After thirteen days with the Mac, my PC feels like a huge, clunky brute. I only ever turn it on in order to print things, and often have its mouse stolen for use with the iBook. That's not to say I haven't found any faults in Mac OS, and one must always consider how the novelty factor can distort clear thinking, but I have an undeniable sense that OS X is a winner, and I won't be willingly going back.
Usually, when there is a graphical interface, it is layered on top of something more fundamental that must occasionally be toyed with. The evil that is the Windows registry is a case in point. So far, OS X does not seem to be that way. The graphics in Mac OS are also awesome. To take a trivial example, icons look nice and smooth at all sizes, not just the three Windows presets. Fonts are generally nicely antialiased. Drop shadows and things are tasteful and make navigation easier. Window management is intuitive, after you have about half an hour to get used to it. The Mac desktop images look so appropriate I can't switch away from them, even to excellent photos, for very long.
In terms of hardware, the iBook also seems extremely solid. The wireless networking
is significantly better than the PCI Linksys card in my PC. The screen is bright and attractive. The keyboard becomes familiar quickly and seems to allow for quick and accurate text entry. The trackpad isn't perfect as an input device, but it is as close as I have seen in a laptop. The only real problems are that it sometimes has a bit too much friction and it can be touched by accident when typing. Plugging in my Microsoft optical mouse, it works instantly and with two-button capacity. No configuration is required. Even Tristan, who knows way more about audio than I do, thinks the speakers are unusually good for a laptop. The battery
seems to last just under five hours, and charge in a couple. Nice little touches, like how the power cable connector changes colour when it is charged, add to the sense that this is a machine that has benefitted from being designed from top to bottom with the same people.
The FireWire port works beautifully with the iPod and, now that I've become used to it, Entourage has some distinct advantages over Outlook. The 'Project Manager' feature is actually pretty useful, at least if you sort things as obsessively as I do. iPhoto definitely has some problems, but I am working on tweaking it. iTunes, I loved before I switched to Mac. That said, the version on my iBook rips CDs with truly impressive speed, compared to the Windows version on a machine with a comparable processor and CD drive. Moving files between the Mac and the PC has been easy, as has getting the Mac to access Windows file-sharing networks.
OS X has yet to freeze, though it did unexpectedly turn itself off once, with no loss of data I have discovered so far.