How to Switch Part Three: What Kind Of User Are You?

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By: switchtoamac at: 3:29 PM on January 6, 2006 | Comments (1)

Professional, Consumer, Prosumer, or Transitive?
Mac users generally fall into one of two primary classes, Professional or Consumer. There are however two additional user types to acknowledge, Prosumer and Transitive.  All four user types are the focus of this article as identifying your user type will help you choose your Mac and make the switch that much easier.  Based on your primary user type, Apple has hardware and software to cater to your computing needs and requirements. Apple currently offers six Mac models that can be customized to suit your unique style and needs. A benefit of purchasing a Mac is that the hardware and software are truly integrated, Apple designs both the hardware and the Mac OS X operating system.

Professional User
A Professional user is one whose career or hobby is centered around power, speed, and productivity. Professional users are often Photographers, Graphic Artists, Film Makers, Video Editors, Musicians, Software Developers, IT Professionals, Engineers, Scientists, Universities, Fortune 500 comapanies, and/or Governments. As a result, these users require powerful and customizable systems and are willing to pay top dollar to ensure performance and productivity. Many enterprises and companies purchase from Apple's Professional line of Mac hardware to run their core IT businesses systems.  Purchase a Mac Pro if you require powerful desktop performance or a MacBook Pro if you require powerful mobile performance.  If you're an organization or business, give some consideration to the XServe line.

Apple offers the following products under their Professional line:
Xserve systems function as servers and come with the Mac OS X Server variant of the Mac OX S operating system.  Beyond needing professional hardware, professional users require professional software. Apple's professional software includes the following:
  • Final Cut Studio - a suite of software and tools for video and audio production that includes:
  • Final Cut Pro - a digital nonlinear editing tool
  • DVD Studio Pro - DVD authoring
  • Motion - real-time motion graphics software
  • Color -color editing tool
  • Logic - Digital audio editing
  • Shake - Digital composition
  • Aperture - Digital photography management and editing
OS X's industrial-strength, UNIX-based core provides the features and underlying architecture that can be leveraged by Macs to deliver the computing power that professionals demand. The inherent Apple hardware and software integration gives professional users the performance and ease of use they need to be productive.

Many software vendors have professional software for the Macintosh platform such as Adobe, Macromedia, and Wolfram Research. Professional users will also use many of the applications and software listed in the Consumer user section below. A great resource to check out Apple's professional line of products and customers is at Apple's Pro site.

Consumer User

A Consumer user is one who's computing experience is centered around functionality, ease of everyday use and value. Consumer users are often those who use their systems to email, browse the Internet, listen to and organize photos and music, instant message with family and friends, and use a computer to work with documents.

A Consumer user will most often answer yes to several of the following questions:
  • Do you have a Digital Lifestyle?
  • Do you listen to music?
  • Do you make your own music?
  • Do you take photos with a digital camera?
  • Do you like to make and edit home videos?
  • Do you share your Digital Lifestyle with family and friends?
Apple Mac computers and the Mac OS X come bundled with a suite of applications that most computer users can leverage right out-of-the-box. Apple's iLife suite is a collection of software for music, photography, movies and DVD creation. iLife is made up of the following titles:
  • iPhoto - digital photo organization and editing
  • iMovie - home movie video editing
  • iDVD - DVD creation, integrates with iPhoto and iMovie
  • GarageBand - music recording and editing
  • iWeb - web site authoring tool
Mac OS X comes with several other applications and software that the consumer and all users will find useful (note that this is not a complete list):
  • Mail - e-mail application
  • Safari - advanced, secure, and safe web browsing
  • iCal - calendar management
  • Address Book - store contact information for friends and family
  • iChat - instant messaging and video conferencing
  • DVD Player - play and watch DVD movies
  • QuickTime Player - video and audio playback
  • iTunes - digital music and movie software that can be used to sync content to your iPhone and iPod.  It also allows you  to burn CD's.
  • iSync - Sync data and content on your Mac with your mobile devices
Apple offers the following hardware for the Consumer user:

Prosumer User
A Prosumer (PROfessional conSUMER) user doesn't quite fit into either the Professional or Consumer categories because a Prosumer is generally a hybrid of the Professional and Consumer user types. The Prosumer user is one who demands more from their system than the Consumer user but doesn't necessarily need to spend top dollar on a Mac. Prosumers are generally consumers that are closer to the professional user type than the consumer user type.  These users tend to do professional level work but don't really need the cutting edge systems that a professional demands.  Most often, these are more than just casual photographers, video editors, or hobbyists. In most cases, Prosumer users decide to purchase a Mac Pro, MacBook Pro, or the top of the line iMac.

Transitive User
As the name implies, a Transitive user is one who is making the transition to a Mac.  These users are utilizing Apple's Boot Camp software to dual boot their Mac into Mac OS X and Windows or a virtualization application to run multiple operating systems simultaneously.  This type of user is rapidly on the rise as more and more people are purchasing and becoming first time Mac owners.  These users are ones who are beginning to use OS X but still require Windows or access to their traditional operating system as they are undertaking the transition.  In many cases, these users still need access to another operating system because they need to run software that is not available on Mac OS X.  A Transitive user could also be one who is interested in test driving a Mac.  As a result, he or she will often purchases a low cost Mac such as the Mac mini (the lowest priced Mac) to leverage his/her existing monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

Switch To A Mac Guides

Be sure to visit the Switch To A Mac Guides for overviews, descriptions, and features of the non-server Macintosh models.  The Guides are also a great resource that can be used to facilitate the switch to Mac and Mac OS X.  Click on the following to see the complete Guides Archive.


  • January 19, 2006 - Added MacBook Pro and removed G5 from PowerMac
  • May 16, 2006 - Removed iBook and added MacBook
  • July 21, 2006 - Removed PowerBook
  • July 24, 2006 - Removed emac, Content revision
  • August 12, 2006 - Removed PowerMac and added Mac Pro, Content revision
  • September 8, 2006 - Content revision
  • March 22, 2007 - Added link to Switch To A Mac Guides
  • April 11, 2009 - Content revision
  • April 13, 2009 - added links to application guides

1 Reader Comments

I am a proconsumer.

I did not wish to purchase an iMac because I don't want an all-in-one. I want to be able to update my computer without being forced to change the monitor.

The Mini Mac does not suit my needs since its exandability it almost not existent. I think that it's overpriced for would it is becasue of its cute form factor.

Nor do I wish to purchase a Mac Pro. It's more than I need in almost every aspect including price.

If Apple would make a mini tower, with two drives, an independant vido card, and a minimal of expantion parts I would buy it. I think that many others would too. If done right it could be the most popular model in the family and really compete with the Wintel machines.

Mac user since 1990

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