I have been in the tech industry professionally for nearly 2 decades. I’ve used computers in all their forms since I was 7 years old. In my brief time on this planet I’ve witness things like 3.5 inch floppy disks being “revolutionary” because they could store nearly 1.5 MB of data to over 128 GB of data being able to be put in a computer or phone and the chip being no larger than my thumbnail. I remember when Dell came on the scene with Black monitors and PC cases and that was all the rage, I remember my very first computer as an adult coming in a big box with cow print from gateway. My first online social media account was Yahoo! chat and like all good techies I hated Apple. Doubly as a gamer. Why did I hate Apple? I couldn’t really tell you, I just was supposed to because… My Apple hate began to subside when Steve Jobs announced the iPhone way back in the stoneages of 2007.
This was back when I had a Windows Mobile phone from HTC (I think) with the slide out keyboard and people were considered a god if they had a Palm Treo. Blackberry’s were all the rage too, and when Motorola released the Razr it was game changing! On the gaming front, I’ve owned every console from Atari to the Sega Saturn, all the way to the Xbox One. I left Sony after the PS1 but that’s another discussion for another day. I remember Alone in the Dark, Myst, the first Sims game, and my first foray into MMO land with Star Wars Galaxies on PC. I participated gleefully in the AMD vs Intel and the ATI vs NVIDIA tech war. I remember when Dual Core CPUs were met with Sci-Fi glee, Quad Core was impossible to fathom, DDR was considered high speed, DSL was lightening in a cable, and a 20gb hard drive was considered more space than you’ll ever need.
This stroll down memory lane makes me feel ancient. Heck, I have children who’ll never know what tech was like prior to an iPad. However, I point out my history to state that I have tech bonafides that may be of merit to support my argument which is that I was lied to about Apple products and most of you have been as well! Don’t mistake my words as the pontification of an Apple fanboy. You’d be sadly mistaken if you did. I am then as I am today a tech enthusiast who walks the talk. As I type these words within arms distance I have a Macbook, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, Samsung Gear VR, iPad Pro, Galaxy S6, Xbox One controller, Beats headphones, iPhone 6s Plus, and using a Mac Pro but currently working on my Windows 10 partition. I’m not even counting the original iPhone, iPods, iPad mini, and other tech on my desk. Yes I have a lot of stuff, but I use this tech daily and it helps lessen my bias. On a daily basis, I use the latest from Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, Google, etc. each has their pros and cons. I can say from real world experience as a tech consultant that at the end of the day however, the best bang for your buck is hands down Apple the majority of the time.
This isn’t to say that I don’t like my other tech, I truly do. In fact, I think the Galaxy S7 Edge is probably the sexiest tech I’ve used in years. It’s just beautiful and Apple fans should be jealous as all Hades! However, I’m often asked about tech and what makes sense for this or that user and outside of special circumstances, it always comes back to Apple and particularly the Mac. There are plenty of variables when it comes to smartphones. If cost is an issue get an Android device. If you’re really concerned about security you’d better get an iPhone. For the most part though, both are good platforms and in this day and age, do pretty much the same things. In fact, when comparing my 6s Plus to my S7 the differences are in the details ordinary humans don’t even care about but tech journalists and fanboys argue about at length, which in the big scheme of things is ridiculous. I feel the same way about tablets for the most part. In the end, for many, when it comes to smartphones and tablets it’s going to come down to ecosystem. If you’re knee deep in Apple’s ecosystem or Google’s many are better served by staying with works best with your life.
However, I draw the line at computers. Be they laptop or desktop, there is no better value than a Mac. Now some may scoff at the terms “value” and “Mac” being used in the same sentence, but these terms are actually synonymous.
Some of you are laughing out loud right now, thinking about how much a Macbook Pro, iMac, etc. costs versus a comparable Dell, HP, or other PC.
If by value you’re thinking up front costs, then by all means, you’re more than welcome to laugh your heads off. However, if you look at the total package, when determining value you’ll get my point. Macs continue to provide value over time. You’re average Mac can last 5 or more years and still keep up with modern technology. I don’t know anyone who’d make that claim about their PC. So yeah you you’ll pay less for a PC upfront, but how many years of use will you get out of it? Macs have exceptional build quality so they stand up to wear and tear, Apple has amazing customer support even when outside of warranty, and again the hardware and software provides value years after use. For example, in my household we use a 2008 and 2009 Macbook Pro, 2009 Mac Pro, and 2011 Mac Mini as main computers. All of these computers run the latest OSX Operating System El Capitan and for less than $100.00 each were upgraded with SSDs for their harddrives. A couple also run Windows 10 on a separate partition. Only one of these Macs were purchased new, the Mac Mini for $500.00. The Mac Pro was purchased for $549.00 used and the 2 Macbook Pros for $350.00 and less. New these computers would have cost around $1200 and $3000 respectively but for nearly 7-9 years of use, that’s still a bargain! Even more so if you spend $500 dollars or less on your next Apple computer.
But what about performance? Each of the aforementioned machines run all the latest software from Apple, Microsoft, and Adobe with ease. No loud noises, no overheating, they just work. The most I’ve did in the way of upgrades for the Macbooks and the Mac Mini is switch out the hard drives for SSDs that cost $60-$80 dollars and in some instances I maxed out the ram for about $50. The Mac Pro is a different story.
As previously mentioned, I’m a gamer. Stop your snickering.
I know some hear Mac user and Gamer in the same sentence and believe I lose all credibility, but consider this: for $549 I purchased a Mac Pro with 2 Quad Core Xeon CPUs (8 core) and 32GB DDR 3. For an additional $240 I added 2 500GB Samsung EVO 850 SSDs one for MacOS and the other for Windows 10 and thanks to some haggling on eBay, purchased an AMD R9 280x GPU for $115 dollars. So my total investment was $904. I run all Adobe products, Final Cut Pro, and every game I like to play on max settings with 3 monitors north of 50fps. Plus this Mac has room to grow. I have 4 harddrive bays the other 2 contain 4TB harddrives and 4 PCI-E slots with 3 of them empty for now. I also have another Mac Pro 2008 edition that is 2 Quad Core, 16GB DDR2 and has an AMD 6870 HD GPU it can also game and I paid $300 dollars before upgraded to SSD. The GPU came from an old PC.
What does all this mean to the non techie? Basically, in a nutshell, Macs will last as long as you need them for the most part. If you can run the latest latest operating systems from Apple and Microsoft on a 2008 computer that should tell you more than enough about value. Especially if you want to go the cheap route and just got on Craigslist or eBay and pick one up for less than $500 dollars. Even if you are purely a Windows user, all Macs run Windows as well, so you still get to use Windows, BUT you also get to try out OSX in a nice, reliable, time tested package. PC magazine for years has concluded that the best Windows PC is a Mac.
This is my experience with used Macs and mileage may vary. I recently bought a 2015 Macbook and expect to be using it in 2025 along with my other Macs unless something truly amazing happens in tech, but I’m not counting on it, because when you think about the future, unless the shape of ram, graphics cards, or hard drives change, software and hardware is getting cheaper, faster, and using less power, which will only make older Macs more efficient than they currently are.
Some may say they can build a better PC from scratch and in some cases that is true, but it’s really going to depend on sales, parts you already have, etc. Even still, you’ll never be able to build something for $500 from scratch that can out perform a 8 core Mac Pro. Maybe in raw Ghz, but multitasking and the fact that you can run 2 different operating systems along with the build quality and precision of Apple, it’s highly unlikely.
The naysayers may call my opinions crap, but it’s been my experience that most people who are vehemently anti-Apple have never used Apple products. I too was that guy for a long time until I purchased the original iPhone which I still have and still works by the way. I don’t know what happened to my other phones from that era, many broke within 2 years. My experience was has been that once I gave different tech a try, I realized that all the stereotypes were false. Apple isn’t Apple because of millions of iSheep. I’m a tech professional, i.e. I do this for a living for most of my adult life. I work with people who’ve been doing it longer than I’ve been living who feel the same way. Government agencies and companies I’ve worked with are changing all their phones and computers to Apple even though the cost is extensive up front (Apple doesn’t subsidize bulk purchases much) because of long term value and most importantly SECURITY. We can’t all be iDrones when we are the tech professionals.
Many non-Apple people have fallen victim to the it’s cool to hate “the man” or be a rebel cliche’. Apple is supposedly the evil Empire seeking to take over the world, maybe that is true in some ways, but the reality is, the reason why techies like me are cool with Apple and rely on Apple for 90% of their computing is because of overall value. You can’t beat a Mac no matter how long your spec sheet is, how many hundreds of dollars cheaper you are, or what features you add that hardly anyone will use. More importantly, the alternate tech that you purchased that’s “better” than Apple may at best give you 3 good years of use. Who reading this article can honestly say that they know plenty of people in 2016 still using their 2008 Dell, HP, etc. laptop or desktop, running all modern software, and can play all the latest video games?
If you ask a techie what your next computer purchase should be and Apple isn’t in the reply or mentioned as a possible contender, you should stop listening to that tech person. However, if you were to ask me, I’d say if you have a lot of money, get a new Mac, if not, go on Craigslist or eBay and get you a Macbook Pro or Mac Pro if you need a desktop for under $500 dollars and you should be fine. Install Windows 10 if you need it, but the latest OS X will be all you need for most people. That $500 or less investment will last you many years and you won’t have to fear not being able to run the latest operating systems or software. Even in the case of some 2007 Apple computers, there are ways to install the latest operating systems people do it all the time. Just ask.
I’m glad I watched Steve Jobs on that stage in 2007. It changed changed my computing life for the better and I’ve never looked back.
I’m still heavily invested in the AMD vs NVIDIA GPU wars, but for me, desktops and laptops, have been decided. As a tech guy with a desk full of hardware, I don’t write these words lightly. Don’t take my word for it, try a Mac out for yourself, heck for $250 you should be able to find a decent Macbook Pro to play with.