Mac Troubleshooting & Help

Mac: An Overview

The Mac is a staple in the computer world, and it is highly valued by all of those people who own one. If you are new to computers, then it can be difficult to weed out all of the inaccurate and biased information about Macs out there. This article is intended to be a general overview about Macs and their features.

Definition and Terms

First of all, what is a Mac? Mac actually stands for “Macintosh”, and it is a line of computer devices that is made by Apple Incorporated. This is the same company that brings you the iPhone, iPod, and iPad. There is a lot of lingo associated with Macs and computers in general, and it is important that you do not get confused by the terminology.

Application- An application, also called an “App”, is simply a software program that preforms a function. There are apps for everything these days. They can range from stock market apps to game apps for your entertainment.

Dashboard- The Dashboard is an application in the Apple Operating System that allows you to control and monitor all of your widgets in one place.

Operating System- The Operating System is the software that is fundamental to the function of Mac computers. There are various versions of OS X, which is what this operating system is called. It is analogous to the Windows operating system in PCs.

Widget- These are small scale apps that have reduced functionality. They are usually open on your dashboard all the time and give you information that you need quickly. For example, a weather widget can give you the current outdoor temperature continually on the dashboard.

USB- USB stands for Universal Serial Bus, and it is a port that allows you to connect different types of hardware to your Mac. The hardware can range from flash drives to keyboards.


A Short History

The origins of Macintosh computers can be traced back to the Macintosh 128k that was released in January of 1984. What was revolutionary about Macs is that they were very user friendly, and the average consumer could use them very intuitively. In the 90s, the Macintosh computer began losing sales to computers that ran on the Windows and Intel platform. Because of this, Apple introduced the iMac in 1998, which was an all-in-one computer that had great success. In 2001, Apple started making iMacs with CD-RW, which was a later introduction than PCs. In 2006, Apple transitioned to Intel microprocessors along with an aluminum physical architecture. MacBooks were also introduced in 2006 as Apple transitioned from the PowerBook line. Now, there are 5 Macintosh computer products marketed toward the casual consumer.

Information on Different Types of Mac Computers

Mac Mini is designed to be a compact version of a Macintosh desktop computer, and it is a small rectangular device that has ports for you to plug in your own keyboard, monitor and mouse.

The iMac is an all-in-one desktop computer that is marketed for the general consumer. It comes with a monitor, mouse pad and keyboard. The monitor can be 21.5” or 27” diagonally.


The Mac Pro is intended for professionals who need to be able to customize their computer. The hardware of this high powered desktop is contained in a traditional computer tower.


Laptop versions of Macintosh computers are called MacBooks. Currently, there are two MacBooks on the market. The MacBook Air is a very thin laptop computer that uses flash storage instead of a traditional hard disk drive. This dramatically lowers the weight and thickness of the computer making it extra portable. The MacBook Pro is more of a traditional laptop computer that is built to the standards of Apple.



OS X is the operating system that is currently used in Apple computers, and it is the successor to the Mac OS X operating system. What is unique about OS X is that it is designed to operate only on Mac computers. Many believe that this leads to a more seamless experience when using a Mac computer. The “X” refers to the Roman numeral, which signifies that it is the tenth version of this operating system. Currently, there are 10 versions of OS X. The latest version is called “Mavericks”, and it was released on June 10, 2013.


Other Features

Because Macs occupy about 10% of the market among other reasons, they are rarely attacked with viruses and other bugs. While this is changing because of their increasing share of the market, Mac computers remain very safe. Furthermore, the build quality of Mac computers is regarded as some of the best on the market. They are made with very sturdy aluminum cases and have a very stylish look to them. This extends to most of their products. Furthermore, their exclusive use of OS X leads to a very customized experience that is different from Mac’s PC counterparts.


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