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The General Purpose Apple Thread

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Posted

What better time to start a general Apple thread than now, with the new retail store opening in 2 days and an 'out of nowhere' big hardware revision. I'll add stuff to the FAQ over time, but feel free to ask the various Macheads questions if you're looking into switching, or just wanna talk about hardware we can't justify to our girlfriends/bank managers.

[size="3"]Apple Cardiff St David's 2[/size]

We've waited for a long time for a real Apple store to come, and it's finally here. Just to please me, it's sounding a lot bigger and better than the new one down at Cabots Circus in Bristol. Ha!

Details are here - http://www.apple.com/uk/retail/stdavids2/ will update with photos n stuff once we have some. I'm liking that 8.30pm close time in case I need to go there and bitch about one of the many, many design inherited problems I'm suffering this week.

Turn up at 10.30am on Thursday to see the store opening dance ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SDPB_1d_L0 for Norwich's) and get one of 1,000 free T-shirts. Which you can then eBay.

Bonus points to anyone who spots the SWMer in the dance. Super bonus points if you get a photo of 'em :D

[size="3"]Apple FAQ For Newbiez[/size]

Whats the difference between a Mac and a PC ?

In essence, Macs are PCs... it's just a simpler way of describing the difference. Apple make the hardware and operating system 'OSX', and you can only (officially) run OSX on Apple hardware. Microsoft make Windows which can be run on any set of standard AMD/Intel based components. In reality, the 'war' is between OSX and Windows, but once you're sucked in to the cult of Apple, you tend to want everything they bastards make.

Aren't Macs way more expensive?

No getting around this one, yes the general hardware is more expensive in RRP. But, there's quite a few factors to think about - mainly, the cheap end of PCs are awful. The components are poor quality, the cases rubbish, and they don't cost much because they're just thrown together from various sources regardless of how well they work together. Apple's computers tend to only exist in a few variants at any given time. You can choose from maybe 6 laptops, or 4 desktops, or 2 mini based machines etc. They work closely with the big names (ie NVIDIA and Intel) to get specialised versions of their technology, often earlier and at a cost. Apple make one thing very clear : they have no interest in the low cost computer market. Apple hardware is premium, even at entry level, and all of it is very good backed up by excellent tech support and customer service.

Don't pay RRP, get a student discount... buy refurbished... buy second hand... there's lots of ways to not pay the store price and still be in the gang.

Is OSX better than Windows? What about Windows 7?

It's obviously down to personal opinion, but I switched to OSX very quickly after being bored of using Windows from 3.0 up to Vista. OSX is far more user friendly, is not dumbed down in any form (contrary to popular belief, in fact the Terminal gives you access to a fully POSIX compliant BSD build), incredibly efficient and looks great. I've not used 7, but I've seen it in operation... it looks an improvement, but isn't going to swing me.

What are the Apple equivalents to software I use?

Can build on this over time, but software like Firefox is of course available anyway (altho I tend to use Safari for most day-to-day stuff). MSN/AIM/Facebook/ICQ etc can all be done with Adium, which is awesome. RealPlayer somehow doesn't suck on OSX, and is a nice small mp3 player when I don't want to use iTunes (which runs great on OSX, ignore how bad it can be on Windows).

What machine should I buy?

If you want to move it around a lot, and not need pro features - MacBook
If you want a single unit on a desk - iMac
If you want a small machine to use with old monitor/kb/mouse - Mini
If you want something with ridiculous power that can cost up to like, £20k per machine - Pro

Will update as time goes on...
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Posted

Anyway, here's the 'new' stuff for the thread...

[size="3"]Apple October Hardware Revision[/size]

Where to start...

MacBook aka BlancoBook/WhiteBook

The only MacBook you can buy now only comes in one flavour, but the new casing is supposed to be much better. It's the same white plastic MacBook we all know, but much sturdier, and designed just like the aluminium bodies now with a non-removable battery. Ports are limited with no firewire and a combined headphone/line-in jack so if you need to do video/audio work, this might not be the buy for you. If you're a student or a general purpose user.. this'll do you fine. Price remains at £799. MacBook Pro's start at £899 and the entry level model gives you your ports, an even fancier case and a ... hmm... lower capacity harddrive. I'm not sure that's worth the £100 difference.



iMac

Fuck, the first iMac I've ever seen that makes me think "DAMN. I want one." (excluding the G4 lamp-style model that's just dying to live in a kitchen). Up to quad-core now, the first for a non-Pro desktop Mac, and available with the much touted i7 "Nehalem" processors and 27"... this is an absolute beast. Everytime I've seen iMacs I've thought "Sure, it'd be nice to surf the web on, or do some iPhoto work", but now this thing is truly a powerhouse at it's top end.



Remote

Not much to say. It's longer than the old ones, and it's aluminium. Looks kinda cool.

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    Posted

    Your Macbook and Mini links both go to the Macbook page.

    It's cool to see they're staying open til 8pm on weeknights. I hope that becomes the norm for the shops in St Davids 2 because one thing that I've always hated Cardiff for is the fact that if you try to go into a shop after 5.50pm you get some fucking jobsworth telling you they're about to shut.

    Sorry if I've missed an iTrend or anything but do Apple have/plan to have a media centre type device? Something small, silent, with wireless keyboard and HDMI out for the obligatory huge telly, etc. etc. It may exist in some form already, I dunno.
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    Posted

    Fixed, cheers. The site was being arsey with me and I didn't think to double check it had actually copied.

    Yeah the 8pm shopping thing is a good idea, mainly because I don't work in retail and therefore it doesn't ruin my life :D Most stores will be open til 8pm now on the leadup to Christmas, so we'll see what happens in the New Year. I try to get out of work by 5pm so if I do need to hit one specific store, I can usually get there before the 6pm 'piss off' parade starts.

    Media centre device type .. well, there's Apple TV but this is based around people who love iTunes Music Store and buy lots of movies, tv shows, music from there. It's a neat device and it's pretty cheap, but I don't think it'd do what you want it to do. To be honest, the closet is probably a Mini with one of those really awesome mini wireless aluminium keyboards and then running something like
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    Posted

    Damn, I need some Plex in my life.

    Yo, are those older Apple desktop PCs silent? Don't mind taking a hit on space, but I can't be doing with fans kicking in halfway through watching a film.
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    Posted

    Got a link as to what kinda machine you're talking about?

    Annoyingly I can't find a link showing a badass way (ie my way) of laying Plex out. Rather than the boring list of films like that dude has, you can have the entire screen filled with cover art, with no gaps. Looks great.
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    Posted

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_Mac_G4

    That kind of doohicky.
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    Posted

    Fun machines, but too old really. They're legacy and completely unsupported now, you could get it running up to 10.4 (2 OS revisions) without any hackery and have it playing VLC and Xvid stuff, but you'd probably just end up frustrated with a machine you can't get 'up to date'. If you're buying Mac, and it's your primary machine (or your first Mac) then you absolutely should only go Intel C2D now. Even the G5s, which were absolute powerhouses in their Pro forms and stunning, heavy and very very expensive just can't be kept up to date due to the PowerPC > Intel switch.
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    Posted

    one of my friends has a cube in work!
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    Posted

    Ah, but does it do this?

    [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icC1X5qWmkY[/media]

    I want one simply 'because', and to use it as an alarm clock. It's such a great design, especially the way you take it apart. Absolute classic machine, if he ever wants rid of it cheap...
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    Posted (edited)

    Would the 27-inch 3.06GHz iMac serve me well for Bootcap...with gaming in mind? Everything else i'd be much more in favour of the cleaner Mac interface.

    LATE EDIT THATS PROBABLY TOO LATE: It's more a question of how reliable is bootcamp, i know the stats are more than strong enough for gaming. Edited by Stu_
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    Posted

    If the key is gaming, then no. The 27" looks amazing, but iMacs use laptop components due to their formfactor, which means that particular graphics card is running at 500mhz compared to the 625mhz of the desktop equivalent. While it's still a decent card (and absolutely fine for anything in OSX, I'm talking Windows games now) that monitor is running at 1440P, which is a fricking huge resolution that requires a massive amount of power. Wait till the benchmark reviews come in, because people will be testing it on WoW and things like that (lots of OSXers play it unfortunately) and no doubt they'll be seeing what it's like for Windows too.

    Unfortunately Macs just aren't designed to be gaming machines, even tho feedback suggests there's a market for it.

    Edit:

    In reply to your edit, bootcamp (from what I know of it) is great. You might be getting confused between BootCamp and a VM solution like Parallels, which runs Windows while you're still within OSX. BootCamp is simply a boot manager, like GRUB. All it does it let you choose whether to boot into OSX or Windows. I believe that when you've installed Windows, there's a folder on the OSX DVD with all the drivers for the Apple hardware to make it all work kosher.
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    Posted

    hehe, made a late edit to my post but it seems unncessary now.

    Cheers Jay. Might work it the other way around then. A Macbook and a Windows PC.
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    Posted

    Spotted your edit so I popped my own in too. I'm surprised people still care about PC gaming to be honest.. that new iMac has video in, hook your PS3 up to that and enjoy the best of both worlds :)
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    Posted (edited)


    I want one simply 'because', and to use it as an alarm clock. It's such a great design, especially the way you take it apart. Absolute classic machine, if he ever wants rid of it cheap...


    same reason they have theirs! They use it as a glorified CD player!

    EDIT: how has this thread existed over a day and there is no sign of xalexxxgfx Edited by Michael
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    Posted


    Spotted your edit so I popped my own in too. I'm surprised people still care about PC gaming to be honest.. that new iMac has video in, hook your PS3 up to that and enjoy the best of both worlds :)

    There's so much on the PC that i want to play though that's not available on the PS3 or 360, that's my biggest problem.
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    Posted (edited)


    Would the 27-inch 3.06GHz iMac serve me well for Bootcap...with gaming in mind? Everything else i'd be much more in favour of the cleaner Mac interface.

    LATE EDIT THATS PROBABLY TOO LATE: It's more a question of how reliable is bootcamp, i know the stats are more than strong enough for gaming.


    In fairness, my old Intel iMac (the first intel revision!) was a whizz at Bootcamp. It ran Team Fortress 2, and Counterstrike beautifully. I can't imagine the brand spanking new ones being any less brilliant. Sure there are going to better gaming PC's out there, but for the monthly 'drop into windows' and play games, it was more than ample. Edited by gf'
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    Posted

    It's really down to that huge 2500x1440 (roughly) resolution, which is an absolute nightmare to drive. Playing games at a lower than native res will naturally help, and the card will be fully capable of that... but until the benchmarks and reviews are in, I wouldn't make any decisions.

    Might's well post our gear in here too...

    MacBook Pro 15" 2008 , 2.2ghz c2d with 4gb RAM and 500gb HDD OSX 10.6 SnowLeopard. She flies.
    Have also had.. White MacBook (2007) and Black MacBook (2006) both of which were great too.
    (iPhone, iPod 5G and Shuffle 2G don't really count in this thread, but hey.)
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    Posted

    lol

    [attachment=9271:aff965122622adac8bf5e2f5564014a908064d38.jpg]
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    Posted


    MacBook Pro 15" 2008 , 2.2ghz c2d with 4gb RAM and 500gb HDD OSX 10.6 SnowLeopard. She flies.
    Have also had.. White MacBook (2007) and Black MacBook (2006) both of which were great too.
    (iPhone, iPod 5G and Shuffle 2G don't really count in this thread, but hey.)


    why have you got the macbook and blackbook? the MBP not good enough?
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    Posted

    Past tense bro. Long story with those, might post it all up later.

    Off to Apple store now. Will probably tweet nonsense while in the queue if I have signal.
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    Posted

    JayX please report on the (subjective) awesomeness of the Apple store.
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    Despite the 3G signal throughout St D2, the phone signal in there is equally as bad as the rest of the building, and my prospective live tweeting didn't go down. Also, I borrowed an LG phone off my mate which confused the hell out of me, so the apple dance wasn't recorded despite me thinking it was, and the other clips crashed out 7 secs in. I need a 3GS.

    SO!

    St David's is really nice, 'big' and I like the way they have small shops in inlets next to the openings of the big shops. Hard to explain, but you'll get it when you go there.

    Apple front is great, the only shop around that doesn't need to put it's name but a giant glowing Apple sign. I was queuing by the St David's escalators from St D1 presuming the actual centre would be open already, but it wasn't.. Centre was 10.30, Apple at 10.45. As it was a distance away from Apple, my queue position was compromised from the word go.. Apple had a pretty hefty security team and were the only store open with true brand loyalty. Lots and lots of people, queuing all away around the centre itself. At 10.45, the Apple Dance(tm) began... lots of whoopings as the entire staff ran out the double doors and high fived everyone waiting to go in. They then congregated by the door, whooping and high fiving people as they got to enter the store itself. The whole thing was very 'Apple' in the fact there was genuine excitement and happiness from both people waiting to go in, and the people working there. Guaranteed that some people were in the queue who don't know Apple much, don't own any of their stuff, but have gone away enjoying just going into a new store.

    I got my Tshirt. All black, front has an Apple logo with 'St Davids 2' next to it, back has the classic 'Designed in California by Apple'. 1 of 1,000... glad they didn't just give out generic shirts. I'll never wear it, but it is pretty cool.

    Inside was all the new hardware. I had a mess about with the Magic Mouse on a 27" iMac, both ruled. This was 'just' the C2D 3.06ghz not the quad, I don't know if the other one on display was a quad, I should've checked. The MM is really nice, mucccchhh better than Mighty Mouse, altho even with the tracking speed on full I felt it could go a wee bit faster.

    I've got photos, nothing special but will upload when I get home.

    Go there today, even with that many people in there it didn't feel packed despite not being huge (it's big tho, for a single brand store). Everything is 'Apple', from the ability to pay without queueing (retail staff have card readers around their necks) and massive LCD screens at the end bars telling you when your appointment is up.

    The cult has landed.
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    Posted (edited)

    After a 3 day Vista stall recently, I realised I need a laptop for emergencies regarding my work. I initially thought I'd get some kind of Mac. I had a look at some and the price coming in for what I need was about £1,200. A Dell laptop with the same specs (plus I already have all the software I need, so that was another issue) was £349. It's a no brainer really. Apple Mac is "cool" but it definitely does look to be a "cult" - style over substance, another reason for ultra-geeks who I swear to god must be working covertly for them (Jay X) to spew their superiority all over the internet. And isn't Snow Leopard or whatever it's called literally wiping people's hard-drives into oblivion? Obviously, Vista is not the best - I've been using it since end of Jan and it only just caused me a problem. Bearing that in mind, I'm going to keep an eye on Windows 7 reviews / opinion / problems, then upgrade / buy a laptop with Windows 7 on it. This isn't a total diss, I would LOVE a pile of Mac's, they look nice and are less virus prone, but the costs are so vastly different compared to PC's that they're just not "economically viable" for me. Will still check the shop out though!

    Also, Jay X, what other shops are in this centre? Is Yo Sushi open yet? Edited by Ally Needy
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    Posted

    You'd be fine with a £700 (£500 sensibly bought) MacBook for what you do, you absolutely don't need a Pro. I have one because I paid £800 for a £1300 model, because as I said in the OP - don't pay RRP. I can't stand Dell personally, and I would never own one but that's me (and this is going to my pre-Apple days where my friend was charged £50 by them for a 3.5" floppy drive, custom, in 2005). Before I bought a MacBook I was sizing up PC laptops and for what I wanted they weren't really any cheaper, in fact the ThinkPad I wanted was more expensive.

    As stated in first post, Apple aren't and don't pretend to be cheap, but you can't compare them to any other company in computing and to do so isn't fair. Saying 'style over substance' shows you don't really know what you're talking about, and kinda says you didn't even read my first post.

    There's a bug that affected very few people in SL with regards to Guest access, and caused some data deletion. It's been dealt with already. Whenever an Apple OS has a bug it's a big deal because major ones don't occur very often. If we had a thread where everytime there's a Vista/XP problem it'd crash the board. In fact my XP box has rebooted itself without asking 3 times in a matter of weeks because of security update issues. Trying to remote into a machine that's sitting at a login screen? A pain in the ass.

    I didn't really look at the rest of the centre, I was on lunch and only had an hour to get in and get out. I saw a Nandos but no Yo Sushi. Holdfast is/was there, and he sounds disappointed with the culinary choice.

    edit: just looked at my map, which says that Yo Sushi is on the ground floor which is why I didn't see it. Sounds like it might be open. I can't say I'm overly excited despite my love of Asian food, but it's nice to more choice.
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