Why I both love and hate my Mac
Disclaimer: Although I do own a Mac I am by no means a Mac fanboy. I believe that each OS has its good and bad points but being the owner of a Mac for several years I believe that I am qualified to make a call as to why I love it and why I sometimes hate it.
I’d like to put one thing to bed before we start with this, a common misconception people think is that when you sign up to Apple then you only really begin to feel the benefits if you always choose to use Apple software. This is really not true, there are some benefits of doing this but not always. I personally have an Android based phone and use online storage like DropBox and Google Drive to store any information I need to access everywhere. The main reason I use these services over Apple’s Cloud system is that I really don’t feel like it’s good value for money at all. I also use Google to store my address book since that can also work across multiple devices and anywhere I have access to the internet. Music wise I have yet to be drawn into Apple Music. Google provide a pretty good service that allows me to keep 50 GB in my music account before they charge me, but my music purchasing platform of choice (right now) is Amazon. The great thing about Amazon Music is that it’s DRM free which means that I own the music that I buy. Not to mention if you already have a Prime account you get streaming music thrown in. Compare this to Apple that has to constantly make calls back to the internet to ensure that the purchase sitting on my internal storage is real. I have yet to be utterly convinced with a service like Spotify or Deezer, yes they provide a good range of music and if you have unlimited data and a good connection it’s a great way to listen to music on the go.
Being an internet developer, I use a lot of technology that works alongside major web servers. A fair majority of the servers out there use some brand of Linux or another and although it is entirely possible to develop and deliver websites using Microsoft solutions but it’s not where my expertise lies. Now I can use a Windows or Linux machine to put together a development environment, especially if I use something like a Virtual Machine. However, if I had to choose between all three I would choose a Mac or Linux machine, because it is closer to the technology I am working with.
Free OS Updates
Okay, you could argue that Linux updates have been free for a very long time (and you would be right). You could also argue that Windows 10 was the first OS that Microsoft have issued for free but I would argue the massive condition that you need to take advantage of that before a certain time. Since 10.10 updates of Apple’s operating system have been free, no if’s no but’s, just free and thank goodness because their hardware costs so much.
Backlit Keyboard as Standard
Yes, these are becoming more popular and if you spend enough money on any laptop, then it’s likely that this will come as a standard option on yours too. Having one of these as standard means I can still easily type in low light conditions and I love that.
It’s essentially Linux but easier
I have used Linux for years, I still would try to choose it over Windows and this is mostly because I do so much web development. My main issue with Linux is that if you don’t quite know what you’re doing then it is very easy to break and then fixing it can be a quite tricky business. I remember a headache I used to have to get certain video or sound boards working in Linux and yes this has improved a great deal but there have been a few times where the OS has just refused to boot and then I am thrown into a very user unfriendly safe mode, using my phone to google what the problem might be and a way to fix it. This may be a very person thing but I want to be able to just use my computer, I don’t want to have to spend hours trying to fix some random thing that has gone wrong in the OS somewhere. I would much rather spend my time developing or writing and OSX gives me exactly this.
The price. It’s no secret that Apple equipment is expensive, their phones and laptops are obviously overpriced. I will say that their screen technology is second to none and maybe that is where most of the price goes. It’s true to say that I have a day job that enables me to be able to spend a little more on a laptop than most people, but that does not take the sting out of tail when I am considering buying a new one. Apple products have generally a good resale value on e-bay so if you look after them, you can still get some of your investment back. I bought my last MacBook Pro back in 2011 as a refurb (I very rarely buy new) and that has been serving me well for the past 5 years and probably has another 4 or more in it before it becomes obsolete.
I enjoy playing games, I even write for a website that encourages me to not only play them but write something critical about them, which I enjoy doing. But you know what I don’t enjoy? I don’t enjoy the fact that to get any kind of decent video card on a Mac, you have to shell out a fair amount more than the overpriced nature of the machines anyway. Games that I think should run okay on it often are laggy and unplayable, regardless of how many options I switch off. I had hoped that they would do some deal with either Nvidia or ATI to put some basic graphic accelerator inside their laptops and they did, but only for 15″ machines and upwards. I don’t really want to carry the extra size and the price hike, for me it’s just not worth it.
Being classed as an Apple Fan Boy
As stated in the disclaimer I am no Apple fanboy. I have never and will never queue up overnight in order to get the most recent hardware from them. In fact, I really cannot understand the people that do this, but I have an “each to their own” attitude about the whole thing. When Apple released their last MacBook (the one with the mobile processor in and the USB-C port) I thought that someone at Apple had completely gone mental. I get the fact that they are trying to appeal to a market that uses laptops just to create documents, write e-mails and the sort but I seriously thought that this was a poorly designed bit of hardware. I am sure Apple being Apple have sold a lot of them and people have even paid the extra money to have it with the gold tint (which in my eyes is just weird). I thought (and still think) that the Apple watch is overpriced and not a piece of tech that I have any interest in, but then again I bought and subsequently sold a Pebble Time because I found myself not really benefitting from it as a device. No, I will happily criticise Apple when I see fit, and I will happily listen to other people moan about them and sympathise.
It’s a status symbol
I generally disagree with buying things just to show that I have money. I have known several students that have let their parents buy them a Mac just so that they can look cool in class. These people probably take a lot of notes on their machine, look at Facebook, maybe the odd video which probably rarely (if ever) fires up anything more than a single core. To these people, I say what you should of, bought is a Chromebook or second-hand laptop from someone. I had to work hard to be able to afford my hardware, I feel like I have earned the right to buy one.
Okay.. rant over. So before I work myself into a lather and burst a blood vessel or completely lose my calm exterior I’m going to quit while I am ahead. Now it’s over to you, what do you love/hate about the OS that you choose to run. What makes you irate and what makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside because it just works. Tell us your OS stories via Reddit, Twitter or Facebook.