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Mac or Windows?
September 30, 2012 2:28 AM   Subscribe

It’s time for my husband to get a new laptop, and we’re looking at a Mac that we’d share (the alternative is Windows). Help me decide whether a Mac is for us!

I have an iPad (with my own iTunes account). My husband has an iPhone (with his own iTunes account). I use iBank, One Day, and BlogPress every day. I also process photos, blog, and comsume eBooks on the iPad. I hav been wonderfully suprised by how easy it's been to replace my Ubuntu desktop w/ the iPad for everything except coding.

Will it be possible to sync both his iPhone and my iPad with it, even though we have separate iTunes accounts? If not, is there a way to transfer purchases from one iTunes account to another?

How much money are we likely to spend on replacing software (MS Office, Gimp, VLC, etc)?

We live in a part of the world with limited bandwidth. Are we even going to be able to download apps for the Mac?

For the sake of discussion, money is no object, and I have no religious views about Windows, Macs, or Linux, except that I desperately want my husband to get a laptop that *just works*.
posted by asnowballschance to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Will it be possible to sync both his iPhone and my iPad with it, even though we have separate iTunes accounts?

Yes: setup two user accounts on the machine. One for him, one for you. So each of you have your own copy of iTunes settings for when you log in. Only sync your iPad when logged in to your account, and vice versa.

You can do this with both Windows and OS X.

If not, is there a way to transfer purchases from one iTunes account to another?

Not without jailbreaking, no.

How much money are we likely to spend on replacing software (MS Office, Gimp, VLC, etc)?

Well, Gimp and VLC are freeware, so nothing there. LibreOffice is free and gets you a lot of MS Office functionality, but if you're in an industry where formatting is as important as the content, shell out for Office.

We live in a part of the world with limited bandwidth. Are we even going to be able to download apps for the Mac?

Debatable. Apple doesn't make app size a significant concern because they assume most users are living in a modern, connected world.

But I'm not sure why you think getting apps in the MS world is any different. I download everything I run in Windows, legitimately.
posted by sbutler at 2:37 AM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


To elaborate on that last point: Apple is way ahead of the curve w/r/t the online App Stores. Hell, the whole operating system comes over the internet now. I can boot my machine over the network from servers sitting at Apple.

But everyone is moving that way. Google has their app store for Android. MS will have an app store for Windows 8. You're just not going to escape online app distribution.
posted by sbutler at 2:40 AM on September 30, 2012


Thus far, we've been able to purchase CDs/DVDs for almost all of the software we use, although there is occasionally a fee for the right to have a "back-up." Our stay in the land of low bandwidth is punctuated w/ trips to Europe or the States, which is when we do highband things like upgrade iOS. I assume we'll be able to do this with the laptop as well?

You can do this with both Windows and OS X.

Awesome! You just solved my biggest frustration w/ iTunes that I probably should have just Googled. I'm going to try it out right now.
posted by asnowballschance at 4:09 AM on September 30, 2012


Keep in mind that Apple laptops can have Windows installed alongside Mac OS X, and you can boot into either operating system (as well as running your Windows installation virtually within OS X for less involved tasks, via Parallels, VMware or Crossover.)

Running OS X on non-Apple hardware is possible, but unsupported and not for the uninitiated (especially on notebook hardware).

The strongest reasons not to buy an Apple laptop are the price premiums, and the diminished user serviceability and upgradability of the newest models. (IMO.)
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:18 AM on September 30, 2012


If not, is there a way to transfer purchases from one iTunes account to another?
You can authorize other machines for your iTunes purchases, allowing you to share each others music/movies. Don't think that works for apps on the iPhone and iPad though.
posted by Joh at 8:59 AM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


You can also sync iPads and iPhones to multiple accounts, you just have to set the devices to manually manage purchases, rather than auto-syncing. I have apps purchased under two different accounts on the iPad I am using to type this comment.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 9:23 AM on September 30, 2012


As far as the limited bandwidth situation, how did that work with your Ubuntu desktop? Unless you're running off a CD/DVD and never getting security updates, the OS and all of the applications would be getting downloaded all the time through the package management system. (I can't help but point out that despite sbutler's enthusiasm for Apple being "ahead of the curve", it's actually kind of the other way around - the App Store is an imitation of Linux package management systems that have been around since the 1990s.)
posted by XMLicious at 10:03 AM on September 30, 2012


Hardware maintainability is another issue. If you get a Macbook (which I do endorse, they're great) you might want to consider getting the 2011 pre-Retina model, which is much more repairable than the newer Retina Macbooks, which are basically entirely unserviceable if you're nowhere near the Apple retail ecosystem.

If you have iOS devices, the syncing works much better in OSX than Windows (I've used both).

If you're comfortable with Unix, it's great to be able to just open a Bash shell when you need to.

I don't think the bandwidth requirements are very onerous. It'd be the same story with a Windows machine. Software shouldn't be an issue either, unless you have very specific requirements -- cross-platform software has come a long way lately, especially since the Apple shift to Intel processors. As mentioned, you can always install Windows (or Linux!) via Bootcamp if you really need Windows for something.
posted by neckro23 at 11:17 PM on September 30, 2012


Thanks for everyone's advice! After reading your answers, I realized I was seeking external justification for a decision that I'd already made. MacBook it is!
posted by asnowballschance at 6:10 AM on October 2, 2012


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