Poisoned Apples

Mirror, mirror, on the wall – who should have waited until the fall?

Well, me of course (and over here it’s “Autumn” by the way – but that doesn’t rhyme with “wall” now does it?).

Naturally, I am referring to the fact that at the beginning of the year, I upgraded my iMac. I had needed a new machine for some time, and had decided to wait until after Apple’s traditional January announcements, fully expecting an upgrade to the slick all-in-one that would include quad-core processors and LED displays. When that didn’t happen, I had to bite the bullet and went for a top-of-the-line 24″-er with 4Gb RAM and a massive hard drive.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a beauty of a machine, and it’s pretty damn quick and plenty smart too. It’s a bit of a beast too – my daily use heavyweight applications such as Adobe CS4 and Aperture work a treat, whilst browsing tens of thousands of images in iPhoto is snappy, and I can surf, email and tweet away with ease.

Last weeks’ announcements really shouldn’t have affected me so profoundly. In fact, I shouldn’t have batted an eyelid – my iMac is plenty fast, it does what I need it to do, and it works flawlessly (really). Yet, whenever I see that new iMac image on the Apple homepage, I break out in a sweat, and it’s all I can do to stop myself reaching for the credit card. And don’t even get me started on the unibody MacBook and Magic Mouse…..

Apple fan I may be, but I’m not fanatical. Really, I’m not – I can see both the wood and the trees, and that the grass on the other side is actually just the same grass, albeit cut differently (although sometimes the neighbour’s lawnmower isn’t working because of a conflict between the gardener and the home owner, or it steadfastly refuses to collect the grass cuttings because of a security issue).

I choose to use Apple products because, from experience, they just “work”. The fact that they happen to be well conceived, beautifully designed, technically advanced and remarkably well put together is an added bonus. It’s just nice to work on a nice computer, and not have the technology get in the way of the creative process. I run Windows too when I absolutely need too. On my iMac.

So why the cloud amongst all this silver lining? Well, it’s the desirability factor. I know of no other electronics manufacturer who makes products that I want to own, and I want a new 27″ iMac. I don’t need one though, and I certainly can’t afford one right now. Forgetting for a moment the marketing hype, the reality-distortion-field and what it might cost – the new iMac is, quite simply, stunning. It’s evolutionary, but that’s no bad thing – that edge-to-edge glass, thinned down ‘chin’ and aluminium case make it look ten times better sitting on a desk than its’ predecessor. On the inside, it’s billed as being even more powerful, although in reality, my own 3.06GHz model with 4Gb RAM is on a par or faster than the stock models available today, and only marginally slower than the soon-to-be-available-quad-cores expected next month.

Should I have waited then? No, probably not – I bought when I needed to. You shouldn’t feel downhearted if you own last years model either – it’s a great machine – and just think, every single new iMac that finds a home this season will soon look like a tired, old and ugly sister.

You see, it’s the same old pantomime – one bite of the Apple and you’re hooked.

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