The Joys of a new iMac
The thing with having a new iMac to replace one you been using for six years is that it doesn’t too long at all before it doesn’t seem that fantastic and different. You soon get used to the extra speed, the extra space available on an internal SSD. You soon get used to the retina quality screen. You could almost say that by the time you set everything up and had all the hassle of converting all your old data to work perfectly on the new computer, everything is a little bit old hat. However, I have the secondary screen connected to the new iMac as before and I can see there is a huge difference. With the new iMac retina screen I can’t see the pixels at all. When I move an application that looks absolutely beautiful on the iMac built in screen it looks kind of terrible on the old-fashioned non-retina. The old iMac screen definitely looks a little bit fuzzy. I could run another 5K screen or two 4K screens alongside. It would be like computing on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise.
How well does the DragonDictate now?
The text is appearing on screen quicker before. It may even work better after I add the extra RAM memory to the computer. For the moment though, I’m extremely pleased with how DragonDictate is working on my new iMac. The faster processor along with a built-in SSD drive seems to be making a massive difference. That’s with the 8GB of RAM in the machine I have in the iMac as it arrived here from Apple. Could be even better when I get 40GB of RAM to play with.
Topaz Impression is now working
The Topaz Impression application was updated in the middle of last year to version 2. Ever since then I haven’t been able to use it to manipulate my photos and turned them into artistic renditions. There are all sorts of filters which will try to replicate paint strokes and colours as used by various artists. You have a large variety of settings available to create your artistic pieces. There are sliders to twiddle with, left, right and centre. It’s an amazing piece of software to use and abuse. I can also export out to iCloud Drive or to Dropbox so I can access them and work more in my favourite artistic iPad applications. Applications such as Affinity Photo for iPad, Pixelmator for iPad, Procreate or iColorama.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing migrating to the new iMac
I needed to upgrade iTunes as part of the movement of data from the old iMac to the new one. After the computer had been running, for some reason rather it didn’t want to quit iTunes. I had to do a force quit. It must have been a glitch somewhere because using iTunes today I had no problems either using it or quitting. Still makes me wonder if I should have done a completely clean install.
The Magic Keyboard is taking a bit of getting used to. I like that it is thinner and much tidier on the desk. There is a slightly different arrangement of the arrow keys which seems odd right now. The top row – The function keys are all full size now, no difference in usability though. The keys are quite different in the way they feel as you are typing. I suppose I will get used to that in time also. Besides, I do like to dictate as much as possible, so the keyboard difference is not that important to me.
Then there is the new Magic Trackpad with four sensors under the surface to detect how much pressure, as well as where you’re tapping or clicking. This doesn’t have any movement for giving a click, but has the same sort of mechanism as we find in the iPhone. There is a small motor inside the device which gives the illusion of a click. I had to set up the Magic Trackpad so it responded to the taps in the same way as I had the old one setup. I was having some trouble in getting it to select and move items. So I’ve been fiddling with a couple of the settings to make it work for me. It doesn’t help that I pinched a nerve in my hand and I can’t feel the end of my pointing finger. In the Finder with a normal press it selects the file so you can move it or do whatever you want with it. Force press on the file name and you get to change the name of the file. In list view I have found that to select multiple contiguous files it is best to select the first and then use the shift key and the arrow keys to grow the number of files selected. Or change to the icon view and then draw a marquee selection around the files.
Overall view of the 2017 iMac after a few days
The first point to make is I don’t have any buyers remorse. It’s an expensive computer, but I expect to get a huge amount of use out of it over the next 10 years or so. I also work with the iPad Pro 12.9 inch model and it’s amazing how much serious work I get done with an iPad! I’m full believer in using the right tool for the job and a combination of Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad and a desktop computer is unbeatable. I can put data into my Apple based computer system and it’s there to use in whichever device in all sorts of combinations of applications. In the past, an iMac due to its power compared to the mobile devices would have been the hub of such a system. I look upon it as just one part of the whole. It’s there to provide me with a large screen experience and access to the best dictation software. It’s a shame that DragonDictate is not properly available to use on iOS.
The iMac is stunningly beautiful and looks completely gorgeous on my desk. I love it. After using desktop computers for several years it’s only natural to feel a certain affinity to sitting at a desk with an iMac. It’s easy to work with multiple applications all open at the same time spread across multiple screens. However, I am getting used to the single screen experience you have with an iPhone or iPad. There is the possibility of working with pairs of applications in the split screen mode on the iPad. Improvements to the operating system in iOS 11 will give us drag-and-drop between applications and make it even more useful. The iMac 2017 model with the i7 processor, 1 TB SSD and soon to have 40 GB of RAM is a more or less do everything computer (32 GB RAM on its way now) . Working on video editing, photo editing and writing using DragonDictate will be the mainstay of the work it does. Having the large amount of RAM will mean I can also run other applications at the same time for a complete computing experience.
Will this be the last Mac I ever buy?
The last iMac gave me six years of service and has been passed on to my wife and I expect for it to continue another four or five years. This iMac I expect to last just as long. The improvements to iOS and the touchscreen personal computing you get with iPhones and iPads could mean this will be the last Mac I ever buy. I am nearly 60 years old now and my computing requirements will certainly be different in 10 years time. I’m a Techno Grandad and I’m proud to be good and geeky. It’s important to me to make the best use of technology to have a technologically enhanced lifestyle. It’s great to be able to do stuff with computers that make you feel like you’re living in the future already. Who knows what’s coming in the future of computing over the next 10 years. What I do know is that this top of the range 2017 iMac will keep me ahead of the curve for quite some time. The iMac Pro which is coming soon is specifically engineered for computing professionals of a certain type. I will not be lusting after one of these magnificent machines when they become available. Nor will I be interested in whatever Apple comes up with to replace the waste can style Mac Pro. The only thing which could tempt me to a more powerful computer would be if there is a specialised software available requiring such a machine. I think it is safe to say this will probably be the last Mac desktop computer I’ll be buying.