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A rant about Macs…

By ActionGeek. Posted in Geek | 2 Comments »

Why, oh why are Macs selling so well?  is there some sort of subliminal messaging in Apple’s advertising that is hypnotising people?

I went into the local Apple store recently to look for an iPhone case and was amazed at how many people were in there, and especially looking at the iMacs, seemingly entranced by them.

I’m about to upgrade my computer myself so I decided to take a look at the new  iMac 27″ model, hoping that would be a suitable replacement for my main desktop PC and my aging MacBook Pro since I rarely take a laptop with me these days, just replying on my phone and iPad when I’m not in the office.

The problem is though, when I started looking at the specs I was amazed at how much was MISSING! I’m primarily a PC user, so I’m used to buying (or more usually building) a fairly high spec machine at a reasonable price. The iMac costs quite a bit more than I would normally spend on a desktop computer so I was stunned at these omissions:

No mic input (what?) Seriously, you can’t just plug a headset in for Skype, you need to invest an extra £35 in an “iMic” interface, for a feature that’s included in every £299 PC laptop!

No optical drive!?!?! Despite the iTunes web page stating that you can “import your CDs…” they decided not to allow you to do that, or watch DVDs, or install non-downloaded software, or burn backups, or mac mix CDs for the car…

All USB ports at the back where you can’t reach them! Because obviously that will be fun, fishing around the back for your USB stick which you need to keep using because you can’t use a DVD!

No Firewire – want to hookup a video camera, or a prosumer audio device… not on an iMac, not unless you want to pay an extra (£35) for the add on interface!

No DVI ports – because obviously everyone with a Mac wants to spent £1000 on an Apple branded external monitor rather than plugging in a couple of their existing monitors… and of course it’s £25 (per port!!) for Thunderbolt to DVI adapters!

No height adjustment… that’s right, the nice shiny polished aluminium stand is a fixed height because obviously all Apple users are the same height (and from the look of it, Apple users are several inches shorter than me or all get chronic neck pain pretty quickly!)

No VESA mounts… again obviously, because they wouldn’t want you getting around the lack of height adjustment by mounting it like you can with any budget monitor (unless you buy the £35 mount adapter kit, and even then that only works on the 27″ model – they don’t do one for the 21″ model!)

No numeric keypad… the default keyboard is one of those teeny, tiny ones with no tactical feedback (I guess Apple users don’t touch type?) and no numeric keypad (so I guess they don’t use 3D software, or do much maths either!)

And for the privilege of buying a computer with all these wonderful benefits/omissions… they only charge 3 times the price of an equivalent PC!

Seriously Apple, I’d like to be able to order a new iMac but there’s just no way I can justify it, time to build another PC I guess!

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2 Responses to “A rant about Macs…”

  1. 1
    Aynx Says:

    I know you have this listed as a rant, but it’s really annoying when geeks talk about Apple and level a bunch of complaints at them as if they were the only offenders.

    What if I were to suggest that Apple wasn’t selling to you?

    Most of these complaints have nothing to do with Apple specifically and could easily be applied to pretty much any other computer as well.

    Basically all your complaints centre upon “they changed a bunch of stuff I liked!”.

    No Mic Input: USB headsets work fine. There are plenty of notebooks from Levono, Toshiba, Dell and HP without a 3.5″ mic jacks over the last 10 years. The Mac Mini hasn’t had a microphone jack in about 7 years.

    No Optical Drive: Mac Mini’s have come without an optical for years. So has the MBA. So do tons of currently available netbooks and ultraportables.

    All USB are on the back: USB extension cord and/or USB hub.

    No Firewire: Nobody but Apple has supported ‘firewire’ specifically with some companies going with ‘i.LINK’ (Sony) or just ‘ieee1394′. USB3 and Thunderbolt are both faster than Firewire and can easily encapsule anything Firewire did.

    No DVI port: There’s a mini-DVI port. Just beacuse it’s a different form factor doesn’t mean it’s not the same port. It is also used in new PC notebooks from various manufacturers such as Microsoft, Lenovo, Toshiba, HP and Dell. This is as silly as complaining that you need an adapter to connect an analog VGA adpater to DVI. Sure if you don’t HAVE an adapter you’d have to buy one, but if you do, it’s not a big deal:
    Mini-DVD to HDMI $5 http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?p_id=4852&seq=1&format=2
    Mini-DVI to DVI $5 http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=104&cp_id=10419&cs_id=1041912&p_id=4851&seq=1&format=2
    Mini-DVI to VGA $5 http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=104&cp_id=10419&cs_id=1041912&p_id=4850&seq=1&format=2

    No Height Adjustment – the Dell monitor for my work PC hasn’t any height adjustment either, just swivel up and down.

    No VESA mounts – They sell VESA mounting kits ($35) and sell ones with built in VESA mounts, including the 21.5″ model.

    No numeric keypad – straight up personal preference; I’ve been a computer geek all my life and have never ever needed a 10-key pad. If you need a keyboard with one, you can buy one. You can also get a bluetooth keypad separately. Not idea, but hardly earthshattering.
    Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad – http://store.apple.com/ca/product/MB110LL/B/apple-keyboard-with-numeric-keypad
    Bluetooth keypad – http://www.gizmag.com/cropmark-lmp-bluetooth-keypad/17652/

    And your price assertion is inaccurate as well; you can get a 21.5″ iMac for $1300 (Canadian as that’s where I am). There is no way you could get a 2.7Ghz Intel Core i5, 8GB of RAM, 1TB hard drive, discrete NVIDIA Geforce GT 640M in a PC form factor for $425 — 1/3 of the price of the iMac, since you assert it is three times the cost. Especially in a slender, brushed aluminum case.

    I’m not an Apple fan (indeed, all Linux these days) but I have used them in the past, along with Amigas, Macs, PCs .. a computer is all about “the right tool for the right job”, my friend, and obviously the Apple isn’t the tool for you.

  2. 2
    ActionGeek Says:

    Thanks for your comment. You do have a point with a few things, but in general I think you’re missing the point or way off. Apple might not be the “only offender” but they are BY FAR the biggest!

    Price – I’m typing this reply on my iMac (necessary evil since I do iOS dev for clients) which where in the UK cost me £1499 (not including the extra I paid for a CD/DVD drive, USB hub and port adapters) and I just had a quick look and found an HP Pavillion 2.7g, 1TB, 8GB for £499 so yeah, about three times the price but hey even if it was twice the price I’d still expect it to get the job done better…

    No numeric keypad – yes it’s a personal preference, but if they offer a wired option with a numeric why not a wireless – surely a premium supplier should be able to offer that sort of choice to their customers? (and you may be a computer geek but if you have no need for one I’m guessing you don’t do any sort of math heavy coding, 3D modelling, or your own accounts!) Yes, you can buy a 3rd party add-on (on top of the VESA mount adapter, port adapters, USB hub, optical drive…) but when I’m paying for a premium product I don’t really expect to have to pay for these extras. Incidentally, I asked if I could buy the computer without the mouse and keyboard (which are individually priced at £57 and £59 respectively) but I was told no – you HAVE to buy them as a package! Now I’ve been using my Logitech Wave and MX1000 for several years, and they will likely keep going for several more… but when it’s time to upgrade my computer again I’ll have to buy ANOTHER mouse and keyboard whether I need them or not!)

    Forget about the cost, or annoyance, or personal preference – isn’t that just plain unethical and ecologically unsound – to have a business model which forces your customers to buy extra new hardware all the time? I suspect that in a few years I’ll need to upgrade and yet the mouse, keyboard, and more importantly the monitor will still be working just fine – but there isn’t even a video input on the monitor so I couldn’t even reuse it as a screen for a console, or add a tuner and put in in the spare bedroom as a TV!! Poor show Apple IMO.


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