On October 23, 2001, Apple introduced the iPod digital music player. Initially equipped with a 5GB hard drive and a monochrome screen, models today can store up to 160GB and display videos, play games with a wide range of third-party add-on devices. Todays range includes the iPod shuffle. iPod nano, iPod classic and iPod touch, as well as the iPhone which includes nearly all of the iPod functionality plus various applications such as Safari web browser, e-mail, Bluetooth, WiFi and satellite navigation all on a 3.5 inch touch screen display.
Apple Macintosh started in 1977 and makes consumer, professional and educational computer systems such as the Mac mini, the iMac, the Power Mac, the Mac Pro, the Xserve and the Xserve RAID. Apple introduced the iBook laptop as a companion to the iMac as their low-cost laptops alternative but the iBook was replaced with the MacBook featuring the Intel Core Duo processor with the MacBook Pro as the professional portable computer version which replaces the PowerBook which was introduced back in 1991. Apple develops its own operating system to run on Macs called Mac OS X with the latest version being Mac OS X v10.5 "Leopard". Apple also independently develops computer software titles for its Mac OS X operating system such as the iLife software package which includes iDVD, iMovie, iPhoto, iTunes, GarageBand and iWeb with its package for professionals being iWork, including Keynote, Pages, and Numbers. They don't just cover their own systems, iTunes, QuickTime media player and Safari web browser are available as free downloads for both Mac OS X and Windows.
A lesser known offshoot in the appleshop range is the Apple TV (previously known as the iTV, but you can see the conflict!) which is a set-top video device intended to help transfer content from iTunes through people's high-definition televisions. The device links up to a user's TV and syncs, either via WiFi or a wired network, with one computer's iTunes library and streams from an additional four. Apple also offers online services with .Mac which bundles .Mac HomePage, .Mac Mail, .Mac Groups, .Mac iDisk, .Mac Backup and .Mac Sync. One of their only failings seems to be that they don't own most of the domains names that go along with their brands e.g. appleshop.com and appleipod.com are all owned by other people which is strange for such a valuable company with a strong brand.
The PC/Mac ad wars, whilst silly to watch, do not seem to have hampered their progress. Their user-friendly image over Microsoft's makes them the "less-evil" choice apparently. Well, I've bought a Mac desktop computer and it sits next to my old PC laptop. My wife thinks it looks great and fancies herself a Macbook, one of the little notebook thingys - Mackbook air pro or something? Whilst a Powermac may have it's advantages in terms of not being hit by viruses every 30 minutes, the down sides are huge. Every piece of software you've collected over the years becomes useless as none of it works with Mac OS. Many manufacturors seem to have boycotted Macintosh too, as many of my products, such as my Sony DVD Camcorder, do not have a Mac version of the software required to download the videos and make the DVD.
Plus, with Internet Explorer still being the preferred web browser ... by far! I'm constantly shifting back and forth between computers whilst designing a web graphic or website layout. Add to that the difficulties in finding good Mac alternatives to the web developer software I've always used and I think I may have been hasty in switching. If you've always been a Mac, you'll already have the tools needed each time you upgrade. If you're a Mac-head - switching is hard work!
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