Mac Product Line

MacBook_Pro_Retina_2014_review

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In late February 2014, Apple launched the Thirty Years of Mac marketing campaign to celebrate the product milestone. This page, whilst written some six months earlier, is the equivalent of my journey with the Apple Mac.

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My experience with Apple Mac computers technically stretches back to my school days. When I was in Primary School, we had a computer class with one of the classic Macintosh units — from memory, it would have been a Macintosh II, which was on the market from 1987 to 1990. My memories of this unit were in the context of the class assignment where we worked in groups to design and operate a lego-set traffic light. Later, in High School, another classic Macintosh unit was available in the library.

Fast forward to the 2000s. The last PC desktop purchased for the household was around 2004/2005; major upgrades and purchases had previously been an annual occasion. Partly due to a changed lifestyle, my primary computing needs were work-centric. In 2007, through the influence of tech-savvy colleagues at Telstra, from the departments of Product Management and Content Engineering, I was exposed firsthand to the latest (and earliest) models of the portable Macbook product line. Thus, the seeds were sown and with the launch of the unibody design, I purchased my first Macbook Pro with a large 17-inch display.

As part of the transition, I utilised the virtual machine software Fusion to have access to a Windows environment. In 2008, with the support of colleagues at Telstra, we collectively worked out how to convert our Telstra standard operating environment (SOE) build into a virtual machine such that we could fully utilise our Macbook hardware and perform our jobs. Since then, the Telstra processes and standards have changed such that this may no longer be possible.

Microsoft Office for Mac makes the transition from a PC to Mac slightly easier, but at the same time, may discourage uptake and learning of the Apple equivalents — Keynote, Pages and Numbers. Over the years, the strategy (or lack thereof) from Microsoft and their email program has made a lot of people scratch their heads. With Office 2008 for Mac, the equivalent of Outlook on the PC was Entourage. Even today (2013), with the Office for Mac 2011 version, compatibility and conversion from PC to Mac just for Outlook — specifically PST files — is woeful. The import function within Outlook for Mac 2011 does NOT include PST options. Instead, consumers are required to use third-party interim software to complete the conversion process…

In 2010, my Dad migrated from desktop PC to iMac. Whilst we retained and preserved all data on the PC, over a period of 3-4 months, he slowly weaned himself off the PC and has ever since, used an iMac exclusively. He has since moved further into the “Apple zone”, and he uses both iPhone and iPad; both units being units I had previously owned. Thus, there is a role reversal in that for technology it’s a case of hand-me-ups.

Generally, I find use of a Mac best for multimedia uses, which is a big part of how I use computers personally these days. Having fully moved to Retina Display and high-resolution graphics models, I do find the viewing experience superior and PCs somewhat lacking.

The iMac Mini is an interesting device brought out by Apple. In recent times, I have discovered how it has a very practical application for being a cog for multi-screen multimedia presentations, particularly as part of Renewed Vision’s solutions/products ProVideoPlayer and ProPresenter. Some people have even suggested that it makes for a good multimedia home server, and offers an advanced version/form of the AppleTV…

All in all, the Apple experience is enjoyable and rewarding. Full vertical integration of iTunes to iOS devices and the AppleTV makes for a powerful multimedia combination. My entire family has migrated over the last four years to Apple products— there have been family dinner occasions where after dinner, we sit around the table, each playing with our iPads/Macbooks!

It is also a important to continuously apply all software updates — Microsoft Windows or Apple OSX. The background updating of apps on iOS devices supports this and will further ensure consumers stay up-to-date. Finally, a quick comment on the redesigned Mac Pro — the capsule shape is very impressive. In mid 2014 I had a brief look at this device in store. I think it will find utility in multimedia/multi-screen solutions like concerts and church settings, but only at the top end of town, where budgets allow.

2015 Update

Apple announced and released the 2015 line-up of MacBooks starting with a new 12-inch Macbook model, which sits between the Macbook Air and Macbook Pro. At the same time as the launch of the Apple Watch, which required the introduction of haptic touch technology, the Macbook Pro 13-inch was refreshed to incorporate that technology into the trackpad. In April 2015, I bought this new 13-inch Macbook Pro and managed to not just claim the 10% GST from my planned overseas trip, but also sell my 15-inch Macbook Pro (2012 model) for $1800, which helped to reduce my out-of-pocket expenditure. After the initial RRP of $3500 for the top-end 13-inch model, I was out of pocket $1400.

The Macbook product line has become a little more confusing in recent times given Apple’s latest model line-up. The main reason why the older Macbook model with in-built optical drive still remains an active SKU is because of its niche in the marketplace as a highly popular unit.

No discussion of Apple’s Mac hardware is complete without examining the operating system and apps that enhance the Mac experience. However, since software is a whole other business unit within the Apple organisation structure, I will instead point you to my other page with thoughts on Apple Software.

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