Old Mac of the Month: the Intel iMac

This month’s entry is by Devir Kahn. He writes a site named “The Geek Companion”, hails from New York State and enjoys long walks on the beach.

“You should really buy some Apple stock,” he said.

He was my friend’s oldest brother. Dark hair and rather tall. “It’s only about 60 bucks and that number is only going up.” He was talking to my friend’s other brother whom, at the time, was trying to convince me how much better the Mac was than the PC. They were both rather obsessed with computers, but I wasn’t buying it.

“Really? Name me one thing a Mac can do that a PC can’t?” I replied, as I always would. My father and mother both had PCs and were happy with them — in fact, I was using my father’s argument against Macs. Every office I had ever been to all ran on PCs. And the thing is, he was never able to name me anything — and this time was no different.

That was six years ago.

He never did buy the stock. But since then, I’ve owned three Macs.

One day, I was over at my friends house and we were, once again, talking about the Mac. His brother was the only one in the house with one and had spent over a year saving for it. It was a bottom-of-the-line G4 iMac. It was the strangest and most intriguing looking computer I had ever seen. Today, my friend was somehow able to convince him to let us play around with it. He sat down at the computer, and then decided to simply let me just use it for a few minutes instead. I sat down at the desk as he got up. I moved the mouse from the left side of the keyboard to the right as their whole family were lefties.

“Isn’t it great how Apple makes everything so symmetrical?” my friend commented. “The mouse is no different if you’re a righty or a lefty.”

“I guess so.” I replied. I wasn’t a lefty so I didn’t really care. But the mouse was pretty slick. It was far prettier than the Dell mouse I had at home.

I started playing around with the Mac. It was so different. But it was incredible. It was fast, and elegant. Everything just looked so fantastic. He opened up some image editing program for me to toy around with. It was unbelievable. And then there was iMovie. And Photo Booth. And this sweet application he had installed that, as you inserted a CD into the slot on the side of the computer, made it look as if it was actually sliding into your desktop, behind your wallpaper.

Then he pointed out that the entire computer was the screen. There was no tower. It explained the strange looking “chin”, I thought at first. I had never realized that before.

I was so sold. I was going to get a Mac.

I spent the next week convincing my parents how important it was for me to get a Mac. They didn’t buy it, but my father did offer me the opportunity to work for him that summer to help pay for one. I already had $500 in savings. I needed exactly $500 more. That summer couldn’t come soon enough.

But eventually, it did come. And I went to work with my father every single day. And I made that $500. Then one day I took a quick peak at the Apple website to drool over the computer I was saving for, and it was no longer there. Instead, there was a new aluminum iMac. The problem was that it was more expensive by almost $200. $200 that I didn’t have.

I told my father and we both deiced to go to the Apple store that day and see if we could still purchase the older, white one. Somehow, the store manager let us as they were still on display. A man in line tried to tell me how I should get the new one instead — how they came with the new iLife. But I didn’t care. I didn’t care what Mac I got. The important thing was that I was getting one.

It turned out that the one I did get was a bottom-of-the-line Intel iMac. It was the same design as my friend’s, only that it was Intel as opposed to PowerPC. It ran Tiger.

I loved it. It was the greatest thing ever. I must’ve played with Photo Booth for a week straight.

But more importantly was that I was now a part of the Mac community. I read all the blogs and all the rumors. Anyone else that had a Mac was an immediate friend of mine. The only two kids in my whole school with Macs were both in my class. I remember the first Apple keynote that I was “in the loop” for. It was the iPhone one. Wow.

The thing was, I never really wanted a Mac. I was the PCs’ biggest advocate. That is, until I actually used a Mac. When I did, I realized that it wasn’t about what the Mac could do that the PC couldn’t — there really wasn’t much. It was about something much bigger. Something far grander. The Mac was such a better computer that my old PC that it couldn’t possibly be summed up in one sentence.

A year or two ago I replaced that old Intel iMac with a mid-range 27" iMac. My old iMac was too slow to keep up with all I wanted to do with it, but it currently sits in our den, and is the best family computer we’ve ever had. And that 27 incher is the best computer I’ve ever owned. And now I’m waiting on Mountain Lion.

It’s incredible to see how far I’ve come. How far we have come.

How far Apple has come.

He should’ve bought that stock…