Before discussing my reasons for making the switch, let me first state that I am not currently an iPod or iTunes user. I may get to those things eventually, but for now those things are non factors, and what I'm most interested in is developing new software for customers, and designing new software systems.
Beyond that, this decision was a long time coming. At a seminar at the University of Louisville a long time ago -- though I did not use a Mac -- I boldly predicted that with the return of Steve Jobs, and the switch to a Unix-based operating system behind a great-looking user interface, the market share for the Mac would soon show dramatic increases. I announced that this was the first operating system that my mother and I could both be comfortable using.
It's been a few years since that announcement, but now, after using a Mac G5 at a client site for quite some time, and being unhappy with Windows for even longer, I now believe the Mac is the place to be. It's sleek, it's stable, it runs the applications I need -- including a wealth of Java applications -- and it has a lot more behind the scenes than I expected. If you don't believe me, check out the book Mac OS X: The Missing Manual, Tiger Ed (Missing Manual). You can use the Mac as a newbie forever, but by digging deep into some mostly-hidden keystrokes you can see more of the power behind the curtains. And of course having a real Unix operating system behind the scenes is great. I appreciate everything the Cygwin people have done, but it does run a bit slow on Windows systems.
Having reviewed all the software I use on a regular basis, I'll state now that the two applications I expect to miss the most are Visio and FrontPage. That being said, a product named OmniGraffle looks to be the Visio-killer, so I may miss nothing at all there. And people have always joked about me using FrontPage, so I look forward to looking for other options. The reason I stuck with FrontPage all these years was because I knew how to use it, so now it's time to learn something new, and hopefully something better.
This is already lengthy, but I could write on this subject for a long time. So for now I'll just say "So long Windows and your friend The Registry. Don't let the door hit you." :)