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Mac mini: 2006
Cool and powerful wasn't enough though by the mid-2000s, so Jobs introduced the first truly low-end Macs: the Mac mini. Still sold today, I've used Mac minis ever since day one as an affordable way to test Mac software and to serve as great little media servers.
There have long been Mac laptops, but they really took off with the MacBook Pro. Some people, like my writer buddy, Andy Patrizio, just started with Macs in 2014. "My first Mac is 3 weeks old. Bought it because I want to see if I still have a knack for programming like I did, oh, 30 years ago. Going to try my hand at iOS development. Plus I wanted something sexier than low-end laptops."
Others, like my freelance writer friend, Ron Miller, adopted the MacBook Pro when it first appeared. "I was a PC user until 2007 when my friend convinced me to try my first MacBook Pro. I bought the 17-inch and it's still in operation. My wife started using it when I bought my current 15 in MBP a few years ago. One of the reasons I was willing to try it was the switch to Intel, which meant I could run Windows and OSX at the same time. This was important because I was still doing technical writing then and I needed to run Frame, RoboHelp and other tools that were Windows-based. I will add, I had been using computers for 20 years when I tried my first Mac and I was just immediately captured by how well it worked. It's not flawless, but for the most part I don't have to think about my computer or my OS and that was never the case when I was a Windows user," said Miller.
MacBook Air: 2008
The last really important new member to the Mac family from where I sit is the MacBook Air. While I love my Chromebook Pixel and Lenovo ThinkPads, I have to say there are times I bring out the Air simply because it's such a nice combination of light-weight, rich local applications and power.
Looking ahead, I can see many more Macs in my future. They'll never be my favorite platform— Apple's totally locked down software eco-system bugs me—but even so for me, and millions of others, Macs made sense 30 years ago and it will still be making sense 30 years from now.