Getting an iMac

Decided I’m going to bite the bullet and get this. Sick of PCs-Windows. Mainly want to tinker around with photos and videos, look at the internet, watch and make DVDs, manage my music. I know I’ll have to pay a premium. Prepared for that. Any suggestions and/or must dos/don’ts, essential add ons, etc?

Why are you “Sick of PCs-Windows”? Do you have a list of specific issues or complaints that you believe will be resolved by switching to the Mac architecture and OS X operating system? I don’t mean to dissuade you from considering the alternatives–I am a somewhat reluctantly advocate of several Apple devices myself, including a MacBook Pro, and iPhone, and an iPad–but while I think Apple produces solid hardware and a great operating system (based on the *nix FreeBSD operating system and enhanced with the OpenSTEP framework), for the average user whose uses are web-browsing, photo and video manipulation, and similar application needs, the difference in performance and stability between Win7 and OS X is not that much, and the Mac is not a panacea for all limitations of personal computers as an appliance. I would recommend doing some research, including spending some time working on a Mac before you make a firm decision.

That being said, if you do switch over to a Mac computer, you’ll certainly want to get the appropriate Missing Manual, which will step you through the differences and nuances of OS X and will also show you a lot of great shortcuts that even many die-hard OS X advocates aren’t aware of. (OS X was designed not only as a consistent GUI interface, but also to accept keyboard input almost exclusively, so if you are a power user that does a lot of work from the console you can become well versed in operating the OS and most applications almost entirely via keystroke instead of mouse or touchpad.) You should also set up the machine to have an Admin account and separate, non-admin user accounts (which is a security deficiency in the default OS X configuration).

In terms of peripherals, while Apple does provide some nice options in this regard, it also charges a premium for peripherals. (Base hardware, on the other hand, is actually competitive with many PC offerings if you compare apples to apples.) Monitors and wireless points are particularly egregious in cost; on the other hand, the Bluetooth keyboard I purchased for use with the iPad is actually one of the best keyboards I’ve ever used and was worth the $69 price tag.



There is a ton of free software for OS X - my favorite free apps are Handbrake, VLC, TextWrangler and Grand Perspective. Find a local Mac user’s group and ask a lot of questions. OS X is pretty intuitive, but it also has some truly perplexing idiosyncrasies (like the Dock’s behavior). Remember, it’s not Windows - so don’t expect to accomplish tasks with the same steps.

The new models just debuted yesterday, I think.

(You said you want the iMac but you might check out the Sony or HP all in one models - they come with a touch screen. actually a nice feature for what you will use it for. I use the touch some buy my kids love it.)

Mine arrives Friday! But all of the bits and pieces have already started arriving, so I can heartily recommend the Magic Trackpad. I normally hate laptop trackpads, and this morning I confirmed again that I hate laptop trackpads (on my Dell/XP at work), but the Magic Trackpad has been an excellent experience.

You’ll want to look at Parallels Workstation and/or VMWare Fusion if you still have a heavy investment in Windows software. These will let you run Windows in a virtual machine. Or you could always use BootCamp, but you have to reboot between Windows and Mac OS all the time. I used to use Windows XP in a virtual machine quite a bit, but these days, the only reason I boot into Windows (now Win 7) is to receive security updates.

And the other great thing about a new model is that last year’s model is already starting to trickle into Apple’s Refurb store (look for the Sale tag on the Apple Store homepage).

Tempted, but our '98 iMac is still humming along, running Snow Leopard. No big probs, and I’ve been negligent on maintenance.

I guess you could say my iMac has made me lazy. It just works.

But I’d check for newest deals… sometimes Expercom or MacMall have good packages.

And Dealmac has a great tagline: “How to go broke saving money”.

How did you get the PowerPC to execute Intel-only code? :dubious:

My iMac is about a year old and it’s been wine and roses the whole time.

If you want to be free of all the Windows nonsense, don’t put any tools on your system for letting it run Windows. You’ll really be free this way.
Get iWorks if you think you could use it. I think it was a great bargain. Though, I’m not sure if the $49 I paid for it is always its price.
The Missing Manual paperbacks are fine. I got a book about Switching To the Mac which was also useful. I think it’s the same author as the Missing Manual.
You might try the Magic Touchpad, too. I have one and love it. I don’t even have a mouse plugged in anymore.

oops. Cause I was wrong on the year – I’ve got the first Intel iMac, whenever that was…

Haven’t owned a Windows machine since 2003. Wish I’d switched earlier.

What to get? Spend the $ on Disk Warrior. Run it once a month or so. Your machine starts acting buggy? You take it to the Apple Store. They charge a fee to do an in depth analysis. Know what that is? They run the Disk Warrior software appropriate to your Mac OS release.

Buy it at the Apple store and own the disk. Well worth it. Quite powerful piece of software. Otherwise? Enjoy it !!!

If you’re starting without any software, Macheist and similar bundles can be good value (but check the list of packages carefully to see if it suits).

Spend extra money up front on a faster processor, better screen (if that’s an option) and better video card. Don’t buy their memory upgrade, it’s spectacularly overpriced, and can easily be done later with memory bought elsewhere.

iWork is a bargain if you need Keynote.

Since the OP is seeking advice, this is better suited to IMHO than GQ.

General Questions Moderator

Keep in mind the iMac (even the new one) doesn’t ‘do’ Blu-ray (WTF?).

The magic mouse is like a having a trackpad on a mouse so you can do detailed mouse work plus have the functionality of the trackpad. Pretty nice.

The stock keyboard is like a Macbook Pro keyboard (no numeric keypad, small arrow keys) so if you want a keyboard with a numeric keypad you need to specify it in your order.

In case you’re not familiar with itunes Homeshare you can use it to copy your songs in itunes from one computer to the other (PC<–>PC or PC<–>Mac).

In my experience Apple’s $899 monitors are actually really great deals, compared to what it takes to get an display of equivalent quality from another manufacturer. However, most people don’t need a $900 monitor, and if you’re paying for more than you need it’s no longer a good deal.

Same thing for the wireless access point. My parents finally settled on an Apple Airport Extreme as the only WAP that could cover all 4 floors of their enormous house without requiring a special antenna or secondary base stations. If your needs are less extreme (heh), you can go with a cheaper model.

I’d consider waiting until 10.7 Lion comes out, unless you can get a free upgrade. If it actually had Blu-ray support, I’d definitely say wait.

People only think they don’t need a 27" IPS panel because they don’t have a 27" IPS panel. Once you experience one, you can’t go back. Maybe for 120 Hz.

The Mac handles Blu-Ray… it just doesn’t play Blu-Ray in the DVD Player application (to my knowledge), but you can burn a Blu-Ray fine in Toast, and rip a Blu-Ray fine with MakeMKV. My Hackintosh has a Blu-Ray burner which works perfectly.

I switched from Win7 to a shiny new 27" iMac about 6 months ago. I regret the decision daily.

It sure is a pretty device but it has been nothing but problems and hassles. As for ‘tinkering’ with photos - be prepared to do it ONLY the way Apple wants you to do it. In fact, prepare for that with ever single use-case with the computer. YOU are not smart enough to have control over your computer to do what you want, you MUST do it how Apple wants you to do it.

Other problems I’ve experienced:

Bootcamp never works correctly on re-boot. I am given the selection screen of Macintosh HD and BOOTCAMP (Win7) but the wireless mouse nor keyboard respond so I cannot actually switch my selection to the BOOTCAMP partition to launch Win7. On the rare occassions where I can make the selection (about 3% of attempts), it’ll just crash while booting Win7.

Printing to wireless printer (HP PhotoSmart Plus) rarely works even though iMac says it is connected to printer or takes over an hour to spool the print job to the printer (2 page document, like a resume). When these problems are occurring I can send a print request from my laptop to the same printer, or send a print job via email to the printer, and they’ll print immediately. The print job from the iMac - fuggedaboutit.

iPhone - The simple fact that for whatever reason Apple refuses to allow me to browse my iPhone as if it was an external drive is infuriating. I can do this in Windows, why the hell can’t I do it on an iMac without having to jump through fifty hoops and third-party applications to do so. What is equally frustrating is how the iPhone is treated differently than an iPod. My iPod shows up when I plug it in as a device/drive and I can browse it to my hearts content but not my iPhone. F-ck you Apple.

Power Management - Never, ever, EVER wakes up with a keyboard or mouse click. I have to reach around the back and toggle the power button to wake it up. When it does wake-up, it takes over a minute to establish internet connection via wireless router. My WinXP laptop establishes the connection immediately upon waking. Another thing that irritates me is apparently I cannot turn off the power settings to the monitor (never sleep) as somehow this will damage my iMac per the warnings I get when I try. This is stupidity beyond compare - it is a monitor and that is what screen savers are for. I never “sleep” my display on my PC’s, that is what the screen saver is for!

Gah! I could go on and on. The form factor, lack of cable clutter, and shiny screen are nice I guess. Not worth the premium price I paid for this to replace my previous Win7 PC.

MeanJoe, interesting. I used Windows boxes exclusively until I started college, where our lab just had Macs. I bought a Centris 610 in 1993 and I have owned Macs ever since.

I wonder if you might have more success running Parallels on the OS X side? I have a Bootcamp partition on my Macbook Pro (2007) and I never have the problems you describe. Everything works - wireless Bluetooth keyboard, wired mouse, external drives.

As far as browsing your iPhone as an external drive - it’s not designed to be used that way. Are you saying that you can plug in your iPhone in Windows and browse? That doesn’t sound right unless you’ve jailbroken it and installed some stuff. I browse my iPhone for pictures, etc. using either iPhone Explorer or via SSH using Fugu.

Anyway - I brought up this thread because I’m going to buy my first new Mac since 2000! (I won a 17" Macbook Pro in 2006, but it was a Rev A model with a buggy video card that Apple never officially recalled - they do suck for that.)

It’s going to be a 27" iMac, with the i7 processor, the highest available video card, and a SSD drive and 2 TB internal. I’m excited because I am finally able to get the Mac I want, rather than “this is the best I can afford.” I’m a little weirded out with an all-in-one Mac - my last one was a Performa 5200, which is one of the shittiest Macs ever built. I still have my Sawtooth G4 (well, my sister uses it) and I love how I could take it apart so easily) - probably my favorite Mac.

I will probably at some point invest in a Blu-Ray burner just because 80 GB to archive stuff on one disc seems pretty great to me. Of course, I will buy my own memory and max it out to save a couple of bucks. It’s gonna be pricey - around $3000 - but I tend to use these machines for 5 years.

Any thoughts about the 2011 iMacs? I don’t think I’ll do Bootcamp, I’ll just run Parallels - should be fast enough for the mainly text-based programs I use in Windows.

Prior to purchasing the iMac I was using Win7. I had upgraded to Win7 from XP. In Win7, and I believe in XP, anytime I connected my iPhone to my computer via the USB cable it detected and displayed the iPhone as a connected device under My Computer. I could, within My Computer/Explorer, explore the iPhone as if it was another drive. I did not do this regularly mind you, but I would occasionally go looking for a specific picture on the iPhone and copy it to my PC.