Sunday, December 31, 2006

Does Apple OS-X make you smell of wee?

My brother wanted a nice looking PC for work and decided that now they can run Windows he would buy an iMac. I told him they were all style over substance but as usual he would not listen.

His iMac arrived on Wednesday 27th December and as he is away for New Year he brought it round to me to have a play with.

First impressions are good. Everything is in one device so there is no real setting up to do, you just plug the power cable in and switch it on. Even the keyboard and mouse are wireless so there is only one cable. The machine looks amazing and everyone who has seen it has commented on what a looker it is. It is essentially an iPod PC, which is no bad thing as the iPod is a seriously good looking piece of kit if you ask me!! The 20 inch LCD screen was also very nice.

OS-X boots up in about 20 seconds but I assume that like Windows this will increase as you install more software. Correct me if I am wrong as this is the first time I have used a mac.

After a few more seconds after everything on the desktop has appeared the wireless network asks you if you want to connect to the Briddon wireless network. I entered the access password and that was all the setup that was needed. I was on the net and ready to go. Very impressive I thought.

The desktop is nice and clean and there are lots of nice animations to make it look cool when you minimise things and move things around. The machine was very responsive and I don't think it ever stuttered in the way that windows can do if things get a little busy. It did have a 2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo processor and 2GB Ram though so it should not do this anyway.

OS-X was also surprisingly easy to use even though I have been a Windows user for the past however many years Windows has been available. It was quite intuitive and if I didn't know how to do something I just thought about how I would do it if I were designing the OS and it generally worked in the way I wanted it to. How do you add an application to the toolbar thingy at the bottom of the screen? Drag it from the applications folder in Finder to the toolbar. It's all very good indeed.

There are some annoying things. Firstly, even though the Apple mice now come with a right click button it does not do anything in the OS. To do the equivalent of a right click you have to press CTRL+Left Click. I know that this is a throwback to single button mice but for god's sake there could be a right click option. Using the keyboard to get a content menu is really annoying. Windows has had this for 11 years now!

The other annoying thing was closing applications. Clicking the red X in the top left of a window does not always do the job, with the application hanging around on the toolbar. To close it down you have to go right to the top left of the screen and select the applications menu and select the close application option.

These are small issues but they really annoyed me, probably because I am a Windows user but I am sure that at least a right click option would be an improvement to OS-X.

OK, back to the good things. Front Row. This is the Apple Media Center application that is accessed by pressing menu on the little remote you get. The desktop melts away and the Front Row application appears giving you access to the Pictures, Movies, Music, and iTunes. The interface is great. If you select music it reproduces an iPod menu system. It's really easy to use and all accessed from the remote.

All in all I was pleasantly surprised by the iMac and by OS-X.

My brother wants to run Windows XP on his iMac. He had already installed it and although it runs fine, the boot camp application that you use to install it is still in beta. The other issue is drivers. The only drivers you can use are the ones supplied by Apple as part of the boot camp application. If you try to use the ATI drivers from the ATI website you get an error saying that you don't own the correct hardware. There are also other driver issues and there are (!) in the device manager where the drivers for various parts of the iMac have not yet been written. There is nothing you can do to fix this. Windows XP does seem to run very well on the Apple though, as well it should now that Apple are using Intel hardware.

So I'm impressed with the iMac. Will I be logging onto Apples website and ordering one?

No.

This particular iMac with the upgraded processor, extra RAM and 256mb Graphics card came in at around £1300! It's good looks and all-in-oneness also means there are no upgrades to be had. I was also disappointed to discover that although the Apple website tells you that the graphics chipset is an ATI X1600 that it is actually an ATI X1600 mobility. Not the same card at all!! In Windows it also steals some system memory which is really annoying. It probably does this in OS-X as well but I could not find out where to look to check. :-)

OS-X is not as spectacular as Apple evangelists would have you believe either. It's quick and it looks nice but it is clunkier than Windows to use and it does not offer anything that is better than Windows, especially the soon to be released and VERY tasty Windows Vista.

If you want to move to an apple computer because you believe the hype on the webpage or you believe what current users are saying about it being so much better than Windows, don't bother. All you will get is an expensive PC you can't upgrade and an OS that while being very nice is no better than the Microsoft offering.

If you want to buy an iMac because you want a PC that looks god damn cool and will impress all that see it, go for it.

Does Apple OS-X make you smell of wee? No, but you won't smell of roses either.

2 comments:

Chris said...

I think that is a fair review and largely mirrors what I think.
The main gripe I have is the lack of access to menus via the keyboard, it is nowhere near as easy to be mouse free in OS X as it is in Windows, which when you have a laptop is important.
Another negative is the lack of software available on Mac compared to Windows. For example, there is no personal finance software (that is any good), whereas on a PC you have MS Money and Quicken (Quicken don't have a UK Mac version for some reason). But now that you can run XP, this problem is largely negated.
For me, the main plus is simply that it is not a PC; given that I sit in front of a PC at work all day, having a computer at home that runs a completely different OS means I never feel like I'm sat at my desk at work.

BTW, the best way to close programs is by pressing the apple key + Q.

OboeJane said...

??? Surely the fact that you use a PC all day at work (like me) means that you want your computer at home to operate in EXACTLY THE SAME WAY - otherwise it is really annoying...
Agree about the keyboard shortcuts, though. I dispensed with an external mouse years ago and now find them annoyingly clunky to use.

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