For many years I used a Windows based PC then, when I went to Uni, I was introduced to Linux. Despite the many advantages I saw with a Linux machine I still hankered for, and missed, the ease of use my Windows machine provided. However, once I purchased an iMac, I found the marriage of the best parts from both worlds. The operating system on the iMac, OS X, is based on a BSD Unix (what Linux is based on) distribution called Darwin. Apple have then added their own eye candy etc and the result is amazing. You have the security most Linux users enjoy, i.e. no spyware/adware/viruses, yet you get the ease of user and friendly environment that Windows users enjoy. If all you use your PC for is e-mail, internet, word processing and the like the iMac is the perfect machine.
On the more hardware side it is fast, very, very fast. The Intel Core 2 Duo is an amazing piece of hardware and copes with anything that you can throw at it. The 1GB RAM is more than enough for most users needs as is the 160GB hard-drive. Graphically the iMac isn't a slouch either with a Radeon X1600 card in there which copes amicably. Added to this is Apple Superdrive (which is just a DVD Re-Writer) and you've got a machine built for today's computing needs. Bundled with the machine is Apples' iLife software which consists of iPhoto, iWeb, Garage Band, iMoveHD and iDVD. I have only used iPhoto and iWeb and both are wonderful to use. iPhoto is a photograph application that lets you store your photos in albums, turn them into sideshows as well as it being a convenient place to keep track of your photos. iWeb makes creating your own blog or website a breeze with very intuitive interface. Along with a subscription to .mac it is a perfect match.
However I will say this, if you want to be playing Half-Life 2 or latest computer games do not get an iMac as, at the moment, many developers do not port their games to the Mac. Notable exceptions are SI Games (Football Manager et al), Maxis (The Sims, Sim City) and Blizzard (World of Warcraft).
So in closing all I can say is this, when I do use Windows machines, I wish I was using a Mac.
Its amazing the other two reviews are from other PC users who have switched to Apple, and i have to say that i am not going to break the trend, i was once an avid PC user buying a new one every three years because it went out of date so quickly.
I first got into Apple when i met my girlfriend who is an Apple Technician handy person to have, you can imagine what our house looks like an Apple Museum! Anyway....
Lets get rid of the myths about Apple and the Imac, you can run your microsoft programes like Microsoft Office on them perfectly well if not better than your PC.
You can play games on your Imac, however they are not ideally made for this so i would suggest an alternative, thats not to say that the excellent graffics card you get with this won't deliver... it will and more.
You have to bear in mind you are buying a product from the producers of the Apple Ipod! Need i say anymore... Well i will imagine the simplicity of the Ipod transfered into the Apple Imac thats exactly what its like so simple to use.
If your not entirely satisfied go to your nearest Apple Store or John Lewis where they have them all on display so you can play with them and ask the questions you have about them.
They come with your standard slots USB, Firewire etc etc, and the Apple software updates are fantastic can you see Microsoft doing this... i think not! Did i forget to mention they are free? There are even software updates for Macs that are up to 10 years old... can you imagine your PC lasting that long?!
One thing you have to remember these guys know what they are doing, Photoshop, Final Cut Pro all industrial recognised software. If you get any problems with your mac, the mac helpline is great you have a 1 year warranty and 2 years if you go to the other stores. There are so many online forums that can assist you with problems or queries if you don't have an Apple Technician as your girlfriend!
The design is perfect thats all can be said so elegant and smooth, if your looking for a good set of speakers to go with, have a look at Harman/Kardon Soundsticks II also listed here which I have also reviewed and own.
If you want to network your Mac to PC or Mac to Mac, we had problems finding the right wireless router as many dont come with mac instructions or dont read as Mac compatible which you will find with all routers unfortunately. We originally bought a Belkin which didnt work at all, so we returned that and purchased a Netgear-DG834G-54Mbps-Wireless router also found on Amazon new and used, that although didnt state it was Mac compatible worked first time.
Screen size: for a first Mac I played safe, and 17" is plenty if you're worried about money. It is plenty enough! I'm pretty sure that with the 24" you have you move your head a considerable amount from left to right to look at different things on the screen!
Appearance: Well, let me put it like this: If it was human, it would be a model!!
Speed: amazing, faster than Louis Hamilton!!
Sound: brilliant (but from the creators of the iPod, what do you expect!)
Screen: The graphics are just phenomenal!! I have software that will play HD DVDs and oh my, it is heaven!
In my review of the iPod, i put that I now wanted an iMac, I cannot decide which Apple product to move onto next!
I am definitely sticking with my iMac for a long time!!
The best thing i ever did was ditch my windows PC and get this imac. Stable, secure, aesthetically pleasing the list goes on. There was a slight problem with the machine due to a fault with the keyboad, however, the vendor sorted this out with the minimum amount of was and was genuinely helpful and apologetic and i really felt as though they cared about my complaint. I would certainly buy from them again due to their superb communications and customer service.