Should You Buy A Mac Now?
Apple is starting to slide into difficult territory where they risk losing sales of current Macs as the Intel Macs draw near.
The first of the Intel Macs seem certain to be announced at MacWorld San Francisco in a month. Rumors are Mac minis and/or iMacs and/or iBooks. I’m leaning towards Mac minis as the most likely first up. With the Mac minis sporting similar technology to the iBooks, it is possible the iBooks will be announced but releasing Intel iBooks too far ahead of Intel Powerbooks would hurt the current Powerbook’s sales. That said, I do expect Apple to “trial” their new Intel based Macs on consumers first, so there is going to be some gap between the iBooks and the Powerbooks anyway. I’m sure Steve will be chomping at the bit to get the Powerbooks out. I would be surprised to see an Intel iMac given it has recently been significantly upgraded.
To counter any possible fall off of sales before the machines are released, Apple have a promo on Microsoft Office at the moment through to 31st January (28th February in Australia). As I posted in my Apple Matters blog, I consider this strong evidence of the Intel Macs becoming available in early February in the US and early March in Australia.
Should I wait?
I am in the market for a new Mac for the kids. A few months ago I would have happily bought a mini or an iMac. And I might even now if there wasn’t so much rumors about the next Mac mini getting really serious about being a real media centre.
And then you throw in the Intel switch. Should I stick to a PowerPC Mac happily knowing that the apps I currently own will run fine on it and any I buy in the next couple of years - because of universal binaries - run fine on either a PowerPC or Intel Mac? That’s a big advantage of buying a PowerPC Mac.
Whereas the downside of buying an Intel Mac is that my old non-universal-binary apps (i.e. anything I already own) will have to be run under Rosetta. At the Intel announcement that was to be equivalent to running them on a G3. Fortunately the latest rumors doing the rounds suggest that Rosetta now has full G4 support, which wouldn’t be much of dent on what I’m already running.
The downside of a current Mac mini is the Intel version will make it two generations old. Some people won’t care, but that niggles me a little because I do like to have the latest.
Now I better take this all somewhere and not keep it to my own buying decision. Otherwise it leaves you wandering around the vacant landscape of my cerebrum.
Should you wait?
How many people have put off buying a Mac for Christmas because of the impending Intel Macs? Probably not as many as we who live and breath Mac news would like to think but if you are wondering, I’d suggest that unless you like to live on the leading edge, unless you want a real media centre Mac, then buying now is fine. Your apps will run on it as will the apps you buy for the next few years - which will correspond nicely with life of the computer. Also, it’s probable the first Intel Macs won’t contain all the bells and whistles as Apple’s track record with first versions demonstrates. They always seem to leave room for improvement. A good thing though, because those first versions tend to be more reliable as a consequence.
It’s really hard to predict the future and what your computing needs will be - for example, digital camera owners were in the minority three years ago - so, when buying a computer you should always buy for what you need now - plus more memory than you think you need.
If you are hoping for a real media centre Mac or like the latest of everything - yeah wait and see what MacWorld brings.
Otherwise, in context of the Intel switch, there’s no significant downside to buying a current Mac now, especially the G5 ones.