10 Factors to Consider When Selecting an Apple Mac Model

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-07-07
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    10 Factors to Consider When Selecting an Apple Mac Model
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    10 Factors to Consider When Selecting an Apple Mac Model

    Thinking about making the move to a Mac? Here are some considerations to keep in mind when deciding which model will best serve your needs—and wants.
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    Guessing When the Next Mac Update Is Coming
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    Guessing When the Next Mac Update Is Coming

    One of the more important considerations in buying any Apple product is when the company might update its Mac product line. Too often, people buy current-generation models just weeks or even days before Apple unveils updated models. That's why it's always best to wait until the fall to buy a new iPhone. Already, market pundits are predicting that the company will introduce new Apple Watch and MacBook Pro models this fall.
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    It Doesn't Hurt to Pay Attention to Market Rumors
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    It Doesn't Hurt to Pay Attention to Market Rumors

    A good way to know when those updates are coming is by analyzing rumors. Apple isn't nearly as adept at keeping a secret as it once was, and nowadays, leaks often are accurate. Since some rumors can be counted on, consider their claims and decide whether the features they say are coming to Apple's devices are compelling enough to wait to buy.
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    How Important Is Portability?
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    How Important Is Portability?

    Portability arguably is one of the first places customers should start when deciding on an Apple product. The decision ultimately will determine whether customers end up with a notebook or desktop. More importantly, the decision will determine whether to buy the thin, lightweight MacBook Air or the heavier, thicker but more powerful MacBook Pro. Even on the desktop side, it's much easier to haul around a Mac Pro or Mac Mini than an iMac.
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    Consider Notebook Screen Sizes
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    Consider Notebook Screen Sizes

    Screen size matters greatly when it comes to notebooks, so it's perhaps no surprise Apple offers a wide variety. Customers can choose a device, such as the MacBook Air, that offers an 11-inch or 13-inch screen, or opt for the MacBook at 12 inches. The MacBook Pro tops out at 15 inches. Finding the right screen size will help narrow down notebook choices.
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    Does an All-In-One Make Sense?
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    Does an All-In-One Make Sense?

    An all-in-one computer, such as the iMac, doesn't necessarily make sense for everyone. The iMac, like its Windows-based counterparts, offers a cheaper price than Apple's higher-end Mac Pro, is nice and thin to save space on the desk, and offers big screen sizes. It's a fine product, but those who want portability should opt for a notebook, and those who want more power should look at the Mac Pro.
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    How Much Processing Power Do You Need?
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    How Much Processing Power Do You Need?

    Speaking of power, not all Apple computers can deliver what customers want. On the desktop side, the Mac Pro is by far the most powerful option, complete with top-notch processors, outstanding graphics prowess and ports aplenty. If customers choose an Apple notebook, opting for the MacBook Pro is best for those seeking power. The MacBook and MacBook Air can't quite compete on resource-heavy tasks.
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    Do You Really Want to Supply Your Own Display?
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    Do You Really Want to Supply Your Own Display?

    One of the nice things about the Mac Mini is that it's cheap, starting at $499. However, it doesn't have the kind of power customers would find in the Mac Pro, and it doesn't ship with accessories, as the iMac does. So, customers will need to buy their own mouse, keyboard and display to connect to the computer. If that's an issue, but the cost is attractive, consider an iMac instead.
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    Decide Whether to Update to macOS Sierra or Get the OS Bundled
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    Decide Whether to Update to macOS Sierra or Get the OS Bundled

    Don't forget before buying a Mac that Apple's macOS Sierra desktop operating system is slated to launch in the fall. And when it does, it will come standard on all the computers Apple sells. Since any new operating system can be subject to bugs and glitches, some might opt to buy now and decide for themselves when they want to upgrade to macOS Sierra. Others, however, might not care. It's a personal choice, but it's an important one.
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    Think About Custom Options for Your New Mac
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    Think About Custom Options for Your New Mac

    Apple has done a fine job of offering custom options across its Mac line. Customers are able to pick different processors, determine how much memory they want and choose their desired iMac screen resolution. Before buying a Mac, consider whether the standard build will do or if some internal tweaks should be made to get the best experience from an Apple computer.
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    Pricing Is Everything
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    Pricing Is Everything

    Apple's Macs aren't cheap. The company's Mac Mini starts at $499, but that's for a low-end computer. The company's top-of-the-line Mac Pro starts at $2,999, and the best MacBook Pro starts at $1,999. Those hoping to save money won't do so with a Mac. However, those who expect to spend some cash will find Apple offers several products across many price points.
 

For the past few months, rumors have been circulating about the future of Apple's Mac lineup. The most notable among them suggests that Apple is working on a new MacBook Pro that would come with an OLED-based touch bar above the keyboard. That touch bar would provide additional functionality, including the ability to tap icons to open apps and get notifications. There also are those who believe there is a reason Apple hasn't updated the MacBook Air in more than a year: Some suspect Apple plans to kill it off and replace it with a new model with different branding. Others posit that Apple is simply waiting to introduce improved Mac models later this year. All the while, Mac owners and those thinking about buying a new Mac are looking ahead to the release of macOS Sierra in the fall. Simply put, a number of things could happen in the Mac world in the next few months. Those thinking about buying a new Apple computer have a number of factors to consider before they make a purchasing decision. This eWEEK slide show covers some of the factors Mac buyers should consider—including portability, power and Apple's possible product update plans—before choosing a Mac model.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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