My first Mac

Apple made a page where you can tell them about your first Mac. People around me tend to label me as an Apple fanboy. While this might have been true a couple of years ago, I’m much more pragmatic now. I still think that Apple makes a lot of things right, be it in design, marketing, hardware, software etc., but they’re definitely not perfect. Just better than the competition. And by using only Apple products, I enjoy having all my data sync everywhere (almost) seemlessly. Some consider this digital lock-in, but I don’t care. And besides, there aren’t many alternatives. Anyways, back to how I got my first Mac.

Back in 2001, a good friend of mine was a real Apple addict. When I was about to buy my first laptop, he almost convinced me to get a PowerBook. I was still a little afraid of the lack of compatibility between Macs and Windows machines, so I settled for a Dell Inspiron 8100[1] instead. Laptops were freakingly expensive back then. I paid 2’400 USD, which at the conversion rate of 1.7 CHF/USD makes 4’000 CHF. Ugh!

Fast forward to 2003. My first Apple product was, as for a lot of people I think, an iPod. iTunes didn’t exist and you had to sync your music with Musicmatch. I spent quite some time ripping my 200+ CDs collection.

In 2005 I was visiting Alex in Hawaii. My Dell laptop was slowly (litterally) turning 4 and I was very tempted to get an iBook G4[2] at an Apple Store in Honolulu. There you have it, my first Mac. Nothing glamourous, an entry model 13" white laptop worth 999 USD, but I enjoyed it a lot. Having to switch from Windows XP to Mac OS X was no biggie. I remember after a couple of minutes usage showing Alex, who has been using Macs his whole life, that you could do right-clicks with the single-button trackpad of his iBook. Hehe.

I remember watching the Apple keynote in 2007 when Steve Jobs presented the iPhone. I couldn’t believe it. I almost thought it was fake. How could this thing be possible?! Sadly, the first iPhone was released in the USA only. I also skipped the iPhone 3G, because at the time I wasn’t yet ready to shove an inexplicable amount of money at the swiss carriers every month. So I went with an iPod Touch instead. It was magical. People who haven’t lived it can’t understand how huge the transition from Nokia dumbphones to touchscreen was. I also remember my cousin saying that he didn’t understand all the hype around the iPhone. “It’s just a damn phone!” he kept saying. Wrong! It wasn’t just a phone, it was a pocket-sized computer!

It was now 3 years since I bought my iBook, so it was time to get a new computer. Intel Macs had been around a while. I’ve been on laptops since 2001, and there was no reason to change that. I got a 15" MacBook Pro[3] because I thought I might do some gaming on it. It turned out I didn’t, and besides, it got stolen from my appartment in Geneva while I was in Montpellier. Thanks to my TimeMachine backups, I lost absolutely no data. Let that be a lesson to you, folks! With the insurance money, I bought a maxed-out black 13" MacBook, a.k.a. the BlackBook[4]. I finally never regretted my 15"er. Smaller was definitely better.

In 2009, I got my first iPhone, the 3GS. Carrier plans were still quite pricey, but I simply wanted an iPhone. Then things accelerated a bit. While on a medical leave, I went queuing in front of Geneva’s Apple Store to get the first iPad. I even made it on tv. Sorta. It was fun, but I wouldn’t do it a second time. One year after getting my first iPhone, I got a SIM-unlocked iPhone 4. That Retina screen was stunning!

I actually always wanted an 11" PowerBook. I just loved that form factor. So in 2011, I finally got an 11" MacBook Air[5]. I went for the entry model with the tiny 64GB SSD. I thought it would be a challenge to live with just 64GB of storage. Well it turned out it was a dumb idea. As the successor model had a couple of noticeable improvements like Thunderbolt, USB 3.0, a backlit keyboard, I sold my MacBook Air to get a new one[6]. This time though, I tuned it a bit with more RAM and a larger SSD. I also bought a Thunderbolt Display to plug it into. That’s my current setup.

Most recently I upgraded my iPhone to the 5, my iPad to the Mini Retina, and got an Apple TV. I think my Apple-ification is now complete.

Year Product
2003 iPod 10GB kept for nostalgia
2005 iBook G4 sold
2007 iPod Shuffle 1GB sold to Renaud
2008 iPod Touch 16GB (2nd generation) sold to Alessandra
2008 MacBook Pro 15" stolen
2008 MacBook 13" black sold to Fuego
2009 iPhone 3GS given to Katia
2010 iPad 1 16GB wifi kept for nostalgia
2010 iPhone 4 16GB lent to Aïsha
2011 MacBook Air 11" sold to Nora
2012 MacBook Air 11" in use
2012 Thunderbolt 27" Display in use
2012 iPhone 5 32GB in use
2013 iPad Mini Retina in use
2013 Apple TV in use

I also made a couple of Apple presents. An iPod Shuffle and a MacBook for Katia, an iPad 2 for Mom and an iPad Mini for Alessandra.

  1. Dell Inspiron 8100 (2001)
    4’000 CHF

    Processor Intel Pentium III 866MHz
    Display 15" 1600x1200
    Memory 256MB SDRAM 133MHz
    Graphics 32MB DDR 4X AGP NVIDIA GeForce 2 Go
    Storage 20GB
    OS Windows XP
    Network 56K modem, Ethernet, 11-Mbps Truemobile 1150PC Wireless PCMCIA Card
    Media Floppy Drive + 8X DVD Internal Drive
  2. iBook G4 (2005)
    1’300 CHF

    Processor 1.33GHz PowerPC G4
    Display 12.1" 1024x768
    Memory 512MB 333MHz DDR SDRAM PC2700
    Graphics ATI Mobility Radeon 9550 with 32MB of dedicated DDR SDRAM
    Storage 40GB ATA/100 4200 rpm
    OS Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger
    Network 56K modem, Ethernet, 54-Mbps AirPort Extreme (802.11g), Bluetooth 2.0
    Media DVD-ROM/CD-RW
    Ports 1x FireWire 400, 2x USB 2.0, VGA
  3. MacBook Pro 15" (2008)
    3’000 CHF

    Processor 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    Display 15.4" 1440x900
    Memory 2GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM PC2-5300
    Graphics NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT with 128MB of GDDR3 SDRAM
    Storage 120GB Serial ATA 5400 rpm
    OS Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard
    Network Gigabit Ethernet, AirPort Extreme (802.11n), Bluetooth 2.0
    Media 8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Ports 1x FireWire 400, 1x FireWire 800, 2x USB 2.0, 1x ExpressCard, DVI
  4. MacBook 13" (2008)
    2’200 CHF

    Processor 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    Display 13.3" 1280x800
    Memory 4GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM PC2-5300
    Graphics Intel GMA X3100 with 144MB of shared DDR2 SDRAM
    Storage 250GB Serial ATA 5400 rpm
    OS Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard
    Network Gigabit Ethernet, AirPort Extreme (802.11n), Bluetooth 2.0
    Media 8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Ports 1x FireWire 400, 2x USB 2.0, mini-DVI
  5. MacBook Air 11" (2011)
    1’140 CHF

    Processor 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    Display 11.6" 1366x768
    Memory 4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM
    Graphics NVIDIA GeForce 320M with 256MB of shared DDR3 SDRAM
    Storage 64GB flash
    OS Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard
    Network AirPort Extreme (802.11n), Bluetooth 2.1
    Media -
    Ports 2x USB 2.0, Mini DisplayPort
  6. MacBook Air 11" (2012)
    1’880 CHF

    Processor 2.0GHz Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz)
    Display 11.6" 1366x768
    Memory 8GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    Graphics Intel HD Graphics 4000
    Storage 256GB flash
    OS Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion
    Network AirPort Extreme (802.11n), Bluetooth 4.0
    Media -
    Ports 2x USB 3.0, 1x Thunderbolt