I agreed with all of your observations. I never used Mail.app, instead I prefer Thunderbird with some plugins (like QuickText Pro) as it is very easy to keep several machines synchronized. I have also tried the new Entourage which is really good but has too many proprietary formats and functions and doesn't play well with the similar OSX functions.

Alex said on November 16, 2008

I don't get it....I love Mail, and iCal. What is the big problem with them? I guess I am not some crazy business power user that is looking to do a laundry list of insane things with my mail app...The actual displaying and handling of emails is superb. I can't understand what else you do with email. Does Thunderbird have Smart Folders? I don't think so. That's one feature that will keep me using Mail instead of Thunderbird.

I can see the issue some poeple might have with a glossy screen. Color on a glossy screen is not representative of the actual color. Color on a matte screen is closer to the actual color. So if you are a photographer or designer, it just ends up being more work when managing your colors when working on a glossy screen.

VMWare Fusion is great and all, but you might want to think about setting up a Boot Camp partition. That way you have the option of running Windows apps natively as opposed to through virtualization software which can be slow and/or buggy. And once you have the boot camp partition set up, you can use that volume to launch VMWare Fusion.

And in response to Chris who said: "I really don't see what all the hype is over apple computers. Everything you seem to mention can also be done on windows"

I can tell you one thing Windows can't do and that is RUN THE MAC OS. The whole point of him getting the Mac was so that he could test in BOTH operating systems NATIVELY. You can't do that on a Windows PC. It's incredibly helpful when doing web design.

David Rojas said on November 16, 2008

I've been a linux user for a very long time, but I was lacking tools like photoshop. Last week I switched to a new macbook and i'm very happy with it. No more hardware-compatibility issues, and everything working fine out of the box. I'm gladly surprised you switched to mac too, I was always thinking "this Snook guy is like the best all-in-one guy in web development, if only he didn't use windows..." :-P

Jonathan Snook said on November 16, 2008

Alex, to clarify, I only used Thunderbird to convert Outlook mail over to Mail.app. I haven't used it beyond that. I'm currently using Mail.app. My issue with them is just access to features that I had gotten used to with Outlook. For example, if I get invited on a calendar event, I should be able to move the event in my own calendar. With iCal, I can't. With Outlook, I am presented an option to email the inviter. For email, I found Outlook was easier for flagging stuff and creating to-do items from emails. I'll be interested to see how well Entourage fits the bill.

Thanks for the tip on Boot Camp.

Rick said on November 16, 2008

Textmate is great piece of software, only thing it lacks is FTP support (as in how Coda works).

I would recommend Navicat for the mysql client.

The best PM out there is Daylite, though might be pricy for a freelancer.

When you get the dough, get a mac mini or something like that, and install leopard server on it. Made my life easier dealing with designers, developers, etc. Got daylite, versions, svn server, test server for all our sites, and a bunch of other stuff, etc.

I switched last year and am so glad I did from a web developer / designer standpoint.

CS3 sucks on mac though (it's really slow). Really want to get cs4 but can't at the moment.

If you use svn clients, Versions and Cornerstone are pretty sweet.

OnyX will keep your system clean.

Check out ScreenFlow for screencasting. Gets better every release too.

THEODIN said on November 16, 2008

Its true what they say, once you get a mac, you never look back. The only real let down is the lack of decent FTP clients, although Cyberduck is ok, I would strongly advise getting your hands on Coda, from panic, thats when life gets realy good!

Chris said on November 16, 2008

I'm surprised you're not opposed to having a 250MB HDD ;)

Nice review though, I'm holding out for the technical refresh that's sure to come within the next year.

Terrence said on November 16, 2008

I'm glad you are trying out iWork. I have it, and I like it...sometimes. I really like using Pages instead of Word. Numbers vs. Excel is not as easy of a call. Excel still kind of rocks in an indescribable way. And everybody loves Keynote. Let us know what you think of the three apps, when you get a chance to try them out.

Zvi Band said on November 16, 2008

I also recently switched to a MBP, after being a hardcore PC user (so much so I refused to help out my grandparents with their Mac), and have not looked back since.

I would also throw in my support for Coda. That, and Transmit, are great pieces of Mac software.

Prashant said on November 16, 2008

Nice review. I also switched to a Mac around 2 years ago and don't regret it at all.

I suggest you don't use Mail.app because it's very unstable, I have a MacBook Pro w/ 4GB RAM and it always freezes for no reason, it can get frustrating when your typing an email. I personally would stick to Thunderbird, it works great with no problems.

You might also want to checkout Parallels, that way you can have Windows on your Apple and also IE6 in order to test the sites you work on.

Rick said on November 16, 2008

I don't think Mail.app is bad. I've some most people that are used to how Outlook works struggle with it though. Prior to switching to a mac, I used Gmail's web interface solely. Because Gmail has a different philosophy in organizing mail (tag system instead of outlooks folder way), it was easy for me to switch to Mail.app.

If you're used to putting things in a bunch of different folders, than it's hard to get used to Mail.app. I have only one folder (besides the standards like inbox, drafts, etc.) called "Global". Everything gets put in there when I'm done. That way I only have to search in one folder for everything. I also use Daylite's email plugin....so Daylite organizes my emails according to projects, opportunities, meetings, etc. when they come in through Mail.app

grant said on November 16, 2008

Typo: 250MB 7200rpm

don't you mean GB?

I can't wait to get my iMac... I couldn't totally switch though, I'm going to be keeping my vaio laptop.

Steve said on November 16, 2008

If you're parked at a desk using AC most of the time I suggest pulling the battery and cycling it once a month or it will die on month 13 (heat fatigue is my guess). But then it's only $150 to replace. VMWare is magic, can't even imagine using anything else, setup two spaces - one for OS X and the other for Windows (full screen). Thunderbird w/tweaks comes close to Mail.app but on an IMAP connection it's to slow to tolerate. The gotta have accessory is http://www.raindesigninc.com/ilap.html (toss the cushion). The iLap keeps the system cool on the desk (longer life I expect) and it's great for cruising around the house. I was a PC for 20 years and my Mac Pro is hands down the most useful computer I have ever owed.

Patty said on November 16, 2008

I work as a graphic designer/prepress technician in the printing industry (as well as run my own web design business) and I understand your desire to purchase a MAC for testing, but I am a little disappointed that one of the reasons for your purchase was peer pressure or the need to feel "cool".

The fact that Mac has become such a status symbol is one of the reasons I prefer my PC (I do own both), and it's not even so much Mac towers as it is just the Mac book. Everybody has to have a Mac book because everybody else has one. If you don't have one...well then your just not very cool, and you are most certainly not a "real" designer because "real" designers use Macs. *rolls eyes*

All the essential programs that I need to design and code will work just as well on my PC as on my Mac, and when it comes down to testing if I really needed to test my websites on safari I would just install VirtualBox and viola! instant site preview in safari . (although I admit for my day job I have to have both a Mac and PC...due to the various file formats and fonts I deal with on a daily basis)

It reminds me too much of all things I hated about high school. It saddens me that the creative crowd that makes up our community has succumb to this mentality.

I refuse to be another brick in the wall! *hugs my PC*

~And I am a PC.

Jonathan Snook said on November 17, 2008

Patty: The being "cool" thing was a joke. Don't worry, I understand it's hard to tell facetiousness on the internet. I got a Mac because of the ability to do all my testing off one machine and to simplify my office setup. I've been a die hard Windows user for years and I don't really have anything bad to say about it. I got a laptop because I need the portability. I got a 15" because I wanted something smaller than the 17" and I got a Mac because of how well it all works together (such as that trackpad of awesomeness).

I'm not begrudging any Windows users and by all means stand tall and feel good about using it. It's a solid operating system. I never ran virus software and my laptop crashed once in the 3 years I had it. But to each their own. This is just my experience.

Nicolas said on November 17, 2008

Well, i'm about to switch too after 20 years of PC+MS. The iPhone is a really brilliant evangelist, it really made the difference.
Well done, Jobs.
So long, Balmer, i'll miss you (or not, who knows ? :)

NICCAI said on November 17, 2008

Coda + Versions + Beanstalk is really nice. I also had to remap the ctrl and cmd keys to get them more like windows. It makes moving between machines easier (I still need to). Like you, I'd say one of the biggest things for me was streamlining my set up. I replaced two machines with one, and that was huge.

Andy Kant said on November 17, 2008

I have one of the new MacBook Pro's as well, but I avoid the "Cult of Mac." Most of the people that sing Apple's praises and bash Microsoft every chance they get don't really know what they're talking about. Microsoft makes great products, and they will continue to make great products (and I'll continue developing .NET apps because C# is too sexy to ignore, Windows apps - I dislike ASP.NET). I bought my new Mac for the same reasons that Jonathan did - its pretty much the most productive environment that you could possibly have for web application development. Plus, as far as laptops go, Macs tend to be more reliable than most laptops.

Just run Outlook via VM in the background with Fusion/Parallels/VirtualBox, I guarantee that the resources that it takes up will be well worth it.

Richard Henry said on November 17, 2008

One of the things I love so much is that there are so many recognizable and interesting companies/indie developers making software, instead of a huge mass of faceless corporations or small-time crapware developers. The typical quality of the third party software was the final thing that made me switch from XP to OS X.

We have some really great companies making apps, like Panic, MacRabbit, and Delicious Monster, just to name a few. Apps like Cha-Ching and the just released Versions (an truly amazing SVN client) are so well designed (I'm not just talking about the eye-candy either) it makes my eyes water.

I'll also recommend MacRabbit's CSSEdit 2 if you're spending any significant amount of time doing CSS work these days; having a real-time preview of what you're doing as you type is actually amazingly useful and really speeds up your workflow. (http://macrabbit.com/cssedit/)

Hope you enjoy your new machine,

Patty said on November 17, 2008

I did assume you were being slightly facetious, but I also could understand if there was an inkling of truth to it as well. I have been in many situations where I got that weird look for having PC in hand after stating that I'm a designer.

I actually have a 17" MacBook Pro, I just dont take it with me anywhere. It's too big to lug around. I bought an Asus Eee 1000 for travel, and I love it.

I agree completely.

Oh and by the way... as I type this I see that Apple just released a firmware update for the trackpad issues on the new MacBook pro.

John MacAdam said on November 18, 2008

I'm glad to see you made the switch. You will not regret it. Also glad to see you are using Textmate. How have you enjoyed it so far?

Brandon said on November 18, 2008

Just came across your site on a google search. FANTASTIC DESIGN! This comment form is excellent. And I love the css.

Michael said on November 19, 2008

Hi Snook!

I love your work and happy to see you switch. :) I am curious how you've setup your environment. How do you test sites locally...did you setup vhost...etc. Could you please email me, when you have time, some pointers on setting up a Mac environment for development. Do you develop locally, then transfer to the server? Things like that. I really appreciate your time/work and tutorials.

Thank you,

George Huff said on November 21, 2008

Congrats Snook!

I laughed out loud at:

" I can finally feel cool when I go to a web conference and not be the loner with the Windows laptop. "

I remember you plugging away on that beast at SXSW. You said something about being fair & balanced when it comes to Apple/Microsoft.

Welcome to the Apple side, and as with any blogger's official "switch" post, this will get tons of traction.

Aaron Newton said on November 21, 2008

I switched to OSX about a year ago and I couldn't be happy. Had a very similar experience.

Might I suggest you check out iusethis.com and appfresh? You can see what popular and upcoming applications are in use by others. It also has two other killer features: 1) it'll scan all your apps and tell you which ones have updates. In most cases it can just install the update for you right there. 2) it integrates with iusethis.com so that if you have more than one machine (or you reinstall your OS) you can pull up appfresh and see which apps you haven't installed that you use.

Here are all the apps I use:

Some favorites:

Visor (a Quake-like console that slides down to give you terminal access)
MenuMeters (quick glance info on memory and cpu usage up by the sysclock)
Plex (a free mediacenter interface that blows me away every time I open it)
Fluid (turn web sites into desktop apps - I use gmail in a Fluid app as my main mail client - same for google calendar and other sites)

WD Milner said on November 21, 2008

Apple makes some attractive and capable products. They still represent, for me, an overpriced option, but then again so does much of the Windows world.

I moved my machines away from Windows years ago (except for a testing machine) to Linux and the BSD's and haven't looked back since.

Kyle Bradshaw said on November 23, 2008

Jonathan, congrats on finally switching! I love my Mac, I could never go back.

I just recently procured the same exact model MBP that you just picked up - I was coming from an older 17" MBP. The new MBP's are great.

I feel your pain with a decent MySQL client for OSX. Reminds me of a blog article I had previously written back in April. http://somedirection.com/2008/04/17/my-kingdom-for-a-useful-mysql-client-on-os-x/

Sequel Pro isn't a bad attempt, but it's definitely not ready for prime time.

I can understand your frustration with Mail.app and iCal, I've personally never used them. I transitioned completely to Gmail and Google apps a couple of years ago and I've been happy with the flexibility.

How do you like TextMate?

Chris W. said on November 24, 2008

I'm a PC.

Jeremy said on November 24, 2008

I recently switched to the new macbook pro and also love it. Though some seem to think that alot of people are switching to be trendy, I think you will find that most people are just wanting a better experience. I have Vista at home as well, but I'm MUCH happier and more productive on the Mac.

My only issue after two weeks has been that my external display doesn't like it when the macbook goes to sleep. I usually have to unplug it and replug it in. From what I gather Apple has a fix comming for that issue.

For those of you wondering about switching from PC to Mac versions of the Adobe suite, keep in mind that they do offer a cross sell option. It involves sending a Letter of Destruction saying you destroy your PC version, but then they'll give you CS4 for Mac. If you have CS3 and want to switch it, you will have to upgrade it to CS4.

Frank Topel said on November 26, 2008

I bought an iPhone and the one thing I can say is that it was my first Apple product, and definitely will be my last. Why? Because I feel strangled by Apple so massively I'm astonished you all cheer Apple for this gadget.

It forces me to use iTunes, the slowest and most unintuitively and intransparently designed piece of software I ever used (Windows Version). Beyond that, I haven't had that many system crashes in 20 years of PC experience as I've had with my iPhone in 4 weeks.

As long as Apple has such a dictatory approach of tieing it's customers, I'm definitely not interested.

Freedom means free software, free access, and being able to decide in which way you want to use your equipment. Windows doesn't offer this in every aspect, but compared to Apple, it's a freedom paradise. I guess I'll stick with Ubuntu Linux, running Windows in a Virtual Box.

For me, Mac OS X can go to hell as long as it can't legally be installed on the machine of my choice.

kOoLiNuS said on November 29, 2008

doh! another switcher here :-D

Hi Jon ... if you have to work on IE6 there's no need of an entire virtual machine since you can have it running thanks to the ie4osx project.

Also, the fact that people' switching all over the time, anytime will make you discover many "hidded" and beautiful pieces of software that will do whatever you like .... Coda, CyberDuck, ID3X, Cog, Fugu, MacFUSE and it's sshfs ... every each and now have a look on OSX I use this community to search something you need.

A last word on MS Office on Mac ... even if MacTopia site is somewhat more appealing than a standard MS website, even it their mac blog is interesting and joyful to read the actual product is a PITA ... at work we have it running from 2004 up to 2008 on four different MacBooks (Pro and not) and all have witnessed issues.

None of us is running Entourage, so I cannot say how it behaves with the iPhone (we've got a 2G and a 3G), but Entourage 2004 was the app that has collected the highest number of crashes on my machine.

Tim Gaden Hawk Wings is THE resource you have to digg into turning Mail.app in a powerful mail commodity.

(and sorry for the long comment!)

Jonathan Snook said on December 01, 2008

@Kyle: I like Textmate. It's a nice, quick, simple editor with nice features. I don't love the svn integration but it's good enough. I have Versions if I need something easier to use. Although I'm looking into git.

@Frank Toppel: I'm not concerned about free. I just want something that works well with my workflow and the iPhone along with the MBP have done just that. I certainly understand your point of view and respect you for it. No product is going to be perfect for everybody.

@Koolinus: I have used Crossover but running IE6 has been buggy. Having played with IE6, 7 and 8 now in VMware Fusion, I think I'll stick with that. I have heard of iusethis but haven't gotten around to signing up.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post. If you have any further questions or comments, feel free to send them to me directly.