Macintosh Computers and Software
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Personal Computers

I could write pages upon pages talking about Apple's computer division, so I will keep my summary as short as possible. Apple produces Macintosh computers and laptops, as well as their own software.

Macintosh Computers

Apple started itself on the basis of its personal computers. While they have lagged behind Windows for years, they are still able to compete in this market. During Apple's third quarter in 2008, they sold approximately 2.5 million Mac computers, a 41 percent growth from the year-ago quarter.

Apple's first computer, the Macintosh 128K, was released on January 24, 1984. It was the first commercially successful personal computer to feature a mouse and a graphical user interface (GUI) rather than a command line interface. Through the second half of the 1980s, the company built market share only to see it dissipate in the 1990s as the personal computer market shifted towards IBM PC compatible machines running MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows.

Currently, Apple sells three Macintosh computers: the iMac, Mac Mini, and the Mac Pro. Click on the link for each of these to take you to the Apple site for each product. The iMac is Apple's most successful desktop computer, and has been credited as one of the product's that help keep Apple alive and well. The iMac is very unique because the computer is built into the monitor, making the product very slim.

Pictured to the right is the current iMac.

Laptops

Apple currently offers three different laptops in its MacBook family: the MacBook, the MacBook Pro, and the MacBook Air. Be sure to read my report discussing Apple's media event where Apple revealed its newest editions of each laptop.

MacBook

The new MacBook is made of aluminum (the previous version was made of plastic) and comes with a 13.3-inch LED widescreen display. The computer is silver with a black keyboard. It has a Multi-Touch Trackpad, here's a description:

Use two fingers to scroll up and down a page. Pinch to zoom in and out. Swipe with three fingers to flip through your photo libraries. Rotate to adjust an image with your fingertips. Using the new four-finger swipe gesture, swipe up or down to access Exposé modes and left or right to switch between open applications. If you’re coming from a right-click world, you can right-click with two fingers or configure a right-click area on the trackpad. The more you use the Multi-Touch trackpad, the more you’ll wonder what you ever did without it.

Pictured below is the first generation MacBook on the left, and the new (second generation) MacBook on the right:

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MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro is similar to the MacBook. It is a higher-end laptop designed for more professional users. It has various options which allow for better graphics, larger memory, a faster processor than the MacBook, for a higher price. There are two screen sizes: 15 inch and 17 inch; the base price is $1999.00 and $2799.00 respectively. The MacBook Pro, along with the MacBook, is made out of an aluminum block. While the first generation MacBook and MacBook Pro were very different, Apple produced the second generation products to be much more similar.

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MacBook Air

The "world's thinnest notebook", the MacBook Air weighs 3 lb. and is an amazing 2cm tall. Because of it's size, the Air is often advertised as small enough to fit inside a Manila envelope. Apple excluded several standard laptop features to produce this compact machine. Despite its small size, the Air offers many powerful features, such as powerful graphics, a 120GB hard-drive, and a 1.86GHz processor. One common criticism of the MacBook Air is its high price, $1799.00 for the base model and $2499.00 for the higher version, compared to similar laptops. The MacBook Air is also made out of a solid block of Aluminum, and offers a Multi-Touch Trackpad and has a 13 inch screen.

Software

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A description from Wikipedia describes Apple's software division well:

Apple develops its own operating system to run on Macs, Mac OS X, the latest version being Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard. Apple also independently develops computer software titles for its Mac OS X operating system. Much of the software Apple develops is bundled with its computers. An example of this is the consumer-oriented iLife software package which bundles iDVD, iMovie, iPhoto, iTunes, GarageBand, and iWeb. For presentation, page layout and word processing, iWork is available, which includes Keynote, Pages, and Numbers. iTunes, QuickTime media player, and Safari web browser are available as free downloads for both Mac OS X and Windows.

With the struggles of Window's newest operating system, Vista, many PC users are switching to Macs. Apple's operating system, Mac OS X, has certainly outperformed Window's Vista. In April 2006, Apple announced a cool feature called Boot Camp, which allows Apple users to run OS X and Windows on their Intel-based machine at the same time. This gives an advantage to many Mac users who need to use common Windows features.

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