The Apple Ecosystem

I switched from Windows to a Mac when I ordered my MacBook Pro in January, 2007. That would be the same computer I’m typing this on, right now. So it’s almost five years old.

Those who know me realize this is pretty much unprecedented. Before the Mac, I generally upgraded my Windows computers about every two years.

But after five years, I’m still happy with my MacBook Pro. Although I know others who haven’t been quite so lucky [2], I have had zero hardware problems, and it is on its second battery – not bad. Not only that, but running Mac OS X is a dream compared to any version of Windows – once you get used to it.

The biggest problem most switchers have is that “it ain’t Windows”. So – it ain’t Windows! Adapt! You won’t be sorry. I bet my blood pressure dropped 20 points after moving to the Mac.

Having said that, my MacBook Pro is getting a bit long in the tooth [1]. I think I’m going to have to upgrade soon. Why? Well, the hardware specs are not current. Upgrading to OS X 10.7.2 was a bit of a struggle, although that wasn’t the fault of OS X; it turns out that it just wanted more hard drive space than I had; I had to delete some non-critical files to make room. This laptop has a 160 GB hard drive and 3 GB ram. For comparison, my Mac at work (bless my boss!) has 8 GB of ram and 1 TB disk, and a 27” screen. And is many times faster.

After five years, the MacBook Pro is still just as fast as it was when I bought it, even running the latest version of OS X. Windows, on the other hand, consistently accumulates “gunk” and runs slower and slower over time (within my experience, anyway. YMMV).

I have to say I have more than gotten my money’s worth out of this laptop. It was expensive to start with – nearly $3000; but it sure has lasted.

One of the benefits of going with Apple is the ecosystem; how the various Apple devices coexist and work together. Besides the MacBook Pro, we have an iPad (original), and two of the iPhone 4. From the beginning, through Apple’s .me, synchronization between contacts, calendars and such was pretty transparent and worked very well, via the internet. Heavier duty synchronization tasks, like software, music, and photos, had to be done by plugging in the devices to the laptop.

With the latest release of OS X (10.7.2) and iOS 5 on the other devices, some nifty things are happening. Now the synchronization and software updates is done wirelessly, and mostly transparently. Another feature I very much look forward to enjoying is that this last update is the last one for which you must download huge files. The iOS 5 update was 781.9 MB, which is huge and slow, and I had to do it twice – once for the iPhones, and once for the iPad. Then, the OS X update itself was about 800 GB this time.

No more. From here on out, Apple will issue incremental updates that only change what needs to be changed. This feature makes me happy, because where I live, bandwidth is limited.

There are a great number of new features in both OS X and iOS that are really nifty, and iCloud is one of them. Now, we have the services of .me, upgraded and expanded, and FREE unless you need more than 5 GB of space. I LIKE iCloud. Take a picture on my iPhone, it gets uploaded to iCloud. Then I can go look at it on my iPad, with no effort on my part.

I won’t go into all the new features, because you can find many good articles about them over at MacWorld here and here, and other places. I just want y’all to know that, well, my experience with Apple has been pretty much all good. [2] May yours be just as good!


[1] “long in the tooth” is a colloquialism based on one way of estimating the age of a horse.

[2] I should point out that I know of a couple of other folks have not had quite as good luck as I have had, on the hardware side. So, as always – YMMV.

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