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6 things you need to know to switch your business from PC to Mac

Paul Mah | Nov. 6, 2013
Making the switch from a PC to a Mac for your work machine? The following recommendations will help make the transition a painless one.

Boot Camp is an OS X system utility system designed to help carve out a separate partition for installing Microsoft Windows. Once set up, users have the choice between booting into Windows or OS X. Of course, while installing Windows on a MacBook guarantees the ability to continue using your Windows apps, booting into Windows on a regular basis does somewhat defeat the purpose of making a switch to the Mac in the first place.

In most cases, setting up a Windows virtual machine on the OS X laptop may be a more viable alternative. Virtualization software options for OS X include Oracle VirtualBox, Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion. VirtualBox is a credible free product, though its OS X-centric integration and overall capabilities significantly lag behind the commercial Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion software.

The recently released Parallels Desktop 9 and VMware Fusion 6 introduced enhanced performance, improved peripheral support and better Windows 8 support. Both offer advanced capabilities, though Parallels 9 may be more user-friendly to beginners. Importantly, both come with the ability to "skin" Windows apps from the virtualized Windows environment so they appear alongside OS X apps on the Mac desktop. (This functionality is called Coherence in Parallels and Unity in Fusion.)

Here's what Microsoft Outlook 2013 looks like running in Coherence mode alongside the Mac version of Evernote.

3. Research MacBook Options (Luckily, There Are Only a Few)
Once you have the requisite software apps, the next step is purchasing a MacBook laptop. Luckily, Apple's simplistic device lineup makes the MacBook purchasing processing relatively straightforward.

Laptops are categorized into the lightweight MacBook Air, the more powerful MacBook Pro with Retina display and the older non-Retina MacBook Pro family. MacBook Air laptops are available in 11- and 13-inch models, while the MacBook Pro is available in 13- and 15-inch models. Users who prefer portability will find the 11-inch MacBook Air or 13-inch MacBook Air or MacBook Pro models appealing; power users will want to stick to the MacBook Pro models.

It's worth noting that the RAM on the newer MacBook laptops isn't designed to be upgraded. Additional RAM may be soldered on, though. Some aftermarket vendors offer solid state drive (SSD) upgrades, along with the necessary proprietary connectors, though these tend to be prohibitively expensive. Ultimately, you would do well to select the desired RAM and storage options when ordering your MacBook.

4. Make the OS X Switch; Take Your Time - But Hurry Up
While it may be tempting to make a gradual transition to OS X, going "cold turkey" is probably the best way to get up to speed on any new platform. Avoid making the switch on the eve of an important deadline, for obvious reasons, or on the day before an overseas work trip.


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