How to Use Your PC Technology with a Mac

Just because you’re switching from a PC to a Mac doesn’t mean you have to buy all new technology gadgets. Digital cameras, camcorders, cell phones and PDAs, and portable music players are well supported by Macs.

  • Digital cameras: Macs and OS X provide extensive support for digital photography. Macs work with most digital cameras and support the RAW mode that high-end cameras output when you want the best-quality images from them. The most common way to connect a camera to your Mac is via a USB cable. If you want to read your camera’s memory card directly, get an inexpensive USB memory card reader. Macally.com sells an ExpressCard Media Reader that works with a MacBook Pro.

  • Digital camcorders: Like digital cameras, digital video recorders are also well supported. Some use USB 2.0, and others use FireWire, though manufacturers may call it IEEE-1394 or i.Link (Sony’s brand name). Both work fine on a Mac. The movie-editing software that comes with new Macs also supports the new High Definition (HD) camcorders.

  • Cell phones and PDAs: The main reason anyone connects his cell phone or PDA (personal digital assistant) to a computer — either with a cable or wirelessly with Bluetooth — is to synchronize the address book and calendar. This feature can be a lifesaver if you lose your phone or switch services and get a new phone. If you’re looking to sync your phone with your Mac, a Bluetooth radio is built into most Macs (it’s an option on the Mac Pro). If your phone or PDA supports Bluetooth, too (most new models do), you can connect wirelessly to Macs. Other devices can connect via a USB cable.

    Also, every Mac comes with Apple’s iSync software, which lets you match (synchronize) your Mac’s address book and calendar with those on your cell phone or PDA. The iSync software supports over 100 models of cell phones and PDAs. You can find a list of supported models at the Apple Web site.

    If you decide to upgrade your phone as well as switch to a Mac, Apple’s iPhone works great with Macs.

  • Portable music players: Needless to say, iPods work hand in glove with Macs — after all, Apple makes both. Most other music players can operate as USB so that you can at least transfer music files in a open format (like MP3) to the player. Non-Apple players don’t play songs purchased from the iTunes Store directly under OS X. However, you can burn a playlist to CD and then read it back in and transfer the files to your player.

    Microsoft’s Zune music player does not have this USB option. Some third party may create a way to transfer files between Macs and Zunes, and, of course, you can run Windows on the Mac and transfer files that way.

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