The iMac is getting most of the press these days. With its radical design and Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ proclamation that it is “the best thing we’ve ever done” and “the ultimate digital hub,” it’s no wonder that the revamped pro line, which includes a dual processor 1 GHz system, sometimes comes across as the ignored older brother of the Mac family.
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However, the pro line, particularly the dual 1-GHz processor system (
see our review ), can offer the “ultimate Mac experience,” Todd Benjamin, Apple’s product manager for the Power Mac line, told MacCentral. Living a “digital lifestyle” is something that many pro Mac users have been doing for years, he said. Now it’s trickling down to the consumer level, and the new iMac and Apple’s “i-apps” are making this easy, he said.
“However, the Power Mac G4 is the digital hub for the professional user,” Benjamin said. “It’s designed for pro users and designed as the ultimate powerhouse for digital workflow, for faster and more high powered systems, and for those who want the highest quality output as quickly as possible. The Power Mac G4 is the digital hub for people who do TV quality type of video and do things like put together TIME magazine. For them, time is money.”
The Power Mac G4 also lets pro users branch off into other areas. Since it makes it possible to accomplish a “robust group of things” in the professional space, creative types can experiment in areas beyond their normal niches.
“An imaging person can move into 3D, for example,” Benjamin said. “A pro user can grow and explore new areas, as well as excel in the ones they specialize in.”
Of course, everyone knows that heavy duty Photoshop, DVD Studio Pro, and Final Cut Pro users, as well as those into serious number crunching, DVD video encoding, and processor-intensive scientific analysis are natural customers for the Power Mac G4. And it’s the system of choice for creative professionals in design/publishing, Web publishing, audio/music, graphics/imaging, and higher education. But when it comes to the digital hub, who besides pro users should seriously consider a Power Mac pro system instead of the highly touted, critically praised iMac?
Certain prosumers, that’s who. What’s a prosumer? According to Benjamin, it’s a user who not only consumes the latest in audio, video, imaging, and gaming technology, but may also be a creator of media, as well. In fact, prosumers may be as skilled as industry professionals in their use of various software tools. New-to-the-public features such as DVD authoring are gotta-have features for such users.
“The prosumer is looking for a high-quality, high-power computing experience that includes the latest audio, video, and imaging capabilities,” Benjamin said.”They want cutting-edge gaming and outstanding display quality, among other features.”
Benjamin said that, for prosumers, the Power Mac G4 includes these features: Processing power to run cutting-edge applications for audio, video, imaging, and gaming; PCI and hard disk expansion for adding specialized processing and optimizing system performance; High-performance graphics cards and displays for precision work and powerful play.
“At Apple, we think of the prosumer as someone who might be interested in one of the creative fields at more than a strictly amateur level,” Benjamin said. “Someone serious about, say, film photography. may be interested in using Photoshop and having the right equipment to help him see what he can do at a high amateur level. Prosumers are also those who are looking for the ultimate computing experience or like to have the latest and greatest. They’re like bikers who may have $5,000 racing bikes in the garage, not because they do use it for a living, but because they’re serious amateurs.”
So in the prosumer space, how do you determine whether you need a new iMac or a Power Mac G4? Benjamin said you should consider three factors: whether you’ll need a display larger than a 15-inch flat screen, whether you need state-of-the-art graphics processing, and whether you need PCI expansion capabilities. If you need or want any of these, you need a Power Mac, he said.
The Power Mac G4 also gives small-business workers the power to run their businesses by providing front office and back office capabilities for a total small-business solution. Back office solutions for the Power Mac include accounting, database, customer relationship management, marketing, backup, utility, and support software. Apple says the Power Mac G4 offers small-business workers these advantages: The latest in processors, graphics, and display technologies that support leading creative and scientific applications that are the core of their business; Robust expansion, networking, and connectivity that allow the Power Mac to grow along with the business; Mac OS X support for back office applications for running a business, managing a network, and serving files.
Then, of course, there are bragging rights. And nothing makes for Mac speed envy like showing off your dual gig system.