In Short

In 1984 Apple changed the world when it introduce the first Macintosh, a compact computer in an all-in-one beige box with an attached black and white display. Billed as "the computer for the rest of us," the Macintosh introduced the general public to the graphical user interface and the mouse.

Over the years the Mac's popularity has waxed and waned and waxed again. In the late 1990s Apple hit its stride again with the iMac, then moved its operating system forward to the modern age with OS X in 2000. Since then it's been going gangbusters: the Mac continues to sell very well, in fact selling better than the PC, outpacing PC sales quarter to quarter, consecutively, for years. The Mac has been slowly inching up its marketshare as more and more customers who buy iPods, iPhones and iPads decide they've had enough with their PC compatible computers and want a Mac.

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Apple divides the Macintosh up into two proximate families: laptops and desktops. The laptop line includes the ultra-light, ultra-portable MacBook Air and the more powerful MacBook Pro, both with and without Retina display β€” the first Mac to have such a screen.

The desktop line includes the tiny Mac mini, a versatile little machine that's equally suited for entry-level use, first time Windows switchers, media mavens looking for a home theater PC and businesses looking for a workgroup server.

Then there's the elegant and slim iMac, Apple's famed all-in-one, now one of Apple's fastest computers, equipped with quad-core processors and optional fast Fusion drives that combine SSD and conventional hard disk for maximum performance and capacity.

Rounding out the Mac line is the immensely powerful Mac Pro. Despite its tiny size - one-eighth the volume of its predecessor - the Mac Pro is a powerful workstation-class computer, designed from the ground up to run as fast as it possibly can, with up to a twelve-core processor, twin workstation-class GPU cards, and an all-solid state storage architecture that has twice the bandwidth of older systems.

All new Macs currently run OS X 10.9 Mavericks.

Regardless of whether you need portability or power, a tiny workstation or a giant graphical behemoth, Apple has a Macintosh model that suits your needs.