Apple Inc. makes computers, consumer electronics, and software. It is also one of the world's largest music retailers1. Apple is well known for its successful marketing strategy and heavy emphasis on proprietary software. Apple commands a 8.1%2 market share in personal computers, but boasts a 74%3 market share in the US for digital music players (the iPod).
Okay, now that the corporate speak and sales and market figures are out of the way, let's be honest: Davis has a sweaty torrid love affair with little bits of glass and metal with that iconic apple-with-a-bite. Apple products are highly popular among college students (and thus highly visible in college towns) to start out with, and are also popular on the west coast, and finally have a shine of anti-corporate outsider appeal (which, like any such halo, is hotly contested by some people). That comes together to make Apple products quite the popular item among Davis residents. And outside Davis — as of July 2011 it has more cash reserves than the U.S.
The Davis Mac Users Group has been around for years, and offers monthly meetings, a city-wide Mac discussion email list, and a range of members from the experienced to the new user.
Davis has been featured in in several iPhone and iPod Touch applications. DavisTrans displays Unitrans transit information including bus location and schedule information. Davis Routes displays an overview of the entire community, and gives the user access to a speedometer and route mapping while they ride their bicycle. The real-time civic engagement tool, UC Davis Campus Reporter, allows users to identify civic issues (potholes, graffiti, snow removal) and report them to facilities management. Check out UC Davis Mobile for a look at a campus map and class schedules.
If you're tired of proprietary corporate operating systems from Microsoft and Apple, Linux is an free, open source, community programed operating system. Most Linux distros (distributions) run nicely on Macintosh hardware and are particularly good for use on older equipment that has been declared obsolete by Windows and OS X performance specs. Nick runs Debian GNU/Linux on his Revision B iMac.
Before Davis Wiki was even placed online, when it was first being created, it lived aboard an iBook G4. Since then, quite a bit of development of the software side of things has been done on Apple laptops.
- Apple Store (in Sacramento)
- Heron Technologies
- iFIX ELECTRONICS (Davis)
- UC Davis Bookstore
- Apple Store (in Sacramento)
- Apple Care Direct. Call (800) 275-2273. They'll mail you a box for your computer, repair it, and send it back to you. Really fast turnaround.
- Core Care (Sacramento)
- iFIX ELECTRONICS Repair all Apple devices: MacBook, iMac, iPhone, iPad, iPod...
- RC iPhone Repair
- Seismic Computer Management (Sacramento) does Mac repair for businesses
- Tech Hub at the UC Davis Bookstore performs Apple authorized repair
Apple offers an educational discount (~10%) to students and educators on a periodic basis.
- If you're buying something from an Apple Store and have a student, staff, or faculty ID, bring your ID with you. Many products are discounted for educational users; just ask at the checkout counter.
- MacXDVD Back to School Deal for Mac and PC.
- Recall for some iBook and PowerBook G4 batteries Oct 2003 and Aug 2006.
- iMac G5 Repair Extension Program: applies to first generation iMac G5 computers that have video or power-related issues as a result of a specific component failure. Closed as of December 15, 2008.
When calling Applecare or Apple customer relations, ask for a "gesture of good faith" to get Apple to compensate for your troubles. They will tell you that they can't cut you a check, but will provide any item valued at approximately $100 dollars for free. Remember to be sincere and polite, as otherwise they won't help you.
UC Davis affiliates can access UC Davis on iTunes U.
Davis Wiki on Apple
2006-04-10 22:02:36 I've heard bad things about the
quality of build of apple laptops. I know a few people who have had them break repeatedly. —ZacMorris
2007-02-10 10:50:08 I had an iBook G3 that was an absolute lemon and wouldn't work, even after 5 logic board swaps (wtf?). I'm rather happy with my current PowerBook G4, though. I've only had a few problems and they have been repaired promptly. —WilliamLewis
2007-02-12 20:32:10 My PowerBook has broken. Three times. All three times, Apple has agreed to pay for repair, even after the computer went beyond warranty. There is a key to dealing with these Apple people—one key is staying on the phone with them as long as it takes. The other key? Well, message me your specific problem and I'll help you get your computer fixed. —GreggAlexander
2007-05-15 00:22:35 Well, I love all the Mac bashing, but we have 3 mac laptops, one Imac and 3 older macs (including a mac classic). All work perfectly. My son had a pc because he was worried about game programs, but since getting his mac he says he won't ever go back. They may be more expensive, but they're totally worth it! —Davidlm
2007-05-15 10:53:18 I've had five Macintoshes over the course of *mumble* years. The last two were laptops; my current laptop is over three years old. I've had minimal problems with any of these machines. —CovertProfessor
2007-11-01 21:19:31 I've finally had enough of the bad support from Apple. I always advise my clients to avoid vendor lock-in lest they suffer from the lack of choice; it's time I took my own advice. So, I just ordered a tablet PC on which I'll run Ubuntu. Now it won't matter that Apple will take at least a week - possibly a month - to fix the latest hardware failure on my MacBook Pro, nor will it matter that Apple continues to try to prevent me from using my iPod with other software besides iTunes. Buh-bye! —Graham.Freeman
2008-11-27 20:24:45 I love my macbook. —Jeserah
2008-12-21 16:02:04 I loved your macbook. It was very tasty. *munch* *munch* —IDoNotExist
2008-12-21 16:08:52 On vendor lock-in, I'm not sure that you have much advantage with going with a regular PC maker over Apple. For example, if you order your PC from Dell, you are locked into Dell's service and support (unless you decide to buy your own replacement parts instead of using Dell's components.) Most computers from PC makers ship only with Windows, so you are locked into both Microsoft and your hardware vendor for service. Of course, you can, as you mentioned, put Linux or another OS on your PC. But you can also do this with any modern Mac. In fact, unlike a PC, you can also run OS X (legally, with proper support and updates) on your Mac. You can not do this on a regular PC. So on a regular PC, you are locked into fewer choices of operating systems. Consumer Reports regularly rates Apple's hardware as having the fewest problems. That doesn't mean that you will never have a problem - just that you have a lower probability of having one. —IDoNotExist
- I can't comment on other manufacturers, but HP allows you to upgrade hard drives, ram, and even WAN cards, without invalidating your warranty. Also, your point about being able to install OS X seems odd to me, since the message seems to be that Apple makes it illegal, and unsupported, for you to install it on anything other than their proprietary hardware. That sounds like a lock-in to me. At this point it seems to me that a person's choice of computer is based solely on their own preference. There doesn't seem to be any major innate superiority. I mostly choose PCs because i am used to them and because I cannot stand Mac's insufferable commercials.— JoePomidor
2008-12-21 18:21:00 On legality: OS X is licensed for use with Apple branded computers. Whether or not that is enforceable may be tested in court one of these days, but for now, that is the case.
On warranties: Apple allows you to upgrade everything too without invalidating your warranty. They won't cover third party components in their warranty. ie. If you buy a third party hard drive and it goes bad, they will repair or replace your computer, but won't fix the third party hard drive, because they didn't supply it. Some PC vendors will not support your machine if you run Linux, or even if you install any third party software, even if the fault is with the hardware, unless you reimage your machine with their install disk.
On lock-in: If you want to run OS X, you have to use Apple hardware. (There are a few ways around this that may or may not be legal. Those haven't been tested in court, and are unsupported by Apple, but people do use them.) However, this doesn't lock you to Apple's hardware OR software. There is a Windows, Linux, and OS X all have programs that will read and modify data created on each other's platforms (including Microsoft Office documents). Moving your data between platforms is as easy as transferring your data between machines using your favorite method. In that sense, the underlying OS and hardware is irrelevant, so long as it meets your needs. I totally agree that you should go with whatever you feel most comfortable with. You can also run Windows and Linux simultaneously, at nearly full speed, on your Mac alongside OS X if you really need to. I should note that Microsoft has repeatedly found itself in antitrust suits in the US and EU for leveraging proprietary and hidden functionality tied to Windows to lock people into using Windows.
My personal experience has been that Apple's hardware has been more reliable than than of other vendors, and also more reliable than my own home built hardware. I run many different machines in many different configurations with many different operating systems. The easiest to maintain, by far, are the OS X boxes, followed by the Linux systems. I find myself putting much more time into maintaining my Windows systems (ie. keeping them up to date with security patches) than I actually spend using them! It also takes me the least time to make an OS X box do what I want it to, and I get the best performance on most things that I do with OS X (again, with Linux in second place and Windows last.) There are also many nice features on OS X that I use heavily that simply have no equivalent on Windows (although they can usually be replicated with some effort on Linux).
If you are looking for the very cheapest system, you probably won't find it from Apple. Apple doesn't want to sell to the very low end of the market, because it isn't profitable. Many people argue that you can get a Windows system more cheaply than a Mac, and that is true if the systems do not have equivalent hardware (again, because there are no Macs at the very low end of the market.) If you price out systems with nearly identical hardware, the Macs are usually priced about the same, and sometimes for quite a bit less (check out the Mac Pro vs. Dell's 8 core Xeon workstations.) That's a business decision on Apple's part on which part of the market they want to pursue. Many people don't agree with it, but Apple has remained extremely profitable while companies like Dell are now in deep trouble, so it looks like a viable strategy.
If you are looking for the "best" system, that really depends on what you are doing with it. For certain tasks, I'd recommend Linux over OS X, and for some, Windows might be the best choice (if you mainly want to play games, for example). For the sorts of tasks that most people do, I'd recommend OS X. Many people dual boot Windows on Macs for games, or Linux on Windows boxes for development work.
If you are very security conscious, I would recommend OS X to most people. For people who are *very* security conscious, don't mind lots of additional work, and are technically savvy, OpenBSD or FreeBSD might even be a good choice. I would not recommend those for most people though. While I probably know as many people at all skill levels with Macs as PCs, it is always the PC users who have the virus infested machines, spyware, adware, and other problems, never the Mac or Linux users. If you are even more security conscious, I would recommend turning off your computer and picking up a good book. :-)
On the commercials: I find them very entertaining, but obviously some people don't like them. Microsoft recently responded to the ads by calling its operating system chewy and delicious, and comparing it to dress shoes and churros. (Really! It did!) I'm not sure why this would get me to use Windows, even if churros are very tasty, since I don't usually try to eat my operating system. But why chose your software based on an advertising campaign? —IDoNotExist
2010-04-07 14:52:37 I am very happy with my Mac Classic, but I am finding the 40 MB memory a little limiting. —DonShor
2011-02-11 17:24:31 I switched to Mac completely this last year. I could not be happier. —RyanMikulovsky
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