Once again, my wife and I got into a discussion of why or why not to buy a new Intel-based iMac. She feels like I need to get one to “stay on the cutting edge” and to be able to write about it here. I’d love to be able to do that, but spending another $1800 or so will not help out our finances and I really don’t want to go through another painful and frustrating transition. I’ve been through too many. It’s been less than four years since I transitioned to Macs from PC’s with all the expenses that entailed, and that was considerable since I run Adobe’s Photoshop, Illustrator, In Design, and Go Live packages as well as Microsoft Office. (Owning Windows’ packages of those applications didn’t help me at all.) Additionally, I followed Apple from the G4 to the G5, and not only are both those CPU’s being abandoned, but my G5’s will never see their full 64 bit potential. I also followed Apple from OS 10.1 to 10.2 (Jaguar) to 10.3 (Panther) to 10.4 (Tiger) and have lost the use of some software applications to those operating system upgrades. So, the thought of making another major transition in the short time I’ve been with Apple is rather abhorrent. Whenever I consider the pro’s and con’s of the new Intel machines against the current G5’s, I keep coming back to the latter’s one major: They Just Work.
Photoshop and Illustrator performance hits aside, I don’t want to move to an Intel CPU because I’m waiting for Flip4Mac to finish an Universal Binary version of their Windows Media Player. If I move before that’s done, I’ll have to suffer through not being able play any Windows Media Files; and a lot of the movies friends send me in e-mail are in that format.
Moreover, the buttons on my Logitech MX510 mouse will stop working, except for the prime three already covered by native drivers in the operating system. I would probably be able to get them back by purchasing a copy of USB Overdrive (which is in Universal Binary form already). However, I am interested in possibly running Logitech’s S530 mouse and keyboard combo that’s being released this month. I’d put hard money down on a bet that says it will only come with PPC drivers.
I still have no clue, too, whether my Epson Perfection 1660 flatbed scanner will work under Rosetta. There’s a good chance it will not, and I would be out of having any scanner that worked on an Intel based system. However, the scanner is already hooked up to my dual processor 2.0 G5 PowerMac, so I would not be totally out of a scanner. But still…
I also have seen conflicting reports about whether Corel Draw will run under Rosetta. Corel Draw is no longer being updated for the Mac; so if it doesn’t run under Rosetta, I’ve lost it altogether. I can probably afford that, but I’ve got to check. I’ve got lots of neat clip art in Corel format I don’t want to lose.
Interestingly, these things can drive me in two directions, one of which is back to Windows. I find that ironic and wonder how many other Mac users are taking a look at moving some or all of their computing back to Windows because of the swap to Intel. My other choice is to keep a G5 machine or to never move to Intel at all, at least as far as my desktops are concerned.
While I intend to order the Universal Binary version of Final Cut Studio, I suspect I will not be upgrading my PowerMac for several years to come. (And, frankly, if I did upgrade it, it would probably be to a Quad G5.) Until I resolve the above issues, I probably won’t be upgrading my iMac, either. The machine it makes the most sense to upgrade is my PowerBook to a MacBook Pro but ONLY if I have some kind of capability of running Windows. That’s sad but true. Otherwise, a G4 PowerBook or a Windows notebook will be my next purchase.
There is no Universal Binary for PocketMac, so synching up Address Book with my cell phone probably is probably a “no-go”, as is synching up Palm Desktop, my Address Book, or Entourage with my Palm Tungsten E.
The other big impact involves a subject that is still esoteric, and that is the subject of security for the Intel Macs. No matter what you believe about their security, I maintain they will be attacked more than G5 iMacs were simply because hackers have ready access to the same or similar hardware. With a G5, you needed one to check your attack code. With an Intel iMac, you have what you need if you own a PC. Yes, I am aware that older X86 CPU’s have stack execution enabled and the new Macs don’t. Still, even with their faster speed, I would never opt to own an Intel-based Mac if it’s going to become a virus and worm magnet.
One of my sons was kidding me last night about how I wind up buying a machine within six months of the time I write I won’t. There’s some truth in that. Sometimes, it’s because I get better info than I had or something else changes. That could hold true for the Intel iMacs as well. If Adobe was to quickly release CS3 in Universal Binary, Flip4Mac and PocketMac did the same (the latter so I could sync up either my Windows Mobile powered cell phone or my Palm Tungsten E with my Mac), and Microsoft released a Universal Binary update for Office 2004, I’d probably move. Until then, I will plan on sitting tight on any desktop upgrades.
The scenario for us that probably makes the most sense is —once someone releases a version of Virtual PC that will work on Mac OS X for Intel or someone figures out how to dual boot Windows XP and OS X on a MacBook Pro—to replace my current 12 inch PowerBook with a 15 inch MacBook Pro and run the MacBook and whatever PowerMac I have via a KVM switch with my 20 inch Apple Cinema Display. I’d hand my 2.0 Ghz iMac over to my wife and we’d sell her 1.8 GHz G5 iMac. My wife doesn’t want to do that because she believes I need to keep an iMac, but I don’t see how we can afford to do anything else. So, in the end and at least for now, we won’t be upgrading anything. There’s a very good chance it could be 18 months or more from now before we do.