Since christmas, I've had one problem after the next with my desktop. I let my Dad loose with it for an hour, and after clicking on some rather precarious links looking for a holiday, it was destroyed past the point of no return. Never before, nor since, have I seen so many virus'ey toolbars installed and the likes. Added to this, the fan decided to pack-in, forcing me to break apart my shiny silver tower to replace it.
In terms of laptops, I've slowly been migrating towards using a MacBook for 90% of my day to day tasks. In the past I used to justify windows by saying how much free (well, free if you know where you're looking) software there was. But now I'm a bit older, and working, I find it 1000x more convenient just to buy the things I use. I know where I stand with my pretty MacBook, it just... works, to be quite frank.
When my desktop finally gave up, and went to Microsoft heaven, I decided that I'd finally take the plunge and give in to my desires, I bought an iMac. It's like deciding to have a baby, there's a lot to take into consideration.
So, after an afternoon pottering around John Lewis, I brought my new baby home. I'd cleared out my desk in preparation, not a bit of dust in sight, no half drunken cups of coffee, just a clean, shiny glass desk. I was past the point of no return, not a single item in my life now ran windows, I'm fuc**d if I decide I want to play "Minesweeper" now.
I opted to by the 27" model, as top-spec as I could get my hands on. I've had my MacBook for years now, and it's never yet gone wrong, so I thought it was a worthwhile investment. If I think back to how much I spent on desktop PC parts a year, then the iMac has already paid for itself.
***SETTING IT UP***
The setup is pretty straight forward, nothing like the lengthy windows process. There's only 3 cables, power, keyboard, and mouse. Idiot-proof. Once you turn the power on for the first time, there's a bit of clicking to do, but then you're home and dry.
If you're used to windows, you might be a little disheartened. There's no 60-day trial of Office, not a 40 day trial of McAffee. HOWEVER. Theres iTunes, iMovie, iLife, Garageband...... basically, you can buy an iMac and start working right away. The only thing I was insistent on buying was Microsoft Office, and this is only an issue of personal taste, I do a lot of academic writing, and I didn't fancy the hassle of having to learn how to use apples proprietary office software for this.
I agree. That there isn't SUCH a wide range of software/hardware available for Mac. I won't go through an exhaustive list of what I've found to work... but to name a few that might be of interest to you lovely people:
-Logitech c510 webcam, works fine
-Wacom Bamboo Medium, works fine
-Seagate external hard drive, works fine
-Wacom CintiQ, works fine, took a while to configure though!
This model of the iMac has 4GB of RAM (I've since upgraded this to 8, why not 'eh), a 1TB hard-drive (plenty of 18MP photos and HD movies), Bluetooth (easy file transfer with phone), Wireless (so no long wires to the phone terminus).
IMHO, the specification is pretty special. The Mac OS is a bit more intensive than Windows 7 to run in some respects, but with 1TB of hard drive, and 4GB of RAM as standard, you should have no issues.
I ran a HD movie in the background, whilst playing HALO, and skyping a friend. There was no noticeable lag. I challenge you to find me a windows machine capable of doing this when bought straight off the shelf.
Yes, the screen deserves a special mention. PHWOAR. I love how the screen looks, 27" of pure, unadulterated design (Men, don't ever be told that size doesn't matter) . However, as I've said many times before here, I hate how shiny they are. Whilst it looks pretty, it is without a doubt completely un-practical. You accidentally touch the screen, fingerprints, you sit near a window, glare, the room is dusty, particles stick to the screen. AAAAARGH!!! Honestly, it's higher maintenance than being married to a wag. If you've got children around, you really don't want one of these, no matter how functional they are.
I find it a little hard to try push people onto Apple products. They ARE expensive. There's no denying it. For 90% of people, it probably is too much of a big investment. My point is that for the price I bought my iMac for, you could buy a top of the range PC and have a few hundred left over, to be frank, you could probably even buy a second-hand car for the price of an iMac (its lucky I cant drive). And for this, I think it's important to be sensible. Owning an iMac is a bit superfluous, I was willing to spend that cash, but I wouldn't have got myself into my overdraft to get one. As nice as they are, unless you're into hardcore design or video production, it's pretty much all about the looks.