The following guest post from Andrew Hall discusses some of the ways that Macs are actually a smart investment for attorneys:
Apple products have developed, over several decades, a reputation for being particularly expensive when compared to non-Apple systems. While this may be partially true, even now, there are many benefits to purchasing Apple computers that don’t necessarily make themselves clear until several months, or several years, after you purchase one.
For example, Mac OS X has far fewer security vulnerabilities than Windows-based systems. Because Apple’s market share is still considerably lower than Microsoft‘s, and because OS X is based on BSD, an outgrowth of Unix, vulnerabilities are revealed far less frequently and their consequences are far less dire; there has never been anything as troublesome as the major Windows-based worms (like Blaster or Sasser) released to bring down Macs. When a vulnerability is discovered, patches often see release very quickly and get delivered via automatic updates to ensure that systems are not brought down.
Additionally, AppleCare is a great value. Though the initial cost adds several hundred dollars within a year of purchase to the system, it extends your warranty to three years for both telephone support and hardware repairs, which would otherwise cost several hundreds of dollars. Failed display panels and motherboards can cost $600-800 out of warranty, but with AppleCare, those or any other hardware issues will be replaced within days of reporting the problem to Apple’s support, which is almost always fast and easy to work with.
Upgrading Mac OS X is also strikingly inexpensive. Compared to new versions of Windows, which often go for hundreds of dollars and require tedious activation processes upon changing hardware, OS X upgrades cost between $30 and $100 and have no tedious security systems to inconvenience you upon completing what’s already been a tedious hardware or software upgrade. If, several years down the line, you need to perform a reinstall, you won’t need to contact anyone to finalize it.
However, if you need to run Windows applications — or applications on almost any PC-based operating system — you have many ways to run them, making it easy to play games that require Windows to run or operate software that needs a specific hardware configuration. By using Wine or its professional cousin CrossOver, you can run almost any Windows application through emulation within Mac OS X.
If, for some reason, this doesn’t work, you can use applications like VMWare Fusion or Parallels Desktop to run almost any OS as a virtual machine, which will emulate every aspect of the operating system in a perfect reproduction. If you either need to test Windows-based software or run a business application with no Mac OS-based counterpart, this will almost definitely take care of any problems you would otherwise struggle with.
This does come with a reduction in overall system speed, though; to sidestep this, you can run Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 in Boot Camp, turning your Intel-based Mac into a computer capable of dual-booting operating systems. If, for example, you regularly play Windows-based games, you will likely need to do this. Regardless, the stereotype from the 1990s and 2000s that Macs have no software is almost totally incorrect in 2010.
The best thing about Macs as an investment, however, is the fact that the computers retain their value unbelievably well compared to PCs. Whereas even high-end PCs are often rendered almost valueless within a few years, many Macs, especially Mac laptops, will still be worth at least a third of their initial value several years later, making it easy to resell a functional system and easy to turn a profit on parts from one no longer working for users and third-party repair groups.
Andrew Hall is a guest blogger for My Dog Ate My Blog.