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Musings on Engineering (Apple and Pi)

So I’ve now been a Mac owner for the past year and half, if not a little more and it’s caused me to be laughed at, ridiculed and insulted. I have thick skin, I can let that all go because you pay your money and take your choices in life. My choice was to go Mac. And I wanted to mention one reason why I went this way.

Engineering.

I’m an engineer – again, my specialism suggests to other general engineers that I’m not. The fact I hold an engineering degree and have the same engineering mindset as them doesn’t seem to hold sway in their eyes but that’s for a different rant/story.

To me, the Mac’s (well, the iMac and Mac Mini) epitomise the meaning of engineering.

en·gi·neer·ing
noun
1. the art or science of making practical application of the knowledge of pure sciences, as physics or chemistry, as in the construction of engines, bridges, buildings, mines, ships, and chemical plants.
2. the action, work, or profession of an engineer.
3. skillful or artful contrivance; maneuvering.

The third section of the dictionary covers what I’m getting at.

The Mac’s (and the Raspberry Pi – I’ve just got one!) make great use of engineering. I’m constantly told that the Mac’s use ancient hardware (and PC fanboys don’t tend to take to kindly to be told they do to unless they update for every CPU upgrade etc) and are underpowered. Underpowered compared to what? Apples and Oranges aren’t the same fruit so you can’t compare them. Windows is bloated and has required upgrades to continue running nicely (remember the hardware jump required for Vista?). It seems a little odd that people are getting hung up on that. People called me a fool for getting a 3GS iPhone. Why? they’d say – this Android is better. Better? Apple have supported my phone and they’re just about to release the iPhone 5. And I’ve still had software updates, both apps and iOS over that time. My Android phone came with an old version of Android and was never updated – it also slowed down when I installed a custom ROM. My 3GS is running as fast as it was when I got it.

The Mac’s are aesthetically pleasing and well built – to say otherwise is to lie to yourself. The performance of the Mac Mini is fantastic. For the price and size, it’s an amazing machine. And it’s quiet. I’m constantly berated for having it by owners of PC’s. That’s power hungry, fan spinning, noise generating, PC owners. Ones that game. Yeah, so the Mac Mini prime purpose isn’t to game so why are you comparing it? These people obviously don’t value the engineering that has gone into the Mac Mini and iMac’s to make them as they are. Why would I want a huge electricity sucking heat generating monster of a PC to complete my day to day work and browsing on? I turn my Mac on, it’s silent – my housemate turns his machine on and immediately your deafened by the noise.

What I’m getting at, is that the engineering behind the Mac is far above that in a normal desktop and I admire that. A lot. The solution does not rely on raw power to do tasks and uses good engineering to ensure that the Mac remains cool without detriment to the end user, such as fan noise. And whilst Apple continue to have a consistently high engineering approach, they’ll have a customer.

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