Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Working with Apples, Part 1

Last week I mentioned that I had built an iMac, and would be trying to use it as my “main machine”. And I said that I would describe my “learning curve”, and other “impressions. (For example, I mentioned that I didn’t like the keyboard one itsy-bitsy little bit.)

I have been using Windows PC’s since there was such a thing; and more recently, using Android phones and tablets. I haven’t used Apple products since roughly 1988, when I dumped sold my Macintosh (512K).

First thing you notice about Apple products, I think, is — they are pretty.
Um.. “elegantly designed”, I think people prefer. And some have been evolution-ary.
But are they as “simple to use” – particularly for a Windows guy – as people say?

Generally speaking, here, I found my first week with the Mac to have a very shallow learning curve. Mainly, I had to “get used to” looking up when on Windows I’d look down, or visa versa. And learn where Menu items are placed.

And I had to “get used to” sticker shock. Jeeze does Apple gouge.

As I said above, I really hated the bluetooth (wireless) keyboard, and didn’t really care for the Apple mouse, either (years of right-clicking a 3-button mouse) so I went looking for replacements.

To lay the ‘baseline’ for what I’m talking about, the keyboard and the (gesture enabled) “magic mouse” shown in the picture retail for $70, each.
Yes. Each. $140. Plus tax.

apple-imacMy sticker shock at seeing that resulted in a spontaneous, embarrassing, LOL, that turned heads in the store.

Now, I know, some people will not think twice about paying $70 for a mouse, but I bought a very nice, non-Apple, wireless “multimedia” keyboard and laser (aka “optical”) mouse “desktop set” for less than $25. Including tax.
Or I could have bought a bluetooth keyboard for $20 (and up) and a bluetooth optical mouse for $12 (and up), but I really didn’t need to save the USB port, and wanted my “wireless desktop” set to be able to function with any machine, not just the bluetooth enabled. If I didn’t care about the cords, I could have saved even more. (A USB optical 3-button mouse can be had for $5)
No. The cheapies I selected are not as “elegantly designed” as the Apple devices. But the near-600% markup I didn’t pay will help me get over that.

And to be fair, not everything Apple is marked up that much (300% seems the average). And at least in one area, I was very pleasantly impressed with Apple’s pricing. I built my unit from wrecks and parts, and the OS I had was OS X 10.5 “Leopard” (rather outdated). I ordered a OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” disc from the Apple store, after calling for some information. They shipped me the order for $20. And the person I spoke to spoke real English and was very helpful in answering my questions. (a full-install [not “upgrade” edition] disc of Windows 7 retails for $199.)
Yes, that’s right, OS upgrades are $20 each.

Another area where I think Apple really shines is when you are covered by “Apple Care” (or “warranty”), and need tech support. In my experiences with them, they are almost as knowledgeable, friendly, helpful and easy to understand as I am. I consider Apple’s Customer Support to be the Industry’s “gold standard”, and the other manufacturers could really do well by following their example.

However, if you are not still covered by Apple Care, prepare to be gouged, (Or, call me.) and D-I-Y’ers can expect outrageous parts prices. So if you own an Apple product, you probably want to purchase ‘extended’ Apple Care for as long as you can.

Sorry, out of time for today. Have a great Monday everyone.

Oh, yes. One more thing. On my iMac, the label on the disc faces you (when you put a CD [or DVD] in the slot).

Today’s quote:Whenever science makes a discovery, the devil grabs it while the angels are debating the best way to use it.” ~ Alan Valentine

Silly Poll #3 (cont..) Does “clumping” cat litter save money in the long run?

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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February 18, 2013 - Posted by | advice, Apple, computers, hardware, PC, software | , , , ,

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