I’m actually very happy with my MacBook even if it isn’t a ‘pro’. Every time I use it I compare it to the many other brands of laptop I use at work and it confirms to me that whatever else you might think about Apple they make some of the best laptops I’ve used in the past couple of years. Not the cheapest. Not the most powerful money can buy, not the most features squeezed into one case, but in terms of an overall good balance of features and flexibility I think they’re out there. Especially for IT pros who might need to run any number of operating systems, you can point to any other laptop you prefer out there and the Apples run all the same i386 OSes your alternatives can, plus OS X as well.
My MacBook has it’s 3rd disk in it now. It’s an original “Core Duo” model and it came with the 80Gb that was standard back then and I’ve upgraded 80Gb –> 160Gb –> 250Gb. I want to emphasise at this point that these upgrades have been caused by storage needs, not by reliability problems with any of the older hard drives, who are now living inside span 2.5″ external storage cases and doing a stellar job of providing space for backups.
It amazes me changing hard disks is easier in the Macbook than it is in the Macbook Pro, but however you look at it, portable storage is only recently starting to chase after desktop storage. Actually even on desktops it isn’t all peaches and cream. I have a Windows desktop and an Apple laptop and I’d love to get an Apple desktop to replace the Windows machine.
However, I can’t really justify the cost of a Mac Pro (It’s not that I don’t have the money, it’s just that I have more important things in life to spend it on) and the iMac is actually quite an unattractive proposition to a ‘techhead switcher’.
If I purchased an iMac, I’d get a 20″ monitor I didn’t need or a 24″ monitor that’s too big for me to use comfortably built into the iMac in place of my perfectly fine 22″ TFT I have now, I’d get tighter memory expansion ability than I currently am used to, which isn’t a big deal for most users, after all, 4 Gigabytes ought to be enough for anybody for now, but when you mess about a lot with virtual machines like I do, you might quickly start wishing for a bit more memory headroom to share between those virtual machines …
As a PC gamer, I’d also want to play some of my old PC games via BootCamp and the current iMac graphics card options are all a little underpowered for some of the games I currently own to really strut their stuff. Actually, so are the Mac Pro options at the moment now I come to think about it, the ATI X1900 series is a great graphics card but it’s not ATI’s varsity any more and hasn’t been for a little while. Isn’t the Mac Pro line due an update soon?
Worst of all, with an iMac I’d lose the ability to stuff several medium-sized hard disks into the case that I currently rely on. If I upgrade my PC to a new one or win the lottery and buy a Mac Pro I could very easily drag all but one of my current desktop drives over to the new machine as part of switching, leave the OS drive in the old machine so I can sell it and bring my data across on the other internal drives with no mess or fuss.
A real shame, I want to switch fully but Apple aren’t making it easy for me.
Now I realise that the iMac is meant to be a complete package and the fact that you can’t / don’t have to open it up and fiddle with the insides is actually a selling point of the product to its target audience. I’m not arguing with that, I absolutely agree with what the product is trying to do here, but there is a gap between that and the Mac Pro for a reasonable cost Apple machine, say a slightly more modest specced version of the Mac Pro that didn’t come with a monitor but cost about the same as a 20″ iMac.