by Mike McNamee Published 01/02/2014
Overall then first impressions are good, they do look very stylish with extra-clean design lines and the usual blingy packaging.
I never imagined I would write the following sentence: "I have bought a Mac to deliver lectures on!"
There, that's both me and Tom Daley coming out in the same week.
Although we have had a number of Macs at Imagemaker for testing purposes they have never been part of the mainstream design workflow because of calibration issues and a reluctance to purchase two versions of the software suites we use. The new shiny Mac screens may look very nice but have been difficult to calibrate and there is little point in having an all-in-one iMac hidden under the desk and feeding a proper screen such as an Eizo or NEC.
Alongside this longstanding issue there has nevertheless been a steady rise in the number of Mac users. Not long ago only a couple of hands would rise in answer to the question 'who uses Mac?' at a teaching seminar. Today the number is frequently more than 50% of the classes at the Epson Print Academy. That in itself was a good enough reason to switch to a Mac so that dual OS teaching could be conducted. Tactically it also meant that better informed teasing of the Mac Monkeys could be carried out!
The first decision was what to buy? Laptops are convenient but it was not the intention to move the Mac around in anything other than a car and so weight was not a significant issue. The iMacs looked attractive and are available in 21.5-inch and 27-inch variants. Mainly for reasons of transport and storage the smaller was chosen, mindful also of your rather small editor not disappearing behind a screen!
The 21.5-inch iMac came with 8GB of RAM, 1 TB of disc storage and a 2.7 GHz Intel Core i5 processor. The software was OSX 10.8.4. We made a deliberate decision to stay clear of Mavericks; new operating systems can be a complete nightmare and there is not a shred of evidence to suggest that Apple might get it right first time out.
It is easy to see why people who are interested in the 'style' on their desks fall for the iMac. With their neat lines, ultra-thin screen bezel edges and bright shiny screen they would attract a status-conscious design magpie. The screen tapers down to a 5mm knife edge and the exterior is completely clutter free, even the power plug finishes up flush with the back. The 13amp socket end is also very thin, although this makes it very difficult to pull out of a domestic wall socket - impossible for a more elderly user with arthritic fingers. Do not attempt to lever the socket off the wall by pushing something behind the lug - that is lethally dangerous! Incidentally the iMac does not have a full-power-off switch; to do so requires you to unplug the lead or isolate the socket switch.
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