Sleek. Slender. Well-designed. Responsive to the touch. Fun to play with.
It's no wonder both my wife and I have fallen in love with her -- though this Apple iMac resides on Laurel's desk and mainly is her techno-toy.
Observe the lack.
Of cords, because the keyboard and Magic Mouse are wireless. Or of a desktop tower, because Apple crammed a 500 GB drive and the rest of the computer innards into the slim 21.5 inch LED display.
We'd change our dog's name to "Apple," but she already responds nicely to "Serena." Otherwise, we're steadily embracing all things Apple'ish. Our lives now are enhanced by a MacBook Pro laptop, the iMac desktop, two iPhones, and two iPods.
And I'm expectantly waiting for Apple to come out next year with a tablet computer that will double as an e-book reader. The offerings from Amazon (Kindle) and Barnes & Noble (Nook) don't turn me on.
Whatever Apple produces will.
I can say this with confidence after having spent the past few days helping my wife get her iMac up and running. Laurel has used a PC laptop for many years, but could not -- by any stretch of the imagination -- be called a computer savvy person.
Her primary strategy for staying on top of the not-so-wonderful world of Windows has been to yell, "Brian, come here! My computer is doing something weird."
Usually I could figure out the strangeness. Because I too had spent a lot of time dealing with the unlovable eccentricities of an operating system that (1) doesn't operate very well, and (2) doesn't deserve the name "system."
Apple products are marvelously Microsoft opposites. They simply work.
This was a central point of my "Why I love my Mac more than my PC" YouTube video that I put up about a year ago, as well as its follow-up. The videos have gotten about 17,000 views, plus numerous comments.
Here's a recent comment that I enjoyed. "Macs suck" is the attitude of many hardcore PC users.
first of all, macs suck and you dont know shit because youre old as fuck. Were you thre when they invented the phone? None of your videos matter anyways because youre probably gonna die soon because your so fucking old. dumbass
Well, I'm a happy dumbass when I'm using my Apple products. As is my wife.
Even though I get more of a thrill out of gadgets than she does, owing to my Y chromosome, I enjoyed seeing how pleased she was last night when she easily dragged a photo from her iPhoto collection into an email and sent it off to some relatives with a "Wow, my iMac is neat!" email message.
Laurel has never had a warm and fuzzy relationship with a computer. That's going to change now that she's in the embrace of her iMac. I can almost guarantee this will happen.
In no small part because Apple not only knows how to make quality hardware and software, but also is adept at selling and supporting its products. I extolled the virtues of the Apple Store in suburban Portland's Bridgeport Village when staff fixed my MacBook on the spot.
Laurel had a similar positive experience when she bought her iMac. For $99 she got a One on One membership for a year. This entitles her to unlimited training sessions in all things Mac'ish.
Plus, transferring her PC files was a breeze. She simply brought in her IBM ThinkPad to the Apple Store and her photos, contacts, web browser bookmarks, and documents were transferred over to the iMac for her.
Of course, Macs aren't glitch free. Every relationship, no matter how positive, has some low points.
Yesterday (Thanksgiving) I discovered that Apple Store staff must have entered an administrative password that they didn't tell Laurel about, because we couldn't figure out what it was when a software update asked for this.
Not wanting to wait a day to figure out the problem, I reset the password by using the OS X (Snow Leopard) installation disk. Fairly easy, but a bit irksome.
As was the setup process for a HP Photosmart C4780 printer that we got for $30 or something after rebates if we bought it along with the iMac. Seemed like a good deal, since the printer also scans and copies, and has a wireless option.
Many Apple Store reviews of this printer bemoan how difficult it is to install. I can testify to that, but this is mostly due to poor documentation. A sticker on the printer's box warns that the installation CD shouldn't be used if you have the most recent Mac operating system (10.6, or "Snow Leopard").
The sticker says that 10.6 has what's needed for the printer. Not really true. A basic printer driver popped up when I connected the Photosmart with a USB cable, but it couldn't scan and wasn't wireless.
Tip to any other confused C4780 buyer who is trying to install it on a Snow Leopard Mac: go the HP web site and download the software package for OS X v.10.6. Once I did that, installation was a snap.
All the features of the printer worked, including wireless connectivity. I was a completely happy Apple user again.
Which is the usual state of affairs when I'm using an Apple product.
(Another tip: the pull out keyboard drawer in the photo above cost $9.99 at IKEA. It looks good and functions well despite being amazingly inexpensive compared to other drawers Laurel considered.)