Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Apple Vs. Non-Apple - A whole new world!

The district I work in is officially single platform (PC/Windows XP and 7).  However, due to decentralized purchasing practices, personal initiatives of staff, and several building initiatives to purchase iPad carts, there is a strong unofficial movement towards using Apple products.  With this in mind, I decided it would be prudent for me, in my role as a district technology coach, to purchase a MacBook Pro and familiarize myself with it.  Previously I used an HP running Windows XP.  Here are some of observations thus far (after 3 months of using it):

Uptime / Productivity  - On this single feature alone, I feel justified in the extra money I spent on my MacBook.  I am in and out of various building every day and I find that I can close my MacBook in one building and open it in another (without shutting down) and be up and working in about 15 - 20 seconds.  On my HP this process could take up to 10 minutes if I didn't shut down the machine and about 5 minutes if I did.  The time savings I realize from this economy is invaluable!

Quality of Components - The camera, screen, keyboard, and microphone on my MacBook are all of excellent quality.  While I realize that I could get these features on a PC/Windows machine, it is nice to know that they are a given on all Apple products.

Software:  I have found this to be a mixed bag thus far.  I do quite a bit of data analysis and manipulation and have found that there are some things that Numbers won't do that Excel will.  I realize I can get Excel for my MacBook but it would be nice if Numbers (which works with iCloud and iOS devices) was just a little more robust.  On the other hand,  when I made my first video on my MacBook, I was blown away with the ease of use, intuitive nature, and great features of iMovie.  You can check out my efforts here. It beats out Movie Maker on functionality and stability by a long shot.

Support - For both the MacBook and the PC I mainly use Web tutorials to solve my problems.  As of now the only Apple customer support contact I had was when I initially bought my machine.  To be honest I was not very impressed.  I was trying to copy my personal info from Firefox on my PC to Firefox on my MacBook.  I attempted to do it manually by copying folders from PC to MB.  This did not work and actually created some glitch that wouldn't allow me to open Firefox any more.  The CS rep could only come up with reinstalling the OS as a solution - which did not help.  I ended up solving the problem myself by digging deeper into tutorials, deleting some hidden file in FF via Finder, and then reinstalling Firefox.  Turns out that there was an easier way to import the info that I should have done in the first place.  Anyway, my point is I was a bit surprised that Apple support didn't have more knowledge on this issue of transferring personal data from PC to Apple.

To sum it up, my MacBook does everything that my PC did only better, easier, faster and more consistently.  In addition it supports my creative side with excellent, easy to use software such as iMovie, iPhoto, and PhotoBooth.  Finally, it is designed to work with iOS devices which are quickly becoming a force in education.

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