Apple computers can be described as durable, reliable, trustworthy, etcetera. This is due largely in part to Apple's enclosed user interface. Of course, another big factor in a long lasting device is quality of parts used. Apple computers have only recently begun to gain mass appeal in the United States. Once they switched to Intel processors and chipsets, Apple opened up their computers to run much more software including opposing operating systems. While Apple keeps their user's experience under careful supervision, you may now install Windows if you must. Though after gaining experience within the Mac environment, you may not want to.
Known for using top-tier, high-quality parts in their systems, Apple made the switch from their PowerPC processors to Intel processors back in early 2006. With the Intel architecture, Apple included Intel's new Core Duo processors which rolled 2 cores into one processor essentially giving you the performance of having 2 separate processors. Along with these great new processors, Apple also included larger cache memory which aids in the speed with which a processor can work. The more cache available, the more memory the processor can deal with at a time. Apple computers also included wonderful specifications all around. The first Core Duo iMacs included high resolution screens up to 1680 by 1050 pixels at 20", relatively huge for the time. The Core Duo itself came in two flavors, 1.83GHz in the 17" & a 2.0GHz in the 20". RAM came in a 512MB standard, but went up to 2GB all at 667MHz speed. Apple offered dedicated graphics cards as well with memory ranging from 128MB to 256MB. Hard drive choices were 160GB or 250GB. These impressive specs were costly, but they have proven to be a great investment.
In February 2007, I purchased a 24" 1920 by 1200 pixel iMac with a 2.16GHz Intel Core2Duo processor, 1GB of RAM at 667MHz, a 250GB hard disk drive, 128MB graphics card and Apple's Mac OS X 10.4.4. After 31/2 years and 13 moves, I sit here writing this article with my beloved iMac. Along the way, I've upgraded the RAM to 21/2GB and OS X to 10.6.4. I've never had any problems with my white monster, hardware or software. I also have a MacBook from early 2008 that has lasted just as long with no problems as well. In addition to my own testimony, my greatest friend was given an Apple iBook in 2002 that still works well. Aside from upgrading RAM and adding an AirPort wireless card, his Mac has never been to the shop. Apple engineers their software to work seamlessly with their hardware. This lends to the incredibly long life of Apple computers.
Mac OS X was first introduced in 1999 as a server OS. In 2001, Apple released their first finalized version of OS X dubbed Cheetah. OS X reinvented the Mac environment with many new features such as the new Dock and many visual treats such as even minor things like adding drop shadows to windows. OS X has been refined multiple times over the last decade and has evolved into something that nears perfection. Keeping with Apple tradition, Apple is currently developing their latest iteration of OS X, 10.7 "Lion" which promises to add more features to enhance the user experience further. Because of Apple's closed system, it prevents other companies damaging the user experience due to frustrating or just plain ugly graphical user interfaces (GUIs), glitchy code within the software or software that does not include common features required. A benefit of Apple's closed system is the ability to deeply integrate their software as they do with their popular iLife suite.
With Apple's tight integration of their high-end software and their use of high-quality parts, their computers last an incredibly and respectably long time. With no signs of aging yet, my iMac and MacBook both excel in performance even compared to some brand new computers and I anticipate many more years of reliable service. If you are willing to spend the money to purchase a Mac, you will not be disappointed. Your Mac will prove it is worth it's price once you reach the point in which you would normally be required to purchase a new computer.
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