Selecting a Macintosh computer

Yes, the business world still thrives on Microsoft Windows; it remains the most-compatible platform for business-oriented applications.  However, we do have Mac users and they occasionally seek our advice.  Well, thanks to Laurie Lake of Macs at Work, a business partner of Bryley Systems located in Shrewsbury, MA, we can share these tips for selecting a Macintosh computer.

Basic steps in the decision process:

  • Define your preference – mobile or desktop
  • Make your choice and buy accordingly

Define your preference – mobile or desktop

Mobile workers will want a MacBook; Apple’s alternative to the Intel-branded Ultrabook, the MacBook is a sleek (13.1 mm), light (2.03 lbs.), mobile computer with an Intel processor, a 12” or a 13” Retina display, a 9-hour batters, and a full-size keyboard that can easily fit in a small carry-bag.  Prices start at $1,299.

The MacBook Air is a less-expensive, slightly heavier (2.38 lbs. to 3.48 lbs.) version with either an 11” (from $899) or 13” (from $1,199) display.  The processors are slightly faster than a comparable MacBook and storage can configure up to 1Tb, which is exclusively flash-based; electronic rather than mechanical.

The MacBook Pro comes with a 13” (from $999) or a 15” (from $1,999) Retina display powered by high-end graphics; it also has significant processing power (Intel dual-core and quad-core processors) with greater flash-based storage and the advanced, OS X Yosemite operating system.

If you are desk-bound and desire a larger display, a mouse, and a full-size keyboard with numeric keypad, you might consider an iMac.

iMacs come with quad-core processors and max-out with 3Tb of storage; the base units are of three basic types (measured by display size):

  • iMAC 21.5-inch (from $1,099)
  • iMac 27-inch (from $1,799)
  • iMac 27-inch with Retina (from $1,999)

All come equipped with at least a 500Gb hard drive, wireless keyboard, and mouse or trackpad.

Make your choice and buy accordingly

If you spend most of your time on the road, a MacBook variation makes a lot of sense.  If your eyes are strong and you wish to minimize weight in your travel bag, get the 11” MacBook Air with the 9-hour battery.  If you need a larger display with greater processing and can accept the extra weight, go with the 15” MacBook Pro.

For office-bound users; get the most you can afford in your budget.  Always buy the largest display, the most Random Access Memory (RAM) and the greatest amount of storage that you can justify; with computing, more is generally better.

Please view the article by Roman Loyola of Macworld Which Mac Should I Buy? and the article by Jesus Vigo of TechRepublic Apple’s MacBook lineup:  Which works better for business?

Alternatives:  Choose a PC or an Ultrabook

We have visited this topic repeatedly over the years, but here are two suggestions: