Considering a MacBook. Am I ready?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by milani, Aug 17, 2008.

  1. milani macrumors 68000


    Aug 8, 2008
    Well after a long time I'm considering making the switch (from Windows to OS X, that is) - at least for a notebook. I've had some experience with a hacked version of OS X I installed on an old Sony VAIO computer, and I've had past experience with the official operating system as well, although I will admit I don't know everything about it.

    That being said, I'm considering buying a MacBook for school (and for entertainment on the side, I suppose). Foremost I'm a Windows guy, but Vista pisses me off to no end, and I'm generally getting tired of the Windows experience (I've been enduring OS after OS since 3.1x). My Windows Dell will certainly remain my workhorse: I'm a web developer, avid Photoshop user, etc, so my quad core is obviously going to be where I do that sort of thing.

    The bulk of stuff I would be using the MacBook for (in terms of school) would be typing essays (I'll buy the Mac version of Office), email/calendar/organizational stuff over MobileMe, doing research on the internet, and maybe making presentations with either PowerPoint or Keynotes.

    However, I'm beginning to think that for school it would make more sense to have a laptop that I don't have to constantly mess around with, where I can just get my work done without having to constantly babysit the OS (which I would not want to on a small screen/on a trackpad.

    Also, I've been looking into developing web apps for my iPhone, and I'd like to take that to the next level by using the SDK, which is another reason I'd like to make the switch to Leopard.

    Other reasons are the wireless connectivity of the MacBooks, and the fact that it will easily sync to my iPhone over MobileMe (although of course this could be said of any laptop). Anyway, I'm thinking about making the switch, but I need to be assured that the MacBook is going to play nice with my Dell if I ever need to access files on one computer from the other.

    Another issue is battery life. It seems to me that Leopard ought to be more friendly on system resources and in turn battery life, but that might just be me falling for the attractiveness of the GUI. I've read you can expect 4.5 hours of battery. Is this true? How do you guys find your MacBook's are on power?

    Lastly, I'm leaning towards the MacBook (vs the Pro) because of its portability. The 13.3 inch appeals to me because I can just throw it in my backpack and go, and not have to worry about lugging around a big 17 inch beast. Preferably, I'd like to not have to have it plugged in all the time: could you really get through a whole school day without plugging it in to charge it? How are "normal" operations (like the ones I listed above) going to affect the battery's life/integrity. I've used a lot of laptops that just don't last after a while.

    So, having taken all of that into consideration, am I ready for a MacBook? Thoughts/incites appreciated. Thanks!
  2. jmoh macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2008
    You're Ready!!!!
  3. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    I'd say the MacBook, as this is the consumer notebook. The Pro is for heavy lifting, but is not what you're looking for, a portable computer doing the basics. Typing essays, reports, presentations, all the school basics are achieved easily with the MacBook. Don't forget to apply the educational discount if you are eligible, free ipod touch and printer. Also, if you would like to try something new, buy iWork, its relatively inexpensive compared to office, and can do the basics, with Pages (word), Keynote (powerpoint, and numbers (excel) for just $80. It's pre-installed on the macs these days I think, if not, just buy it online and download the trial, then convert the trial.

    Lastly, you mentioned the SDK, I took a course in C++ and the MacBook was perfect for compiling and decompiling due to the built in Xcode environment and the gcc compliant compiler. use terminal command c++ filename.cpp to access the compiler.

    Leopard's power usage is excellent, I find I can get a whole days of use from just a full charge, although it's always plugged in for me, due to me setup and its power hungry needs (24" external display). I can get almost 6 hours of web surfing, word processing, etc.

    You dont have to babysit the OS, just use it as you please, it rarely experiences any hard disk failures, disk errors, etc. Only if you really mess around with it too much. Under normal uses, its fine. Also the battery life will last you thru a day. More than that, maybe two days depending on how mucuh you use it. the batter is covered under warranty, if its under 2000 cycles and max charge is 80 percent,. they exchange for you, no charge.

    The Macs well play nice with the Dell. Not sure how you plan to share files, but a demo made by Jobs assures me of the compatibility. In short, go ahead with your purchase, I see no flaws in the setup, and should you need any help, you could either post in the MR forums, or go to click the support on top, and there you will find a whole database of articles to help you, guide you, transfer files from old pc, etc.
  4. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
  5. TwinCities Dan macrumors 603

    TwinCities Dan

    May 19, 2008
    Double Parked out front of the Courthouse
    Ha! Exactly what I was thinking! :cool:
  6. ShaneR macrumors member

    Aug 13, 2008
    Yea, I would definately say you're ready to switch...I literally just made the switch this past week. I'll never go back to a windows machine.

    As for battery life, several shut downs and restarts after working hard and installing software for about 3 hrs and then surfed the web for an additional 2 hrs all on battery. My dell laptop would be lucky to have gotten a single hr on the internet. No comparison as to power efficiency.

    Go for it.
  7. Shackler macrumors 6502a


    Feb 3, 2007
    behind you!
    Welcome to the good side.

    You could get the low-end MB. If not another thing i would consider if i was in your position would be a netbook like the Dell mini inspiron or Acer Aspire (just a thought):rolleyes:
  8. *Sandy* macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2008
    Always in a path of a Hurricane!
    you are ready and so am I, i was waiting for the new macbook but just bought the old one because i might not like the changes..... plus the free ipod touch :)
  9. swingerofbirch macrumors 68040

    Oct 24, 2003
    The Amalgamated States of Central North America
    You mentioned using both Office and possibly Keynote (part of iWork). One tip: if you think you might suffice with just iWork start with that first as you can download a fully functional 30 day trial from Apple.

    Just fyi, you don't need a Mac, the SDK, or Leopard to make web apps for the iPhone. The SDK is for writing native applications for the iPhone/iPod touch.

    Right, the MacBook does have built in 802.11n and Bluetooth 2.0, but that's not too unusual to find on competitors' laptops these days either. As far as networking, I have no clue how it works between a PC and Mac, but I'm sure it's possible to share files.
    The battery life is pretty good, and I can eek out a few hours if I don't have wireless turned on. And if I weren't using media, could probably get more. It's nothing that blows the competition away, basically, but it's good.
    I would say it's unrealistic to get through a normal school day (wireless use included) without charging. Battery technology is not different from Apple to Dell. It's not as if Apple has invented a magic battery that lasts all day long.

    Yes! Just don't expect too much from the battery. Don't expect a hassle-free MobileMe experience. Don't think you have to buy a Mac to write web-apps, and finally, why not wait till Sept 15ish???
  10. YouArentJ macrumors member


    Mar 25, 2008
    The good news is when I made the switch from a Vaio to a MacBook, it shaved about 3lbs off of the laptop, and another pound off of the adapter.
  11. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    You are ready for the trials my young padawan learner.
  12. macbookairman macrumors 6502a

    Jan 15, 2008
    United States
    I would deffinately agree with that. I love iWork for writing essays for school, and other school projects. Plus its cheaper. So give the trial a shot (i believe my macbook came with both an iWork fully functional 30 day trial and an Office 30 day not very functional trial)

    I currently have one macbook, and a few pc's around my house. They all share files just fine. When I have a pc on with a shared folder or file, it shows up right away in my macbook's finder.
  13. swingerofbirch macrumors 68040

    Oct 24, 2003
    The Amalgamated States of Central North America
    Yes, Macs used to come with the trial versions pre-installed, but no longer to my knowledge.

    You can download the trial here:
  14. Fuchal macrumors 68020

    Sep 30, 2003
    My blackbook consistently gets 4-5 hours on a charge.
  15. M4CBOOK macrumors regular


    Jun 16, 2008
    Beaumont, TX
    do u mean iwork or MS office for mac
    i get about 5-5 1/2 hours

    ur ready
  16. Diseal3 macrumors 65816

    Jun 29, 2008
    You are Iready my friend. You have a plan stick to it, you know you want the mac anywho =P.
  17. milani thread starter macrumors 68000


    Aug 8, 2008
    Thanks everyone for their insights. All of you have only added to my comfort over my decision! I guess I was just a little worried about being caught up in the hype of Leopard, but I think that I'm making my decision for the right reasons!

    Just to clarify about the battery use, I don't plan to have the battery running for the whole day, but just that I will turn it on or off, leave it on sleep mode, but just not plug it in and charge it up until I get home.

    And as for the SDK, I know you don't need the SDK to develop web apps, but I want to develop more complex applications that actually run off of the iPhone OS.

    I'll try the trial of iWork, but I've grown up with Office and so for the sake of productivity and not getting distracted by a new application (at least for this semester) I'll probably just use Office :) - for now.

    I'll just have to do a bit of research to figure out how compatable the MacBook will be with my Dell, although I'm quite familiar with converting files, and my MobileMe iDisk will of course be a capable last resort to transfer files directly - and I have several external USB drivers too, so I definitely won't be totally lost if they don't play nice.

    Thanks again everyone for all your help!

    The only other thing I'm debating is whether I should wait until Apple releases the next version of the MacBook, because if I'm not mistaken the current model has been out for a while. Do you guys think it's worth the wait (I realize it's an unfair question because no one knows how long it will be, but speculation is worth something, right?).
  18. Drumjim85 macrumors 68030


    Oct 7, 2007
    DFW, TX
    IMO, yes it's worth the wait (just a few weeks away)... this should be a really big update for the MB, not just a speed boost... look around these forums and you'll see about 200 threads about this very topic.

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