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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What's on Peter's Mac dock right now!

Rene's recent What's on Rene's iPad right now! post inspired me to do my own, and as the resident Mac guy, I'm spinning mine in a slightly different direction — here's what's on my Mac dock instead.

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How to use multiple 4K displays with your MacBook Pro

I ordered a new Mac Pro but not early enough for it to arrive in a timely fashion. The three Dell UltraSharp 32 UltraHD displays I ordered to go along with it, however, arrived almost immediately. So, I did what any self-respecting geek would do — I connected them to my Retina MacBook Pro. Here's how I got it to work!

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The hottest ticket in town: Mac Pro delivery estimates slip to March

If you've been waiting to get a Mac Pro until stock is plentiful, it looks like you're going to be waiting a bit longer: Shipping estimates on the new Mac Pro through Apple's international online stores have slipped from February to March, according to MacRumors.

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Imagining a new Mac mini: What would you like to see?

The Mac mini is overdue for a major refresh. It's been well more than a year, and it's been several years since the Mac mini had any significant work done to it. That's got me thinking about what Apple could do it and probably should do to it, but I also want to hear from you - how would you like to see the Mac mini evolve?

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After nearly a year, Europe gets the Mac Pro again

It was March of 2012 when Apple stopped selling the old, huge Mac Pro in Europe, when the EU enacted a new set of electronic safety regulations and the poor old beast couldn't comply. Apple completely revamped the Mac Pro, of course, and the new unit went on sale on December 30th. Now it's beginning to ship to European customers, according to French language Mac site MacGenerations (via 9to5Mac).

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Get the most out of your MacBook Pro with the LandingZone DOCK

LandingZone has launched its new docking station for the MacBook Pro with Retina display, simply called DOCK. DOCK has everything needed for a complete desktop docking solution for your MacBook.

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Apple says no problem to side-mounting the new Mac Pro, but why?

In case you were wondering, you can use your new Mac Pro on its side, according to a recent post on Apple's Knowledgebase. But why would you want to? Read on to find out.

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OWC confirms new Mac Pro processor can be upgraded

Other World Computing and iFixit recently did teardowns of the new Mac Pro, revealing that the system's processor is socketed. That led to conjecture that the Mac Pro could be upgraded with a new processor, and now OWC has proved it.

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Mac Pro gets the iFixit teardown treatment

The new Mac Pro has gotten a teardown by the folks over at iFixit. Unlike some other recent Apple products, iFixit seems quite impressed with the repairability of the Mac Pro.

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Think the Mac Pro is pricey? Make one yourself, but get ready to pay a stiff PC tax

Can you build the PC equivalent of a Mac Pro and save yourself some money doing it? If Stephen Fung at Futurelooks's effort is any indication, then the answer is a resounding no.

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