Meeting Notes: Apple 12.05
The last meeting of the Lawrence Apple User’s group unfortunately had to compete with one of the biggest snowfalls we’ve seen in a generation. After the Board chatted, Dave determined that it was too late to get the word out about the meeting cancellation, and we’d have the meeting even if it was Dave talking with himself. This is the second time a meeting of our user group has had weather problems. We’ve set the policy that, like many other businesses, our meetings will be cancelled if USD 497 (Lawrence schools) closes.
In spite of the weather, we had six people attend. I doubt if a PC group could say that. We were unable to obtain the equipment to do a podcast this month. Our speaker, David Chutka, was a representative of the Apple store on the Plaza. David walked us through the entire product line. It reminded us a bit like Goldilocks and the 3 bears. In most of the product lines, there seemed to be a papa, mama, and baby.
The baby Mac is the Mac Mini. David recommends this model to people who are interested in the Mac, but not quite ready to fully commit. Since it doesn’t come with a monitor or keyboard, he generally thinks it’s a poor choice to replace an existing desktop Mac. This model is ideal for switchers or people who want an extra Mac around.
The middle of the road Mac is the iMac, and is the Mac David generally recommends to most of the people that come into the Apple store. It is a clear value and an extremely popular model because it comes with a monitor, webcam, keyboard, mouse, and a full software suite.
The papa bear is the PowerMac G5. The PowerMac G5 is insanely fast and…well….powerful. It requires the purchase of a additional monitor. However, it is highly expandable and supports a large amount of ram and expansion slots. Most people who buy the PowerMac are the graphic artists or digital imaging professionals that need the raw power.
The Mac portable line has two basic choices of the iBook and Powerbook. Similar to the differences in the desktop Macs, most people would do fine with an iBook. David sees the base Powerbook as not a great value. For iBooks, David suggested the 14-inch model, which for a bit more money then the base model gives you a bigger screen and a DVD burner.
For the iPod line,we have the basic Shuffle which is great for working out or as a starter iPod due to its durability and relative low cost. Moving up, there’s the Nano, which is very cool looking and also uses flash memory, making it good for an active lifestyle. The top of the line iPod uses a small hard disk to give you tons of storage and it can also play videos, making it good for audiophiles with large music collections.
David discussed the “battery myth” about iPods. While it’s true that any battery loses its ability to hold a charge over time, the Apple geniuses will replace any battery that goes bad during the warranty period (or longer if you have AppleCare). Even if the warranty has expired, Apple will replace the battery for a relatively inexpensive price if it fails.
Finally David discussed the advantages of buying at the Apple store. Unlike other places or the internet, you can walk in to the Apple store with money and walk out with a product in your hands. The store works hard to make sure they have plenty of stock of even the most popular Apple products. He also reminded us that people affiliated with education institutions can get their discount directly from the Apple store, giving people another option of where to buy Apple hardware and software.
We also discussed the advantages of purchasing Apple’s extended warranty, AppleCare. AppleCare extends your Apple warranty from one to three years and your free phone support from 90 days to three years. One of the under-promoted perks of AppleCare is when you purchase an Apple Monitor at the same time as your CPU, both items are covered for the same price. The relative value of this warranty somewhat depends on the model being purchased, but it is generally a very good value for fragile items like PowerBooks and not a good value for inexpensive Macs such as Mac Minis.
The December meeting was very informative and was a good help for those of us heading into the holiday buying season with some cash burning a hole in our wallets and Apple toys on our minds.