Mac buyers guide

Everything you need to know before choosing the perfect Mac Pro, iMac, Mac mini, MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air!

Everything you need to know before choosing the perfect Mac Pro, iMac, Mac mini, MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air!

Apple has a fairly simple product grid when it comes to their personal computer line-up, the Mac. You can get a laptop or desktop. If you want a laptop, you can choose between the ultra-portable MacBook Air and the ultra-powerful MacBook Pro. But you can also choose between a couple of different screen sizes each, along with optional increases for RAM, CPU, storage, and more. If you want a desktop, you can choose between the entry-level Mac Mini, the all-in-one iMac, or the workstation-like Mac Pro. But again, the their are options for just about everything. Which one should you get, and which options with it?

Enter iMore's 2014 Mac buyers guide. If you need help deciding what to buy, we've got your back. And if you've already decided, just bookmark, email, Facebook, or Tweet this so we can help your friends and family and you can get on with enjoying your new Mac!

iPad Air vs. MacBook Air: Which Apple ultra-portable should you get?

iPad Air vs. MacBook Air: Which Apple ultra-portable should you get?

Apple now has two products designated as "Air", the MacBook Air, updated last June with the latest generation Intel Haswell processors, and the brand new iPad Air, introduced in October with a custom Apple A7 chipset. Both are ultra light, super thin, and incredibly long lasting, but one has a keyboard and runs OS X and the other a multitouch and iOS 7. Both can be absolutely killer on a plane, in an office, or around the house. But which one is better for you?

MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro: Which laptop should you get?

MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro: Which laptop should you get?

You've decided that it's time to replace your aging Mac with one of Apple's new laptops. Or maybe you're jumping onto the Mac platform for the first time. MacBook Airs, MacBook Pros, MacBook Pros with Retina displays - there are a lot of options. They run the gamut of prices, too. What do you get for your money? And which model is best suited for you?

MacBook Air 11-inch vs. 13-inch: Which ultralight laptop should you get?

MacBook Air 11-inch vs. 13-inch: Which ultralight laptop should you get?

We've already compared MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros, and you've decided that the svelte MacBook Air is right for you. Now you have to decide which MacBook Air is right for you - the smaller 11-inch model or the larger 13-inch version? Also, what configure to order options make the most sense? Let's have a look.

MacBook Pro with Retina display 13-inch vs. 15-inch: Which powerful Mac laptop should you get?

MacBook Pro with Retina display 13-inch vs. 15-inch: Which powerful Mac laptop is right for you?

You're going to buy a new Mac, and you've narrowed your choice to one of Apple's new sleek, speedy MacBook Pros with Retina display. Seems like an easy choice, doesn't it? Just decide which screen size is right for you: 13-inch or 15-inch, then pull the trigger. Not so fast. There are other considerations you should make, as well. Because screen size isn't the only different between the two machines. This guide should help you iron out some of them.

Mac mini vs. iMac vs. Mac Pro: Which Apple desktop should you get?

Mac mini vs. iMac vs. Mac Pro: Which Apple desktop should you get?

Not everyone needs or wants the portability a Mac laptop has to offer. For everyone else, Apple makes desktop models, ranging in price from Apple's cheapest system to its most expensive. They run a wide gamut of performance and ability, so let's take a look and see what might be best for you.

Mac mini: Which entry-level options should you get?

Mac mini: Which entry-level options should you get?

At $599, the Mac mini is the entry-level Mac computer. It's $400 less than the next least expensive system, the MacBook Air. It's also a step behind other Mac models because it hasn't yet been refreshed with the Haswell microprocessors or faster Wi-Fi that other Macs have gotten in 2013. But that low price tag and older processor don't make the Mac mini unworthy of consideration: It's still a powerful little computer that's very flexible for many different uses, from general-purpose desktop machine to media server to full fledged file server. Let's have a look at the different configurations to make sense of what Apple's offering.

21.5-inch iMac vs. 27-inch iMac: Which all-in-one desktop Mac should you get?

21.5-inch iMac vs. 27-inch iMac: Which all-in-one desktop Mac should you get?

iMac is an incredibly elegant flat panel all-in-one design that has gotten progressively thinner over the years as Apple has done everything it can to get the computer itself out of the way of the computing experience. Within the iMac product line, however, there are a lot of options to consider, so let's take a look at what Apple is offering.

The New Mac Pro: What options to Apple's high-end Mac should you get?

The New Mac Pro: What options to Apple's high-end Mac should you get?

First previewed in June at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), the new Mac Pro is a game changer. It's a complete reimagination of what a high-end workstation Mac looks like - no longer a giant monolithic tower system with gobs of internal expandability, the new Mac Pro takes up one-eighth the desktop space of its predecessor. It does so by working with a unified thermal core: looking at the Mac Pro without its cover on, you'll see three circuit boards assembled into a triangular wedge, ribbed internally with a shared heat sink; a fan draws in air to cool the components, and heat rises out through the top.

As impressive a piece of industrial design as the Mac Pro is, it's what's running inside that's truly amazing, though, so let's take a look and figure out how you can best configure your new Mac Pro.

CPU vs. RAM vs. SSD: Which Mac upgrades should you get?

CPU vs. RAM vs. SSD: Which Mac upgrades make the most sense?

You've decided what Mac to get, but firing up the Apple online store web site presents you with myriad customization options. You can often have a faster or more capable CPU installed, have more RAM put in, or upgrade storage capacity. Which upgrades make the most sense?

Need more help?

There's a lot to consider, and if you still have questions, if there are still details you want to work out, we have fantastic information pages that are always kept up-to-the-minute, and amazing community forums filled with experts for you to talk with. Bookmark them and check back often! And once you've decided, let us know in the comments - which Mac did you get and why?

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Apple announces new iMac with astonishing 5K Retina Display

Much rumored, Apple has now made the iMac with Retina Display official at its special event out in Cupertino. Packing an astonishing 5K 5120x2880 resolution display, the new iMac is insanely slim, and boasts the worlds highest resolution computer display. At that resolution, the new iMac can boast 7x more pixels than HD and 218 PPI. Which for a 27-inch computer screen is incredible. And overall the new display is equally bright, but with a more efficient LED backlight and uses 30% less power overall.

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New rumor claims Retina iMacs are in the late testing stages at Apple

A new rumor from 9to5Mac claims that Apple could be close to launching a Retina display version of its all-in-one iMac, stating that several unnamed sources have used the product and that it is in the late testing stages.

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Microsoft's new Mac vs. PC hyperbole

Microsoft has three new Surface Pro 3 ads out today that, as promised, switch from trying to attack the iPad to trying to attack the MacBook Air. Given how heart-breakingly, bank-breakingly unsuccessful Surface has been to date, it's hard not to sympathize. It's also hard not to think repeating past strategic failures will only result in more failures. Instead of shifting from iPad to MacBook, maybe Microsoft should shift from attacking Apple to attacking the PC market?

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What's your next dream Mac? Find out!

There are rumors of a Retina MacBook Air, of a 4K iMac or 4K Thunderbolt 2 Display, we're still waiting on the Haswell Mac mini and some even hold-to-hope for an iOS MacBook Air that can detach into an iPad Air. So far this year Apple has only done minor processor bumps and price cuts to their existing Mac lineup. But what happens when we get whatever is coming next? That's why we asked the question — What's your next dream Mac?. Well, here's what you answered!

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What's your next dream Mac? [Poll]

What's your next dream Mac?

The Mac is doing great these days, not only growing faster than the PC market as a whole, but growing where the PC market pretty much isn't. The craziest thing about that is this — Apple hasn't even introduced new consumer-level Macs for a while. Last year's new Mac Pro aside, all we've gotten lately is spec bumps on the existing favorites. Part of that is due to Intel's continued delays of the next-generation Broadwell chipset, but whatever the reasons it feels like the already successful Mac line could get even more successful when new models start to hit the stage. So, here's the question — which next-generation Mac are you most looking forward to?

The fabled Retina MacBook Pro, whether it's a beefed up MacBook Air or a slimmed down Mac Pro, seems to be hit hardest by the Broadwell delays. We keep hearing it's coming but it still hasn't arrived. It would have higher density than the current 13-inch MacBook Air, but likely at the expense of its tremendous battery life. It would be lighter than the current 13-inch MacBook Pro, but likely at the expense of its sheer power. Could it be the best balance of both worlds?

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China may have banned government purchases of iPads and other Apple products

A new report from Bloomberg claims that the government of China has excluded a number of Apple products, including the iPad, the iPad mini and a number of MacBook laptops from a list of approved products that can be purchased with public money.

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Save big today on huge SSD storage upgrades for your MacBook

Transcend's SSD upgrade kits for the MacBook Air or Retina MacBook Pro are seeing substantial discounts today on Amazon. The upgrade kits swap out the modular SSD board on older versions of the laptops (alas, they're not compatible with the more recent models) and uses your original SSD as a slim external USB drive. But the deals are only good for today, so if you've been stymied by your limited storage space, you should take a look now.

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Modbook Pro X turns the Retina MacBook Pro into OS X tablet... for a price

Modbook is back, and this time they're taking their tablet converting-ways to the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro. Modbook has for several years been converting MacBooks into the OS X tablet that Apple has so far not released to the world. They've converted the old white MacBooks and the last generation MacBook Pro. Their attention now has been turned to the Retina MacBook Pro, but they're taking to KickStarter and making things a bit different than before with the Modbook Pro X.

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Like the MacBook Air stickers in Apple's new ad? Here's where you can get them!

Apple's new MacBook Air ad shows off a ton of stickers that can be used to give your, in some cases well-loved, Mac some custom, cartoon, cultural, or just plain crazy flare. So, if you see one that catches your attention, that you think would look simply smashing on the back of your MacBook Air, where can you get it?

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Apple's new ad proclaims the MacBook Air is 'the notebook people love'

The MacBook Air is a pretty awesome piece of equipment and Apple knows it. A new commercial has hit the airwaves and it proclaims the MacBook Air is the "notebook people love". While it might not be the preferred laptop in Apple's lineup for everyone, those who have one generally don't hesitate to share how much they love the MacBook Air.

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