First the iPod Shuffle, and now a Macbook! Granted, that the shuffle was a raffle prize at work, it still was my first official Apple possession. For the longest time, I imagined myself never ever buying a Mac simply because to me it never appeared as a serious development platform. Having grown up with DOS and then the ever evolving Windows platform, adopting an OS that still used Objective C for most app development just didn’t seem interesting to me.
Well, my story is somewhat interesting. I had been observing the pricing of Macbooks for a while, and they no longer appeared expensive to me. Then, this past Monday, Apple released the Safari web browser for Windows during the WWDC. Now, what’s unique about Safari on Windows is that it uses the same underlying font rendering technology as used by OSX, which is fundamentally different from the Microsoft approach. Put in less words, on screen fonts are more WYSIWG-esque in OSX than on Windows.
So, anyway, I downloaded the browser, and even though it wasn’t impressive performance-wise, I was really impressed with the font rendering and the interface, in general. After about 15 minutes of use, I had made up my mind to get the most basic Macbook the very same evening. I actually limped my way to the Apple store!
I now have a white Macbook with 2GB of RAM.
The reason I didn’t go with the more expensive Macbook Pro is simply that the added performance just wasn’t that valuable to me. I don’t play games (have an Xbox 360, a Wii, and a PC for that), or do any amount of video editing/graphics rendering, or even download significant music. I do, however, use my time with computers to entertain myself (Internet radio, DVDs, browsing), be productive (generate money), write applications (Java), and to communicate. None of these activities require a high end professional machine. Not to mention that I would love to spend less, but more frequently on current technology than spend a whole lot more on something I can’t expect to last another year.
So, now that I have my story behind me, it’s time to discuss my experience so far. In a nutshell, I am nothing short of amazed at how good everything looks and works. The design of both the hardware and software is impeccable. Everything is minimalistic (which is a good thing most of the times), and great emphasis is paid on the user experience. I haven’t had any negative experiences, yet, except for the fact that I haven’t been able to find a replacement for iTunes.
One thing that really irked me for a while was the fact that I was having to switch between my new Macbook and my older Windows laptop for a lot of stuff, mostly work related. Now, my development environment at work is entirely Windows based, and we don’t even have a good VPN client for the Mac. Fortunately, I had a spare license of Windows XP Pro laying around to be used in a virtual machine on my new macbook. This means that I can now use the virtualized Windows installation on my Macbook for work related development!
I am really happy with this purchase. Next on the agenda is to get a little versed in the basics of AppleScript!