself!
#2 The Little Things
I appreciate the MagSafe power connector, ambient light-aware keyboard and screen brightness, dedicated CD eject key, and an audio out jack that glows red when it’s disabled. How about all of the tools you need to get started developing your own OSX apps right on the install DVD? These are a few of the little things that add up to a much greater experience.
I there are volumes to be written about the thoughtful little things that Apple includes in their products. Suffice it to say these little touches don’t go unnoticed by me.
#1 The Big Picture
The bottom line is that you are not your OS. I’m dropping Windows on my personal laptop and my work desktop (for DesktopBSD, no less) simply because I can. The applications I need most are available online or are portable to other systems, so I’m cutting the strings.
My new MacBook pro allows me to do all that while still maintaining a bridge back to the old system if I ever need it.
Apparently my last article struck a nerve with several people. Enough so to warrant an inbox full of flames and a couple small DOS attacks. I’d like to thank those who saw it for what it was: a rant against the things I’m having a hard time adjusting to along with a few genuine issues that I hope will change over time. For the rest of you, please look forward to my next Apple post tentatively titled “Jobs, save me from your followers!”
Several of the issues I mentioned in Part I are still concerns to me, though many may be remedied over time. A couple of my prior gripes have already been solved by helpful commenters. The rest are things that I will just have to get used to because my MacBook Pro is here to stay.
Thanks for reading my switcher story.