I didn’t really ever think I would be here. For years I have looked on as many of my friends and colleagues turned toward Apple for something better in a computer but I was scared. I thought that switching at this point would derail me for too long and set me back and as I design interfaces for web applications and sites, I thought that was a risk I couldn’t afford. But when it came time to purchase laptops for our new business, my partners and I were eventually drawn to the MacBook Pro for reasons that made sense for us technically.
For a long time I believed the primary draw of Apple’s computers was the shear sex appeal of the hardware. They look good, feel good, and are designed with fore site and elegance in mind. But form enough wasn’t enough to warrant the higher price tag and potential learning curve issues.
I cannot believe how easy the transition has been for me in my switch from Windows-based computing to my new Mac. I admit I was apprehensive and had a lot of worries that I wouldn’t be up to speed as fast as I needed to be, but those fears appear to be unfounded. Sure there are a couple keyboard commands I am retraining my fingers on and there are a few Firefox extensions that don’t work well, but all in all I have been pleasantly surprised by the ease of the switch.
I am sure it will take a couple months to erase some of the muscle memory of hitting ctrl + c and v in favor of command + c and v and I there are no doubt countless little things I will find in Photoshop that could slow me down (like the save for web keyboard commands, that is an awkward hand contortion). I picked up the new wireless, Bluetooth Mighty Mouse too and have adopted a wait and see approach there. It is a great mouse in many ways but it seems a bit small for my hands and I can’t quite get it configured how I want (though the SteerMouse software I downloaded is helping by allowing me to set additional preferences and per application defaults). The Tab browser Preferences extension (does anybody else hate the change to the word “Add-ons”? I wonder if it has legal reasons) is something I cannot really live without and a couple others would sure be nice to have on the Mac side of things.
But let’s talk a bit about what I am impressed with. First off, and it really does strike you before anything else, is just how physically well-made these laptops are. There was a tremendous amount of thought put into the closing mechanism, the placement of ports, and the power supply. The keyboard has a great tactile feel and the back lighting and lighted indicators for num and caps lock are great.
Inside, the operating system is intuitive and clean. It responds quickly (even with only 1 GB of RAM. There were a couple things I altered right off the bat to make it feel better to me (adjusted the font smoothing down to 6 from 8; turned on full keyboard access for all web form controls (like check boxes), and adjusted the settings for Dashboard, Expose, and the Dock.
Third party software (while I lament the dearth of free options, has impressed with the overall level of quality in the interface department. Almost all of the applications I have downloaded (TextMate, Transmit, and Parallells), very nice and tied closely to the look of the OS.
There are still some things I would like to figure out, like how to efficiently use Dashboard and iPhoto, or how to get my Google Calendar to load into iCal like it is supposed to, but all in all I already feel very comfortable with my new Mac and am dreading going back to work in the morning and booting up my Dell.