I’ve been a PC guy for the last 21 years.  I’ve been exposed to computers pretty much my entire life.  I got my own computer when I was about 8 with an old Wang computer that had a daughterboard in it that allowed it to emulate IBM PC’s.  After that I migrated through a ton of new models until we get to today.  I’ve played with just about every operating system I could get my hands on and I’ve developed software professionally for a million different variations of Windows, Linux, UNIX, AIX, etc.  I’ve used Macs periodically during that time with my most in-depth experience being when I was in high school in a computer lab of old Macs running OS9 that I helped maintain.  I must say that time didn’t instill in me a sense of fondness for Apple.

Since that time I’ve used Apple products periodically, but always as more of a curiosity than actual serious devices.  When Apple first launched OSX, they caught my attention.  I checked it out, liked some of the ideas that were in the OS, but ultimately passed it off as a toy again.  Then when Apple switched over to Intel hardware, my scoffing of Apple got louder.  It seemed that they just couldn’t get their core business figured out.  In hindsight, this was a damn good move on their part, but at the time it just seemed they were wandering aimlessly and a good chunk of the fanboys were crying foul.

Now jump to slightly more recent times and we have Microsoft fucking up pretty badly with Vista.  Now don’t get me wrong, I think Vista is a good operating system overall.  I think it got a bad reputation due to some of the sweeping changes that were made and Microsoft’s failure to ensure that 3rd parties were up to speed with the changes prior to launch.  Since that time, people have kind of jumped onto the “me too” bandwagon when it comes to bashing it.  Over it’s lifespan, it’s been turned into a fairly well behaving, relatively stable system.  It doesn’t come anywhere near matching the stability of my Linux machines, but this is Windows we’re talking about after all.

Now Microsoft has a good operating system coming out in Windows 7.  I’ve been running it for a few months now on one of my computers and have been pretty happy with it overall.  The issue at this point is that I think a lot of computer manufacturers are catering to people a bit too low in the market.  As a result of trying to compete with the likes of netbooks, cell phones and MID’s, the hardware quality has been dropping a lot to keep the prices low.  Add a recession into the mix and it’s just not a fun situation.  It just seems that we can’t get a good operating system and good quality hardware at the same time these days in the Wintel world.

Apple has traditionally had the problem of crap hardware AND crap software IMO (referring to the timeframe from OS9 up until prior to the unibodies).  But over the course of the last 5 years or so,  it’s been obvious they were aware of the situation and have been taking active strides towards fixing it.  They’ve really done a good job of turning that ship around.  These days, they finally have good quality hardware, good quality software, and surprisingly, a price that is generally in the ballpark with it’s competitors.  Granted, there are a lot of hardware features that you can get on the PC side of things that you still don’t find on Macs, but I’m not sure that the majority of those features matter to me anymore.  As I get older, I get more and more into the situation where I just want things to work without hassle.  So I’ve been watching Apple a bit more closely.

With my taking up photography relatively recently, I’ve been paying more attention to the displays that systems have, the software available (Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture, etc), and the plugins available for them.  Therein lies my current dilemma.  These applications (with the exception of Aperture) are cross-platform, but not all of the plugins are.  I’ve been running into a large portion of them that are Mac only, much to my dismay, and damned it, I want to play too!

The time to replace my current computer is getting closer and closer.  My Dell laptop still suits me fine for the time being, but Apple has me seriously checking out their stuff as a replacement machine.  With the combination of quad-core processors and a good quality, large display in the new 27 inch iMac and what I hope ends up being equivalent hardware in the replacements for the current gen Macbook Pros, they just might snag me.  Quad-core processor, good screen, good hardware build quality and industrial design, a 64-bit OS, UNIX foundation and some interesting API’s that really appeal to the developer in me…  it just might happen.

I never thought this day would come, but I have to give credit where credit is due.  Good job, Apple.

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