The Modern MacWant to see how midmarket Apple has become? Do what I did late last Saturday night, and hit an Apple Store. Inside, the uber-Apple vibe is in full effect: The place was jammed. It could have been a nightclub filled with local scenesters and tourists coming in from the burbs. I descended the tubular crystal elevator that leads to the Apple Store and before me swept the full Apple line: MacBooks, MacPros, iMacs, monitors and iPods. All were sleek, efficient and cold, like lunch at Nobu in Las Vegas. And make no mistake, Macs are good, even lovely machines. But is Apple the leader of design and performance? Let's see. In my mind, there is simply no comparison in terms of fit, finish and features for an off-the-shelf Mac to a top-of-the-line custom-made PC like a Voodoo or Alienware -- Voodoos come plated in gold, if you want that. For raw design, Macs are nice, but the style is getting weary.
|Apple MacBook Pro|
They're all the same: rectangles in white or silver or gray. Macs aren't ugly by any standard, but they're like a Toyota Avalon or a Lexus. Nice design, gorgeous lines, but if you're looking for breakout style, a Lexus won't get you there -- and neither does a Mac. So let's compare the offending Alienware m5550 to an Apple MacBook Pro 2.0 ghz with a 15.4-inch screen. For case, finish and screen, both the Alienware and the Apple are on par. The MacPro is a bit lighter, the Alienware has a bit nicer casing and finish. And I'd give the Apple the edge in performance. It's not a big edge, but the Apple chips are faster and Apple's all-in-one software tend to run a bit cleaner than similar Windows machines.