"First-time (but not last) apple buyer--do believe the hype"4.5 starson by gigantes
Pros: User-friendly PC running a Unix-based OS is a dream. Hardware is gorgeous.
Cons: OS X should make better use of unix groups
Summary: I just bought my first Mac, the 20-inch G5 (as my buddy put it, if you're going to be a bear, be a grizzly). It's running OS X Tiger, and I didn't add any options except for the Apple Care support (mostly out of squeamishness that if my monitor goes, my PC goes with it). Our previous PC was a circa 2000, 800MHz Compaq running Windows ME of all things, so we were due to be impressed. I've long been a Microsoft OS hater (I primarily use Unix (Solaris) and Linux (SuSE) at work). I have a couple of friends with Macs, and seeing that OS X is Unix-based lit a fire in my belly. Once I decided to finally go and spend some money to replace our 4.5-year-old relic PC, I figured it was high time I put my money where my mouth is, and made the "switch".
Reading reviews of the previous G5 iMac configuration, it sure looked like Apple made amends by rolling in so many previously optional components (wireless, more RAM, GigEthernet), with a $100 price cut to boot. Though I don't have a wireless router at home, I brought my laptop home from work and was able to immediately (and I mean immediately) connect through my iMac as a proxy and hit the internet. Wanting to password-protect the connection, I figured out how to do this in about 20 seconds. This seems to be a recurring theme with this thing--when you decide you want to do something, you type it into spotlight and just do it. The spotlight feature is literally going to change the way I use a computer.
I have a laundry list of things to do which I haven't gotten around to yet, like hooking up my video camera (which may require a RAM boost) and getting all my photos imported from our old PC. I really like that my wife will be able to use this in all the ways she needs to, while I can do the sysadmin thing on the side as needed. While Unix is in no way a prereq for using a Mac, I think it will come in useful as time goes by. I should get my wife to write a review here for her side of the story, though!
The only disappointment I've had is with the overly protective hiding of the user and group configurations. When you create a new user, the system creates a new group with the same name and with that user as the only member. This entirely defeats the purpose of having groups. I'd like to keep separate logons for my wife, myself, and our daughter, with all of our preferences, email accounts, bookmarks, etc. But I'd like for us to be able to share certain things (like music) with defined subsets of the family (things for just the adults, things for just the kids, things for both). An easy way to do this would be with group permissions, creating different groups for "parents" and "family". But there's no obvious way to do this, and the Unix backdoor is much different than what I'd do in Linux or Solaris. Probably something I should submit to Apple support, to see if they have any suggestions.
But this is really a minor quibble. On the whole, I've been able to make use of the Unix aspects right out of the box (e.g. for file manipulation and running an X Server to connect to other Unix machines). It's great being able to fall back on that stuff when it's needed.
All in all, I'd say that if you're a Unix/Linux user, even a power user, you should absolutely throw away your Windows PC (or even shelf your Linux PC) and get a Mac. It's got all the advantages of a well-maintained, popular, and complete OS, with a Unix core that will give you warm and fuzzies. If you don't even know what Unix is, you'll have a different experience, but judging from other user reviews I've read, you'll still be much happier than you ever were on a PC.