By Paul Gorski
I have a long love-hate relationship with Apple products. While often stylish, sometimes the products haven’t always been practical. The Cube, Newton and Pippin were all products that showed some promise, but failed. Look them up via http://www.duckduckgo.com if you care to.
With desktop and laptop computer sales on the decline, computer manufacturers are trying to meet the needs for those users who still need a real computer, while maintaining profit margins. Apple has typically avoided the low-end of the market, packing their desktop computers with features and “style” to entice buyers to spend up to $2,000 for a new desktop computer.
Apple’s current 27-inch (http://www.apple.com/imac/) is packed with features and enough style for an entire line of computers. It is a piece of art.
However, you may need more than a piece of art to get your work done.
Before buying any computer, identify the computer programs you are likely to use. Make sure your software will run on your choice of computer. Example: QuickBooks users should stick with Windows-based PCs, as QuickBooks for Mac is a poor cousin to its Windows counterpart. Gamers, too, might not find their games available for Mac.
If you passed the screening set forth in the previous paragraph, and you have some money to spend, the 27-inch is a great choice for professional design, video editing, streaming video and more.
I’m not going to rattle off a long list of features. I’ll list some links at the end of the article; look up the details there. I’d simply like to highlight some strengths and weaknesses of this iMac.
The iMac is an all-in-one computer: screen, hard drive and computer guts all in one wonderfully thin case. As the name implies, the 27-inch iMac has a large screen. Designed for watching 16:9 video format movies, the screen is bright and vibrant with very low-glare — large enough to view full headshots as you video chat using the built-in FaceTime camera.
The current iMac is fast enough for my demanding Adobe Photoshop users, so it should be fast enough for most of your everyday tasks.
Gone are the days when a desktop computer took up the entire desktop. The Apple iMac is thin, lightweight and has a very small footprint. The stock iMac also ships with a wireless keyboard and wireless mouse for cord-free operation.
Not all is perfect in iMac-land. The default wireless keyboard mimics a laptop keyboard, fine for some, but as such, it lacks a numeric keypad. Some users will look hard for a DVD drive. You won’t find one. The current iMacs do not ship with an optical drive, but there are plenty of USB expansion ports for attaching an external optical drive.
You will see more and more manufacturers eliminate optical drives as more software is available by download only and video streaming becomes the norm.
Apple’s current 27-inch iMac is a great computer, but not perfect. I encourage potential buyers to visit the overly gushy reviews listed below and to be mindful of what their needs are. Don’t let “style” cause an impulse buy.
I fully expect Apple naysayers to have their cheeks turn red and blood pressure rise while reading this. Please take a deep breath and comment below.
The current 27-iMac was announced last fall, but didn’t really start shipping until this spring. Reviews of the currently shipping iMac include: Computer Shopper (http://www.computershopper.com/desktops/reviews/apple-imac-27-inch-2012-version), PC Magazine (http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2412808,00.asp), and Engadget (http://www.engadget.com/2012/12/03/apple-imac-review-2012/).
Paul Gorski (www.paulgorski.com) has been a technology manager nearly 20 years, specializing in workflow solutions for printing, publishing and advertising computer users. Originally destined to be a chemist, his interest in computers began in college when he wrote a program to analyze data from lab instruments he hard-wired to the back of an Apple IIe.
From the Aug. 14-20, 2013, issue