3 min read

The Complete, Unvarnished, Slightly Biased Apple Buyer's Guide

Find out which Apple products and services are right for you, and how to get the most from them. An in-depth look at Macs, the iPhone, iPods, and more.
Apple is sexy. The past decade has seen Apple create a big bang with its iPods, while the Mac has been transformed from a niche product for artists into a serious tool for business professionals.

And there's no sign the company is cooling down. The recent introduction of the iPhone, and a new generation of iPods, seems likely to keep Apple in the lead for innovation for a while to come.

Why is Apple hot now? Well, the iPod has a lot to do with it -- it set off a music revolution. By integrating the iPod with iTunes software on the desktop, and the iTunes music store on the Internet, Apple made it easy for consumers to find the music they want and get it into a handheld device that was easy and fun to use.

The Complete
Apple Buyer's Guide

•  Desktops & Notebooks

•  Apple iPhone

•  iPod & iTunes

•  Windows Apps On Macs

•  14 Free/Cheap Mac Apps

•  Shopping & Support

•  .Mac Online Service

•  Apple & The Enterprise

•  Image Gallery

•  Desktop/Notebook Specs

•  Reader Poll: Apple's Role
   In Business

The iPod got people taking a second look at Macs. Throughout the 1990s, the Mac was progressively getting more unstable and falling behind Windows in capabilities. But the introduction of Mac OS X and the new iMacs late in the decade made the Mac fun and powerful once again.

The Mac took another big step forward in 2006 when it went to an Intel processor, ditching the PowerPC processors it had previously used. Not only were Intel processors faster and less expensive, but they also allowed the Mac to run Windows. People switching to Mac no longer needed to worry about losing access to their Windows apps.

Currently, Mac sales are outpacing Windows in the consumer market. The iPhone was the top-selling smartphone in the United States in July.

Millions of people are now looking to buy Apple products. Maybe you're one of them. Maybe you're a Windows user looking to switch to Mac OS. Or maybe you're an Apple veteran looking to upgrade. If you're looking for help in deciding whether, and what, to buy -- that's what this package of articles is for.

We'll give you an overview and suggestions on buying a Mac, iPhone, and iPod. We'll give you some tips on where to buy, where to get service, and tell you about cheap and free software to improve your Mac experience. We'll tell you why you might want to wait a month or so to buy your Mac, why you might not need Microsoft Office, and describe software that lets you run Windows applications on the Mac.

You also can check out our Image Gallery, compare all the features of Apple's hardware and software via our Desktop/Notebook Specs Chart, and take a poll on Apple's role in business.

Have fun!