APPLE COMPUTERS: I’m publishing this blog on a Windows-powered computer, but I have become a decisively pro-Apple person in the last few months. Unless Windows breaks some new ground with Operation Longhorn (the new Windows OS expected to replace Windows XP in 2006), this Windows computer will be my last.

This transition from PCs to Macs really began in earnest with my brother buying a PowerPC G4 computer about four months ago. It’s an exceptional piece of hardware. It runs effortlessly, organizes programs in a logical manner and has software pre-loaded that you can really use (think iLife, iCal, iTunes, et al). Because of this, I’m buying a Mac laptop for my Master’s program in Halifax.

Here are five good reasons to switch to a Mac:

1) Quality. Sure, Macs are more expensive than a PC. Sometimes significantly more. Yet there is method to Apple’s high costs – their computers are far superior to an ordinary, run-of-the-mill PC. A G4 computer, now the second-most powerful piece of hardware in the Apple product line just behind the G5 model (the most powerful personal computer in human history), is superior to some of the most advanced PCs out there. The speed, memory and technical achievements of a Mac ensure that any Apple product you buy will be built to last.

2) Software. Macs are head and shoulders above PCs in terms of their user-friendly products, yet Macs are unbeatable in terms of their ease of use regarding graphics and layout programs like Adobe Photoshop and QuarkXPress. Furthermore, the iLife product is the ultimate digital media suite: where else can you make a movie, DVD, photo or song integrate into one? Very few PCs can do this well.

3) Comfort level. While Macs aren’t good for programming in code (which is one reason while I’ll hold onto this PC) and aren’t as good in terms of games (another reason to hold onto this computer), anyone can use a Mac with relative ease. OS X 10.3, the Panther operating system for the latest editions of the G4 and G5 computers, is the best OS ever made for a computer. It ensures ease of use and a wide diversity of software applications can be used with 10.3. Besides, Macs have adopted various Windows products like Microsoft Office to ensure easy transitions between the 95 per cent of computers in the world that are Windows-powered and the, um, 5 per cent which are either Apple or Linux-based systems.

4) A sense of ownership. Windows dominates the world’s PC market. Yet something about a Windows’ product is a lack of “ownership” you have over your own system. Microsoft was recently fined by the European Union for 600 million Euros for anti-competitive behaviour due to refusing to “unbundle” certain software products like Windows Media Player. Apple? No problem. You hate a piece of Mac software? You can get rid of it if you like. You hate Windows Media Player? Just try getting rid of it. You can’t, and if you somehow eventually manage to do so, your system will be screwy. In other words, Apple assumes the customer has the right to configure their own computer if they own it. Microsoft won’t let you.

5) It’s just plain cool. A Mac signifies more than just a willingness to work with high-end digital media software or have easy and quick access to the web – it’s the mark of a thoughtful computer user. PCs are good, don’t get me wrong. But they lack the cachet of a Mac computer, a piece of hardware that has the mark of a “club” because so few people use them and they are so useful in so many ways. Plus, Mac laptops are not only strong but the clamshell design of an iBook or the steel exterior of a PowerBook just kick ass.

So there are some good reasons to get a Mac. While this sounds like a product promotion – something I promised not to do – I’m merely weighing the pros (and some cons) of switching to Macs.

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