Mac heaven

Posted: March 14, 2008 in internet, Mac, movies, music, Technology

I’m in Mac heaven this week. A new 24-inch, 2.8 Core2Duo Extreme iMacis now purring away on my desktop top and I am just smitten with my other new toy, Apple TV. 

The iMac is just fricking gorgeous. I love the big glossy screen and performance-wise, it rocks. The extra bucks I spent bringing in the 2.8 from B&H in New York was well worth it (bizarrely you can’t buy this beast outside the US) and the good guys at the iStore bumped up the memory to 4Ghz for me.

 Set-up, as always with a Mac, was an absolute breeze. Leopard seemed to present no problems and my existing files and apps transferred from myold  iMac G5 without a hitch. I was not, for example, expecting stuff like Office 2004 or older Adobe apps to work well on an Intel but so far, I’ve noticed no slow-down at all. I like what I’ve seen of Leopard – the Time Capsule backup is especially impressive, and with my varied project work, Spaces is a boon – and I quickly got used to the flat keyboard. In fact, I’d say I type much quicker with a lighter touch than the old one.

My only issue has been trying to install Windows XP via Parallels – nothing I try seems to work so far. I’d be happy to live without XP of course, but until the otherwise brilliant QuickBooks Online provides Mac support, its a necessary evil for our business. A tech friend has recommended reinstalling Parallels and optimising my hard drive, which I’ll do once my Leopard upgrade for Tech Tool Pro arrives.

The recent update to Apple TV now makes total sense. Along with the DVR, this is clearly the start of a massive revolution in how we use and watch TV and other digital media.

To be able to sit on the couch and click a remote to buy or rent movies, TV shows, not to mention surf YouTube or buy and play music, videos and podcasts from iTunes, is just wonderful. The quality is astounding – almost DVD quality video and pretty decent surround sound on my system, at least. Not only that, but it allows you to stream media from other Macs in the house, enabling me to give the family vacation slideshow the big screen treatment. 

My only gripe is the rental restriction – you have 30 days to watch them but once you start watching a movie, you have to watch it within 24 hours (although you can watch it as many times as you want in that time). Hopefully this will be changed soon – especially at $3.99 for a standard rental. Our kids sometimes watch a rental 2 or 3 times over a weekend, so something close to that option – even 36 hours – would be great. Having said that, there’s no queuing up in the video store, your movie is usually available (the library of titles is not going to make Blockbuster nervous just yet) and there’s no late fee.

Like the iPod and iPhone before it, Apple TV is another example of Apple’s remarkable ability to enter a market and revolutionise it with a well-designed innovative product and service. At US$229 for the 40GB, I reckon it’s the best value piece of technology I’ve bought in years.   

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