Category Archives: Mac

When Does It Make Sense to Buy Apple Hardware Instead of a Standard PC?

When Does It Make Sense to Buy Apple Hardware Instead of a Standard PC?

Dear Lifehacker,
I like Apple hardware, but it doesn’t run cheap and I’m not sure I want to use OS X. I know I can run Windows, but am I wasting money purchasing a Mac if I’m not using it as a Mac? When does it make sense to buy Apple hardware instead of a standard PC?

Sincerely,
Apples to Oranges

Dear AtO,
As you likely know, people who buy Macs generally make the purchase not just for the hardware but for the Apple ecosystem. When you buy a Mac, Apple expects (or, at least, wants) you to partake in their grand lifestyle design. In some ways, they lock you into this. In others, you can buy a Mac and use it as a Windows PC instead. Apple hardware sometimes offers distinct advantages over its PC counterparts and its worth the cost. Let’s take a look at when you should get a Mac even if you might not use it like one.

When Does It Make Sense to Buy Apple Hardware Instead of a Standard PC?

You Want to Dual Boot on a Laptop

You can always dual boot on a hackintosh, or even triple boot, but you’ll have a harder time accomplishing that on a laptop. If you want to use OS X and Windows, but don’t want to commit to one or the other, buying a Mac laptop provides you with the option. Additionally, you get hardware with official drivers for both operating systems.

These benefits still apply on the desktop side of the equation, too. While we recommend building a hackintosh to save yourself some money and get a more powerful, customizable computer, if you don’t want the hassle and do want the official support you should grab an iMac and use Boot Camp to run Windows. You’ll save yourself the headache of fixing all and any hardware and software problems yourself (if you don’t enjoy that sort of thing).

When Does It Make Sense to Buy Apple Hardware Instead of a Standard PC?

You Want Better-Than-Average Customer Support

I’m often the first to admit I don’t like visiting the Genius Bar. In general, I avoid customer support at all costs. That said, I’d take Apple’s customer support over any other large computer manufacturer. With all Macs you get a year of solid support, extendable to three, and Apple tends to fix problems when they don’t have to. By no means will you convince them to replace a four-year-old iMac because you found a dead pixel, and Genius Bar horror stories certainly exist, but you’ll more often get a better support experience through Apple even if you don’t run their OS.

You Like Apple Hardware and You Get a Good Price

This should be obvious. If you like the hardware and you want to run Windows, buy an Apple computer and run Windows on it. Apple’s MacBook Airs fall at a comparable price point with other ultrabooks, and many still prefer Apple’s option over the standard PC competition. If it doesn’t cost you more (or much more), you really have nothing to lose. Remember, you can find cheaper Macs by getting a refurbished machine from Apple’s official store (often the better option anyway) or grabbing a new one from an online retailer like Amazon for a discounted price.

When Does It Make Sense to Buy Apple Hardware Instead of a Standard PC?

You Have Few (Non-Bluetooth) Peripherals

Macs have ports—just not a lot of them. Usually, you get a couple of USB ports and a few others you may or may not need. If you rarely plug in an external hard drive, audio interface, or any other common peripheral, you won’t mind. Macs were not designed for the type of person who wants to plug things in. You’ll need to stick with Bluetooth peripherals if you want to use more than a few things with your machine.

You Don’t Need an Optical Drive

While the current MacBook Pros (without Retina displays) still sport optical drives, no other Macs have them. If you need/want an optical drive, don’t buy a Mac. You’ll need to get an external and that’s no fun to lug around.

When Does It Make Sense to Buy Apple Hardware Instead of a Standard PC?

When You Shouldn’t Get a Mac

When it comes to desktop Macs, you don’t gain much for the cost. Unless you really want the design of an iMac or Mac Pro, you’ll almost always pay more for the same hardware. Additionally, with Microsoft pushing the touch screen everywhere you’ll miss out if you get a Mac and run Windows 8. On the laptop side, the old-fashioned MacBook Pros (without Retain displays) cost quite a bit more than their Windows laptop counterparts.

If you like lots of ports and expandability you will hate having a Mac. You can’t swap batteries on laptops, you can barely upgrade the hardware (if you can at all), and upgrading at purchase time often costs far more than the individual parts actually do. If you care at all about hardware customizability, you should not buy a Mac.

Ultimately, Apple hardware makes sense when you want a PC with operating system flexibility, solid hardware design, and good support. If you care about upgrades or want the absolute cheapest machine possible, most anything else will do.

Love,
Lifehacker

When Does It Make Sense to Buy Apple Hardware Instead of a Standard PC?

When Does It Make Sense to Buy Apple Hardware Instead of a Standard PC?

Dear Lifehacker,
I like Apple hardware, but it doesn’t run cheap and I’m not sure I want to use OS X. I know I can run Windows, but am I wasting money purchasing a Mac if I’m not using it as a Mac? When does it make sense to buy Apple hardware instead of a standard PC?

Sincerely,
Apples to Oranges

Dear AtO,
As you likely know, people who buy Macs generally make the purchase not just for the hardware but for the Apple ecosystem. When you buy a Mac, Apple expects (or, at least, wants) you to partake in their grand lifestyle design. In some ways, they lock you into this. In others, you can buy a Mac and use it as a Windows PC instead. Apple hardware sometimes offers distinct advantages over its PC counterparts and its worth the cost. Let’s take a look at when you should get a Mac even if you might not use it like one.

When Does It Make Sense to Buy Apple Hardware Instead of a Standard PC?

You Want to Dual Boot on a Laptop

You can always dual boot on a hackintosh, or even triple boot, but you’ll have a harder time accomplishing that on a laptop. If you want to use OS X and Windows, but don’t want to commit to one or the other, buying a Mac laptop provides you with the option. Additionally, you get hardware with official drivers for both operating systems.

These benefits still apply on the desktop side of the equation, too. While we recommend building a hackintosh to save yourself some money and get a more powerful, customizable computer, if you don’t want the hassle and do want the official support you should grab an iMac and use Boot Camp to run Windows. You’ll save yourself the headache of fixing all and any hardware and software problems yourself (if you don’t enjoy that sort of thing).

When Does It Make Sense to Buy Apple Hardware Instead of a Standard PC?

You Want Better-Than-Average Customer Support

I’m often the first to admit I don’t like visiting the Genius Bar. In general, I avoid customer support at all costs. That said, I’d take Apple’s customer support over any other large computer manufacturer. With all Macs you get a year of solid support, extendable to three, and Apple tends to fix problems when they don’t have to. By no means will you convince them to replace a four-year-old iMac because you found a dead pixel, and Genius Bar horror stories certainly exist, but you’ll more often get a better support experience through Apple even if you don’t run their OS.

You Like Apple Hardware and You Get a Good Price

This should be obvious. If you like the hardware and you want to run Windows, buy an Apple computer and run Windows on it. Apple’s MacBook Airs fall at a comparable price point with other ultrabooks, and many still prefer Apple’s option over the standard PC competition. If it doesn’t cost you more (or much more), you really have nothing to lose. Remember, you can find cheaper Macs by getting a refurbished machine from Apple’s official store (often the better option anyway) or grabbing a new one from an online retailer like Amazon for a discounted price.

When Does It Make Sense to Buy Apple Hardware Instead of a Standard PC?

You Have Few (Non-Bluetooth) Peripherals

Macs have ports—just not a lot of them. Usually, you get a couple of USB ports and a few others you may or may not need. If you rarely plug in an external hard drive, audio interface, or any other common peripheral, you won’t mind. Macs were not designed for the type of person who wants to plug things in. You’ll need to stick with Bluetooth peripherals if you want to use more than a few things with your machine.

You Don’t Need an Optical Drive

While the current MacBook Pros (without Retina displays) still sport optical drives, no other Macs have them. If you need/want an optical drive, don’t buy a Mac. You’ll need to get an external and that’s no fun to lug around.

When Does It Make Sense to Buy Apple Hardware Instead of a Standard PC?

When You Shouldn’t Get a Mac

When it comes to desktop Macs, you don’t gain much for the cost. Unless you really want the design of an iMac or Mac Pro, you’ll almost always pay more for the same hardware. Additionally, with Microsoft pushing the touch screen everywhere you’ll miss out if you get a Mac and run Windows 8. On the laptop side, the old-fashioned MacBook Pros (without Retain displays) cost quite a bit more than their Windows laptop counterparts.

If you like lots of ports and expandability you will hate having a Mac. You can’t swap batteries on laptops, you can barely upgrade the hardware (if you can at all), and upgrading at purchase time often costs far more than the individual parts actually do. If you care at all about hardware customizability, you should not buy a Mac.

Ultimately, Apple hardware makes sense when you want a PC with operating system flexibility, solid hardware design, and good support. If you care about upgrades or want the absolute cheapest machine possible, most anything else will do.

Love,
Lifehacker

New OS X uses Windows file sharing by default

News about the new release of OS X, “Mavericks,” is trickling out as developers and other WWDC attendees post information about it to the Internet. However, hidden a bit down in Apple’s OS X Mavericks Technology Overview document is an interesting tidbit: SMB2 is replacing AFP as the default file sharing protocol for OS X.

AFP—Apple Filing Protocol—has a long pedigree that stretches all the way back to the Mac’s early days (and even a bit before that). Contemporary AFP piggybacks on top of TCP/IP for transport, but it supports a few Mac-specific things that other network file protocols don’t, like type and creator codes. These don’t matter as much as they used to, but OS X’s HFS+ file system supports a pretty rich amount of metadata, and AFP transports and preserves that metadata.

But AFP isn’t particularly friendly to non-Apple systems, and no operating systems other than OS X support it natively. This wouldn’t be such a big deal, except that one of OS X’s killer features, Time Machine, only works over a LAN with destinations that support AFP. This is at least in part because of Time Machine’s reliance on Unix hard links, and also in part because it has to be able to ensure that any OS X files with HFS+ specific metadata are correctly preserved. This in turn means that third-party Time Capsule devices have to rely on reverse-engineered implementations of AFP to continue functioning, and OS X updates occasionally break third-party Time Capsule devices, sometimes for weeks.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

2013 MacBook Air: PCIe SSD and Haswell ULT Inside

This morning Apple updated its MacBook Air to Intel's Haswell ULT silicon. The chassis itself didn't get any updates, nor did the displays. Both the 11 and 13 inch models retain their non-Retina 1366 x 768 and 1440 x 900 displays. Battery capacities haven't changed either, they're at 35Wh and 50Wh for the 11 and 13-inch models, respectively. The big changes however are on the CPU, NAND and DRAM fronts.

2013 MacBook Air: PCIe SSD and Haswell ULT Inside

This morning Apple updated its MacBook Air to Intel's Haswell ULT silicon. The chassis itself didn't get any updates, nor did the displays. Both the 11 and 13 inch models retain their non-Retina 1366 x 768 and 1440 x 900 displays. Battery capacities haven't changed either, they're at 35Wh and 50Wh for the 11 and 13-inch models, respectively. The big changes however are on the CPU, NAND and DRAM fronts.

2013 MacBook Air: PCIe SSD and Haswell ULT Inside

This morning Apple updated its MacBook Air to Intel's Haswell ULT silicon. The chassis itself didn't get any updates, nor did the displays. Both the 11 and 13 inch models retain their non-Retina 1366 x 768 and 1440 x 900 displays. Battery capacities haven't changed either, they're at 35Wh and 50Wh for the 11 and 13-inch models, respectively. The big changes however are on the CPU, NAND and DRAM fronts.

2013 MacBook Air: PCIe SSD and Haswell ULT Inside

This morning Apple updated its MacBook Air to Intel's Haswell ULT silicon. The chassis itself didn't get any updates, nor did the displays. Both the 11 and 13 inch models retain their non-Retina 1366 x 768 and 1440 x 900 displays. Battery capacities haven't changed either, they're at 35Wh and 50Wh for the 11 and 13-inch models, respectively. The big changes however are on the CPU, NAND and DRAM fronts.

2013 MacBook Air: PCIe SSD and Haswell ULT Inside

This morning Apple updated its MacBook Air to Intel's Haswell ULT silicon. The chassis itself didn't get any updates, nor did the displays. Both the 11 and 13 inch models retain their non-Retina 1366 x 768 and 1440 x 900 displays. Battery capacities haven't changed either, they're at 35Wh and 50Wh for the 11 and 13-inch models, respectively. The big changes however are on the CPU, NAND and DRAM fronts.

2013 MacBook Air: PCIe SSD and Haswell ULT Inside

This morning Apple updated its MacBook Air to Intel's Haswell ULT silicon. The chassis itself didn't get any updates, nor did the displays. Both the 11 and 13 inch models retain their non-Retina 1366 x 768 and 1440 x 900 displays. Battery capacities haven't changed either, they're at 35Wh and 50Wh for the 11 and 13-inch models, respectively. The big changes however are on the CPU, NAND and DRAM fronts.