Taking the iMac plunge: configuration advice?

After 30 years of Microsoft, I’m finally fed up with it and ready to switch to Apple. I’m pretty sure there is no problem with document/photo/music transfer, as there is Word and Excel for Apple, and the music is already on iTunes.

Computer configuration is a bit of a question for me, as I’m not familiar enough with the Apple system. So here’s what I’ve initially selected:

21.5" Retina 4K iMac 3.1GHz i5 processor
2TB Fusion Drive
Magic Mouse 2
Magic Keyboard
Intel Iris Pro 6200

My questions:
I really don’t want ‘swipe’ ability. Does the Magic Mouse have the ability to just operate like a regular mouse, or am I better off with the wired mouse?

Is the Magic Keyboard a good product, or is it glitchy?

Is there any advantage to the flash drive over the Fusion drive? I really don’t know the difference.

What exactly does the ‘Track Pad’ do? Is this something that I should have?

There is no huge project work to be done on this computer. The biggest processing chores would be doing after-shoot photo manipulation. Does that configuration look more than adequate for the chore?

I presently use Outlook on my PC to handle email. What options are there for Mac; or does it come with an email handling software?

When it comes to photo manipulation, more memory is always better. 8gb is way too small.

Magic Mouse is just fine, the Mail application is part of the OS and works well with any number of mail providers. I use it with 3 different accounts.

The Spreadsheet application, Sheets understands Excel pretty well. Likewise, Pages understands Word. Try those before plunking down cash for Mac Office.

I will let others chime in on the stuff I don’t use.

Good information. I figured 16GB would be a better bet (it’s what I have now), but was trying to save a couple hundred bucks.

The Magic Trackpad is awesome.
If you are comfortable using the trackpad on a laptop, it’s like a much bigger version, and supports all kinds of neat gestures. I’ve given up mice for it (and, I used the best mouse out there - the logitech MX).

A program I use quite a bit is “Grab” which as you might deduce, grabs a portion or all of the screen. It then will save it as jpeg or tiff file.

You should also make use of "Time Machine’ to perform regular backups of your files to an external disk’ An alternative is storing some data them on iCloud.

Enjoy. :slight_smile:

I’m still using Outlook because… inertia, but I understand that the latest version of Mail on the Mac is very similar. It used to be not so good, but supposedly is good now.

Welcome to the club! :wink:

Unfortunately, that’s the biggest limitation of the 21" iMacs – the memory you buy them with is the memory they’ll have forever; it’s soldered in.

If it were me, I’d spend that extra $300 to get to the 27" iMac instead – it has four user-accessible memory card slots, and you can add memory as needed from sources much, MUCH cheaper than buying it from Apple at purchase time. Plus bigger is always better for screens when it comes to photography work.

Is that 27" horizontal or diagonal?

I switched five and a half years ago and have been very happy since. I have a Magic Trackpad and echo what beowulff said. It works so nicely, feels so natural, and makes mousing much easier. In fact this has me thinking about getting one (with my own money) for my office PC…

I don’t know about the Magic Keyboard, but I have an Apple Wireless Keyboard that is somewhat similar, and it works great too. If it looked appealing to me as I was doing what you are doing, I wouldn’t hesitate.

There are legitimate debates about how big a fan of Apple one should be, such as whether the price premium is worth it, and I’m not shaving their logo into the back of my head (as I have seen done), but I have to say, their computer hardware is VERY nice and works well – and their OS and other software is typically pretty good and robust. Keeping control of hardware and OS together really does let them make it more reliable.

I now think of PCs as being like a cheap version of Macs intended for people who are 50% user and 50% computer hobbyist/tinkerer.

So the Trackpad takes the place of a mouse? Or is it in addition to same? I’m not sure my spouse is up for learning how to use a new peripheral.

Can I assume that the Mac is wireless capable via the router I’m using now?

The trackpad replaces a mouse, but you can use a mouse, too (if you really want to get confused as to who is controlling the pointer…).
It’s a tap, swipe, stroke device - very much like a smartphone.

ETA: Yes, it can connect via WiFi to your existing network.

Ah, I see. I don’t think that will fly with her. She’s a brilliant person except when it comes to electronic devices (if the TV and DVR don’t both come on at the same time, she can’t figure out how to correct the mistake, despite repeated instructions from me). So a mouse it shall be.

This is all very helpful to me, folks. I need to be able to reassure my spouse that the transition will be relatively painless, and with a short learning curve. It’s not really a hard sell, as the recent problems with the BSOD got her attention. Maybe a trip to the Apple store would be a good idea.

The gestures on the trackpad are amazing though. Worth at least playing with.

I don’t have one yet as I still use a Wacom tablet at home, but I’m thinking about buying one for work. I intense,y dislike my laptop provided by work and once I get around to buying the right combo of monitor adapters, I’m going to toss it in a drawer an use my MacBook Pro exclusively.

The bloody annoying thing about the “magic” trackpad is that they haven’t integrated it into the keyboard. Apple spent (probably) millions of dollars prototyping the perfect arrangement of keys and trackpad for their laptops, and then they release a trackpad that has to be placed on desk to the the side of the keyboard so that you can’t type and use the trackpad at the same time.

I wish they’d just release a wireless keyboard/trackpad combo that looks exactly like the keyboard of a Mac Book.

I ordered both the magic mouse and trackpad when I bought my iMac a couple of years ago. The trackpad is kind of nice, but I find it very annoying when doing tasks like copying and pasting things between documents or retouching photos.

The magic mouse is superb. You don’t need any of the gestures if you don’t want, and if you want to scroll through a page, gently stroke the mouse’s back in the desired direction, it behaves as if it had a scroll wheel. Some people find it kind of low to the table for their taste, but Apple isn’t the only company selling mice.

Get a larger screen–you won’t regret it. You can’t add the $$$ next year and upgrade the screen, so do it from the start. I love the large screen.

Also, get the best hard drive you can, for your own definition of “best”. The iMac is more unserviceable these days than ever, so don’t plan on ever upgrading the drive. You might want to go for a SSD, though smaller, and use an external firewire drive for big stuff like media. An iMac with an SSD is amazing.

SSD? Is that the Fusion drive or the Flash drive? Doesn’t seem to be any other options for the 27.

I didn’t realize that the 21.5" iMac didn’t have user replaceable memory. I wouldn’t even have checked for such a thing.

I have a 27" iMac. OK, I have three, but who’s counting? :stuck_out_tongue: Very easy to upgrade the memory in these, and it’s relatively inexpensive. I have 32GB in my main iMac. Right now the price of the memory in this configuration is $145 on Amazon. (2-16GB kits, totalling 4-8GB DIMMs). The price bump for the 27" is definitely worthwhile. It’s great for watching TV and movies. We mostly watch TV on the iMac I have on my wall in my kitchen. I haven’t turned on my actual television in years.

Flash drive is probably pure SSD–more expensive and much smaller, but very fast. Fusion drive is a combo: a very small SSD piggybacked on a regular HD with OS support for treating it as one hardware unit and putting the most frequently-used stuff on the faster SSD (e.g. OS files).

I have a Fusion drive in my late-model iMac, a 1TB combo, and it works like a charm…if pure Flash is too pricy or if it doesn’t offer enough space, fusion might be the right choice for you.

ETA: I put a small SSD in my mom’s 2010 iMac last month and it made an amazing difference in speed. Sadly, that was probably the last year that user-serviceable iMacs were made, and even then the surgery was painful.

Thanks. As long as I can bump/replace RAM, I’m happy. I see that Apple offers 18 month, no interest credit, which is nice. I can pay cash, but hey. . .

For what it’s worth, I took the iMac plunge with the release of Windows 8. (I swore up and down that I would never go Apple, but Windows 8 really pissed me off.) I went back to PC with the release of Windows 10 (because the OSX Yosemite upgrade killed the performance of my iMac and pissed me off even more.)