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’Tis the Season to Go Mac Shopping!

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The holiday season is here and it’s time to check in with our hardware and see if it’s going to last another year. So here are some tips to help you make a good decision on whether your old Mac is fine as is, needs an update, or it’s ready to be replaced.

Why would I need a new computer? This one works fine.

Alicia is fond of joking that “Computers age in double dog years.” In other words, 1 year in your life equals 14 in your computer’s life. That means that after about 5 years (age 70) your computer is getting ready for retirement. While it can still do most of what it has always done, it’s going to do it a lot more slowly. It also may have trouble with the new and improved.

Do you see a lot of spinning beach balls? You’re not supposed to see any! That’s one sign that you’re ready for a new computer.

What benefit will I get out upgrading my operating system?

OSX 10.9 Mavericks is out and we really like it. The upgrade is well worth it because it makes your computer faster and easier to use, and more functional.

There are hundreds of new exciting new features that aren’t in 10.6 Snow Leopard, and more subtle changes from 10.7 Lion and 10.8 Mountain Lion.

There is better iCloud integration including Reminders and Notes, and the new iBooks and Maps apps are great additions. Did I mention the new built-in Dictation feature? Expect a nice Tips and Tricks article about that next month!

And, since OSX 10.9 Mavericks is free, why not?!

Can I just upgrade to Mavericks? Do I need a new computer?

Mavericks is more memory intensive than previous operating systems, and older machines show their age by not being able to process as quickly. If you already have to sit and wait every time you click on something, this is just going to get worse when you upgrade.

If you are still running 10.6 Snow Leopard or have an older machine, before you upgrade to Mavericks you have to determine if it’s even possible for your computer to run it:

How much memory does my computer have? And what level is the processor?

To find out for your computer, click on the Apple menu in the top left corner of your screen and select About This Mac from the menu.

To go from 10.6 to 10.9, the minimum requirement for Memory (aka RAM) is 2 Gigs, but honestly, we recommend no less than 4 Gigs.

As for your processor, 10.7 and 10.8 said you needed an Intel Core 2 Duo or newer. Although this is still the case, Apple realizes that very few of us know that the Intel i5 and i7 processors are newer. So they now use a Supported Models list which gives you a model and year to compare to.

Here are the Supported Models that can run OSX 10.9 Mavericks:

iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
Xserve (Early 2009)
MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)

But that is not really much more helpful, is it? It’s hard to remember exactly I bought my computer! So here is how I can tell what Mac I have. Go to: http://support.apple.com/specs/ and click on the Browse By Product button. Then enter the Serial Number into the Search Tech Specs search field.

But wait… how do I find my serial number?

This part is pretty easy: head back to the Apple menu in the top left corner of your screen and select About This Mac from the menu again. In the pop-up, click the More Info button. There you can find your Serial Number and you can even highlight it, then cut and paste it into the webpage. Voilà, the model and year of your Mac.

So what are my options, since I do want to enjoy the latest and greatest Apple has to offer?

If you are just low on RAM, any Apple Store or Reseller can upgrade your memory. They can tell you how much it is going cost and help setup an appointment to install it. This option is not very expensive.

But if your processor is too old (and in my opinion, an Intel Core 2 Duo is too old, even though it will work), you only have one option since processors can not be upgraded…

I know you saw this one coming, but hey, it’s Christmas, and who deserves a new Mac more than you do?

Give me or Alicia a call. We’ll help you decide between a new slim and trim iMac, or a gorgeous Retina Screen Macbook Pro, or a petite and versatile Macbook Air. We can even order it for you and have it mailed right to your house!

Wait a minute, what about my iPhone and iPad?

iOS7 has had its critics, but from my point of view, the improvements outweigh any issues. But it does make older devices slow to respond, so here are some things to consider before upgrading to iOS7:

iOS7 does not work on the  iPad 1 and I would not recommend it on the iPhone 3GS or older. The iPad 2 can run iOS7 but some features go missing including AirDrop. There are mixed reviews concerning iOS7 on the iPhone 4, but my iPhone 4S is handling it just fine.

If you can afford to upgrade, the iPad Mini is a great device and less expensive due to its size. And the brand new iPad Air is getting rave reviews.

We hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season and we look forward to see everyone in class!

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