Drinking the Apple Juice: Choosing a MacBook Pro

by on December 17, 2008

I made  a major change in 2007, I purchased a MacBook Pro to replace my ThinkPad T42. One advantage of owning your own company is that you get to make the decision on equipment purchase. The disadvantage, of course, is that you have to write the check to pay for it.

Of course if I want to continue to do well in the market, I need to make sure what I buy is a wise investment. I have never considered a Macintosh as a work computer. What changed was Apple converting to Intel CPUs and the ability to run Windows. Suddenly I could have a Mac, and still run critical applications for my job.

The tools I own and use include Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite Design Premium, and SnagIt. Tools I use for projects that I need to install on my system for the project duration include Adobe Captivate, Lectora and RoboHelp. Now some applications have OSX counterparts, but as my deliverables are always (to this point) for clients with Windows applications, I cannot rely on the portability of data between systems. Frankly, Word is notorious for having issues going from version to version, so I always try to work in the version of Word the client wants. This means, I need to run Windows.

There are some really great tools for running Windows on a MacBook. Before I took the plunge I verified that I would not have a very expensive toy. At the very least, you can load up BootCamp and run Windows on the MacBook Pro hardware. In fact, there was a brief period, where benchmarking crowned the MacBook Pro the fastest Vista laptop.

Another important fact is that the infamous Apple Tax has all but disappeared. I definitely paid a slight premium over my alternative laptops (I considered another T-series ThinkPad or a Dell Latitude) but it is a premium laptop.

So why pay a premium for a laptop that I have to add tools to just run what I can on a less expensive laptop. Well, I get the added feature of OSX. Just so you know, I am pretty technology neutral. My days of OS passion are long past. My question is will it help me do my job, or not. As an independent instructional designer, I need to be as flexible as possible. By getting a MacBook Pro I was able to familiarize myself with another potential market. I was also able to introduce my self to some Video production by purchasing Final Cut Express.

Now, a year later, I can say I made a good choice. I chose Fusion as my tool of choice to run Windows. It not only runs Windows XP flawlessly for me, it also supports dual-monitors while running in OSX. I also had a project for a client where I was able to use VMWare tools to make an image of the client’s environment and run it on my MacBook Pro, a real boon to that project.

Moving forward I hope to leverage the new capabilities I have. I hope to learn more about Final Cut Express and do some video production, and hope to get some projects the run in OSX. But without that, I still made a good decision.

I plan to follow this post up with more details on the transition. There are definitley things I love about the lapotop (like the back-lit keybord), and things I don’t (like the general feel of the keyboard). But more about that later.

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