Closing thoughts on my MacBook Pro Experience

Closing thoughts on my MacBook Pro Experience

Summary: Well, the MacBook Pro has been packaged back up into the cardboard and styrafoam cocoon that it came in from Apple and gone back to their PR department (I was lucky enough to have the MacBook for more than the 28 days that Apple has initially offered it to me for). What did I learn from the experience? What do I now think of Apple products and the Mac OS?

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TOPICS: Apple
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Well, the MacBook Pro has been packaged back up into the cardboard and styrafoam cocoon that it came in from Apple and gone back to their PR department (I was lucky enough to have the MacBook for more than the 28 days that Apple has initially offered it to me for). 

The initial sexiness wore off, but the stylishness remainedWhat did I learn from the experience?  What do I now think of Apple products and the Mac OS? 

Overall, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and a lot of this is down to Apple putting a lot of effort into making the experience a pleasant one as soon as you open the box.  I've bought a number of notebooks over the years and I can say with all honesty that the MacBook was the only notebook that was "presented" to me in a stylish way as soon as the lid of the box was up.  I wouldn't expect Dell or IBM or any manufacturer to put this kind of effort into their mainstream business notebooks, but they could take a leaf out of Apple's book when it comes to higher-end, higher cost systems.  When you spend over $2,000 on a notebook I think it's reasonable to expect to have it packaged better than a sack of potatoes.

Another lesson that notebook manufacturers could learn from Apple is to keep the instruction book small and the leaflets and other junk down to a minimum.  Most notebooks I've seen come shipped with far too much paperwork that needs to be trashed.  Keep it simple.

Also notebook manufacturers could learn from Apple that adding a little style isn't a bad thing.  Those small touches on the MacBook not only made it look good but also made it more usable (I loved the backlit keyboard and the built-in webcam).  Apple's gaining market share fast when it comes to notebooks, and once you've used a MacBook for a while, it's easy to see why.  They stand out.  Walk into a meeting with a MacBook or a MacBook Pro and people will know what it is.  Walk in with another brand and it's just a notebook.  From a hardware point of view the only thing that I found disappointing was the buttons on the trackpad.  The trackpad itself was excellent (the two finger tap acting as a right-click is inspired!) but the buttons felt cheap and out of place. 

The only problem I had with the MacBook Pro (and it was an annoying problem) was with getting a WiFi connection.  It wouldn't seem to connect to any router that wasn't set to mixed 802.11b and g.  I solved this problem myself minutes before calling Apple's executive tech support.

Now, away from the hardware and onto the software.  I have to admit that I was a bit apprehensive about using the Mac OS initially.  I've spent years on Windows and the way things are done in Windows and the idea of having to think differently didn't appeal to me.  However, I didn't really find transitioning to the Mac OS all that difficult.  After learning a few keyboard shortcuts and how to navigate the finder (oh, and how to install apps), the Mac OS wasn't all that difficult to use.  Like anything new or different you need to be in "learning mode" for a little while to get the best out of it, but after a few days I could effortlessly switch between using Mac and using Windows.

The MacBook wasn't just something that I played with in my spare time while I had it either, I got a lot done on it.  Granted, when a lot of what you do is writing then you can do that on anything that has a keyboard, screen and a text editor, but given the fact that I'd switched platforms, I was amazed by how much I got done.  Also, there's a certain stylishness to working on a MacBook - going back to my regular notebook made me feel like I was scratching out messages in the dirt with a stick.  Yes, it's hard to get away from the style aspect of using a Mac.  The initial sexiness wore off, but the stylishness remained.

I was also impressed by the array of software that's installed on the MacBook, in particular iLife.  OK, when you look at the price of the MacBook it's clear that you pay for this software, but the difference between the MacBook and other notebooks is that the MacBook isn't a PC, it's a product.  The bundled software is nice and makes the MacBook instantly usable, although I wasn't all that impressed with the Office for Mac trial - seemed like a waste of space to me.  Even though I find OpenOffice to be kludgy compared to Office, I would have rather seen OO, warts and all, installed than a trial of Microsoft Office.

So, now that the MacBook is back at Apple, will I be buying a MacBook?  The answer is ... maybe.  Partly, the MacBook would have to go onto a list of other tech gear that I want to buy.  It's not just a matter of the cash either, well it is but it's also time involved in setting up and integrating it into the PC Doc HQ.  As a stand along system the MacBook was a brilliant bit of kit, but as part of a bigger Windows-based ecosystem, it is very much a loner.  I could put Windows on it but that defeats the point of owning a Mac in the first place.  The one thing that I think will eventually push me into buying a Mac is that I'll miss just being able to pick it up and get on with some writing, free from distractions of RSS and such.  I didn't set any of this stuff up on the Mac and I found that to be a huge plus point because I became more productive instead of less.  I'm unlikely to go for the 17-inch MacBook because I found this a little too big and a little too heavy for my tastes, I'd more likely go for a smaller MacBook Pro.

If you want o read my past MacBook Experience posts, then check out the Windows to Mac Chronicles.

Go on, try your best to convince me to move the MacBook up (or down) the purchase list!

Topic: Apple

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36 comments
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  • Windows to Mac Chronicles

    I think I'll wait for the paperback version, thanks! ;)
    D T Schmitz
    • The paperback's already out!

      ;-)
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
    • There where those movies....... 28 Days & 28 Days later

      Which best applies?
      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0191754/
      or
      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0289043/

      Fair series and a good closing for Adrian.
      Too bad he did not spend 19 months with a Mac or a Linux

      I will ask you _dietrich what you may think of what is offered by http://system76.com
      LazLong
      • system76

        [url=http://system76.com]system76[/url] looks VERY promising indeed!

        Koala MINI is most cool. Firewire 1394B support included!

        Have bookmarked the website for follow-up scrutiny and to follow ongoing future developments! Very exciting.

        My very best wishes for success to all those involved at system76!

        And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming! ;)
        Adrian?

        --Dietrich
        D T Schmitz
      • 28 Days for sure ...

        ... no zombies running around during my experience (although 28 days later is one of my favorite movies!).

        Nice one LazLong!
        Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
  • Still haven't seen the killer reason

    [i]So, now that the MacBook is back at Apple, will I be buying a MacBook?[/i]

    I really do appreciate you taking the time to write your blog series. I read it with interest, always looking for the one thing that using OSX would let me do that simply couldn't be done in Windows or Linux. I didn't see it. I read that the hardware was nice (it had better be for the price!!!) and that Apple had different names for the things I'm used to in Windows. I read that I would likely [b]not[/b] be able to "Get a Mac - It Just Works" and that I would suffer occasional reboots and WiFi problems (and I'm sure several problems that you never ran into). I found that I would have to install Parallels or Bootcamp and pay another Cdn$240-$500 for a Windows license that would ordinarily come for free (or at least much cheaper) on a laptop from anyone else. Then I would be in the unenviable position of having to administer 2 OSs with the Mac while I only need to administer 1 OS with any other laptop. All for what? An Apple logo on the back and a lighter wallet in my pocket?

    Once again, I appreciate the blogs. Keep up the good work!
    NonZealot
    • Is it because you

      can't or _won't_ see?

      My guess is the latter because for everything positive that Adrian wrote about it, you tried to bash from a your position of complete ignorance and having never really used a Mac that's for sale today.

      That smacks of prejudice and it's too bad because you will never see through the eyes of prejudice.
      msolgeek
      • Yes , I am None_Zealot , I am None_Zealot .

        I must tell you the truth now , I hate Windows , I hate everything Microsoft makes . I am coming out of the closet . I will tell you today that Apple makes great products .
        None_Zealot
    • Yes, absolutely

      NZ, you should absolutely and unequivocally stay with a Windows box. You would not be happy with anything else. Perhaps if you stay with Windows you at least have a shot.

      The Apple Macintosh is the computer for (a lot of) the rest of us. We wouldn't want to see you trying to force yourself to use one.

      Thanks for sharing; your happiness and reasoning behind your personal decisions on what to buy for your lifestyle, though not of much interest to me personally, must fascinate, at the very least, one reader here. I guess that is enough to keep you coming back and posting on threads that would seem to not really have anything to interest you.
      fuzzy2k
    • The killer reason... is no killer bugs!

      <<always looking for the one thing that using OSX would let me do that simply
      couldn't be done in Windows or Linux.>>

      How about ditching all your anti-virus and anti-spyware software? How about
      NEVER having to worry about malware? How about NEVER needing to reinstall the
      OS, or wipe the hard drive and start over??

      I switched from PCs to Macs back in the early 1990s, and I've never looked back
      (with the exception of wanting to run Flight Simulator). With every announcement
      of a world-wide virus or major security breach, I smile and wonder why people
      would stand for such crap on a daily basis. If I hadn't switched back then, I'd be
      switching now!!

      By the way, in 17 years of working on Macs, the ONLY time I've needed to reinstall
      system software was either to perform a major update of the system (from OS 8,
      to OS 9, to OS X on the same machine, over a six-year-period) or when I added a
      new, larger hard drive to an older machine.
      KaplanMike
    • You missed it because you didn't want to see it

      "The one thing that I think will eventually push me into buying a Mac is that I'll
      miss just being able to pick it up and get on with some writing, free from
      distractions of RSS and such. I didn't set any of this stuff up on the Mac and I
      found that to be a huge plus point because I became more productive instead of
      less"

      As a person obviously not concerned with productivity, you will be a Windows user
      all your life, and that's fine.

      I have personally shown 12 people, from business owners to Accenture-type
      MBA's, all convinced that Windows is the only thing for business, the advantages
      of having a Mac. They all switched and haven't looked back.

      But stay where you are because bigger is better, not more productive, right?
      mlindl
      • YOU read it and missed it.

        he said it was less of a distraction because he didn't set it up to do everything his normal machine would do.

        You seemed to take that as a Mac positive. But if he were to own this computer and setup the RSS feeds and such it would be the same distraction as his Windows PC.

        Mac's are nice machines, but personally, I do not jump on bandwagons with Zealots. So I'll wait to see what happens with OSX in the next few years. My guess is you'll be running anti-virus and anti-spyware with the rest of the Windows group.
        Joe_Racer
    • Killer Reason and too many OSs

      I agree that having to have 2 OS on a machine is silly. Which is why I participated
      in the WINE project and Codeweavers development of native support of Windows
      applications on the Apple.
      There really are only 1/2 dozen business applications you need from the Wintel
      machines. and the Office suite is directly available on the Mac. (And the
      development of key features appear in Powerpoint on Mac before they do in
      Windows)
      Wine allows you to import windows applications into the Mac OSX on the Intel
      platforms. And it works professionally well.
      Thus the expense (59 vs 250 or 500 you quoted in your missive) is tolerable and
      you still only have to maintain a single OS.
      jjmcdonald7911@...
    • Have we heard the last from u?

      You are one of the annoying reasons that Windows is less than it evef could have been. Settling for something pilfered, broken and never quite right is testament enough to you and your failed logic.
      y2kstorm@...
  • I might just jump ship

    For the most part, I think Mac has its advantages that make it what it is.

    Linux gurus can save their cash and invest their time. But I would rather spend the money on a Mac and see if the product makes up for the difference in cost. For what it is worth, I hear iWork is a better application than Office for Mac, although I think I will just load up OOo for Mac.
    nucrash
    • Well, you know what they say...

      [i]"Linux gurus can save their cash and invest their time."[/i]

      Time is money! ;)
      D T Schmitz
      • If I wanted a career in clustering

        Linux would probably be for me. But when I have to recommmend trying to get something else done.
        nucrash
        • While clustering is certainly one of many of its strong suits.

          It (Linux) can fit into any/many situations very well.
          (from the mundane to many specialized niches)
          Truly utility computing & much more. (just little or no marketing)

          Still a Mac especially in a notebook maybe one of the better if not the best values, for many or most.
          For the casual user an appliance, for the pro and/or enthusiast a tool which can run practically any or all systems. Ability, function & Style.

          Not knowing your particular needs, interests or bent.
          I kinda feel you buy into the myth that Linux is more difficult or just for geeks when it is just different.
          (and not marketed/commercialized)

          On any platform you can become interested & involved at any level. casual user, Pro or enthusiast.

          And if One is truly interested in Tech, it is all the same. An Understanding of the fundamentals and a grasp of the abstract......

          Also exploring Linux cost little, if nothing at all, just a little interest.
          LazLong
    • Office- Mac is fine

      MS Office works very well on the mac
      (although I?d wait until MS comes out
      with the mac Intel optimized version if
      I were buying a new mac). The biggest
      difference is Outlook (Win) vs
      Entourage (mac) and no Access.

      A number of people who mostly use
      Word and Entourage prefer Mac Office
      to the Windows version. We use
      Entourage rather than Apple's bundled
      Mail app.

      Open Office requires the X11
      windowing (unix) system for Mac. The
      Mac native version of OO is NeoOffice.
      I don?t know it that?s been upgraded
      for Intel Mac.
      j.m.galvin
      • Codeweavers

        Go to Codeweavers and look at the support for Access. The 3 main and key elements
        of software that I use on the mac that are not native are Visio, MS Project, and
        MindManager. 2 out of the 3 of those are supported on the Mac without having to
        install Windows.
        The future is closer then you think
        jjmcdonald7911@...