New Mac operating system this summer

It’s been a while since I have done a Macs Only update, so I wanted to keep you in the loop.  I mentioned this info once before, but since it is getting closer to meaning something, I wanted to share it again.

Apple is releasing their new operating system — OSX 10.7 (code name:  Lion) this summer.

Unlike Windows operating system updates which are typically every 3 to 5 years, Apple has regularly gone on a 2 year cycle.  Also unlike Windows software revisions, new Mac operating system updates are basically essential.   Apple and other companies who make software for Apple will flat out tell you future updates or versions of our programs will not work with your old operating system.

Don’t read that the wrong way and think — OH NO, my Mac and and current software will stop functioning when Apple comes out with 10.7 this summer.  THIS IS NOT THE CASE.   It is future updates and revisions of that existing software that may not be compatible from that point forward.

My advice (same as a few months ago):   If you are planning on buying a new Mac in the next couple to 12 months, no need to upgrade.  If you are planning on sticking with your current Mac for more than 12 months (or perhaps using it in a meaningful capacity as an extra computer after you buy a new one),  YOU SHOULD PLAN TO UPGRADE.

Pricing for this upgrade:  Since Apple launched OSX some 10 years ago as their base operating system, new version have always run at $129 for one computer.  When a major upgrade came out in 2007, there was also a family pack (up to 5 Macs) that was sold for about $169 providing great value.

2009’s update of OSX 10.6 broke the pricing trend at $30 for one Mac and $50 for the family pack.  However, Apple made it clear that this was a deviation and not a new norm.

If you will be upgrading, plan on the 2007 costs.  You may be pleasantly surprised.

Who can upgrade:   All of you with Intel based Macs.   I think all of my Mac clients except for one or two have Intel based Macs at this point.   If you have a Mac that was sold before mid-2006, you cannot upgrade. These are known as Power PC Macs.

Difficulty of upgrade:   If you are running 10.6 now, there is a good chance you will NOT need the help of an expert.  However, if you are running OSX 10.5 or 10.4 — it is likely that you will need some assistance for the upgrade.   I expect that in that scenario we may be looking at a 2 to 3 hour process.

To see what version of OSX you are running:  Click on the Apple menu in the upper left of your screen and click About This Mac.   (Off topic:  Why can’t Windows make it that simple?)

Prior to upgrading:   DO YOURSELF A MAJOR FAVOR!!  Buy an external hard drive for your Mac, please.  Since 10.5, Apple has including a brilliant backup program called Time Machine that automatically backs up your data.   It is ideal in the situation of upgrading software.

Recommended model desktops:
(This is the one I use)

Recommended model laptops: