All the Cool Things You Can Do with Your iMac - dummies

All the Cool Things You Can Do with Your iMac

By Mark L. Chambers

You bought your first iMac, so what follows might be the most common of all novice iMac questions: “What the heck will I do with this thing?” You find additional details and exciting factoids about the software that you get for free, software you’ll want to buy, and stuff you can do on the Internet.

What software do I get?

Currently, all iMac computers ship with these major software applications installed and ready to use:

  • The iLife suite: You know you want these applications! They turn your iMac into a digital hub for practically every kind of high-tech device on the planet, including DV camcorders, digital cameras, portable music players, tablets, and even smartphones.

  • The iWork suite: Apple’s powerful office productivity suite can be downloaded for free from the App Store. You can create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations within Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. It’s much like that Other Office Suite from those guys in Redmond.

    The following figure illustrates a flyer under construction in Pages.

    Pages is a great tool for home and office.
    Pages is a great tool for home and office.

The installed software on your iMac might change as new programs become available.

Looking forward to fun on the Internet

What is a modern computer without the Internet? Apple gives you great tools to take full advantage of every road sign and off ramp on the Information Superhighway, right out of the box:

  • Web surfing: You’ll soon find that you use the Safari web browser every single day. Many people find it faster and better designed than other browsers. Safari includes tabbed browsing and offers shared bookmarks through iCloud.

  • Web searches: Your Dashboard widgets can search the entire Internet for stocks, movie listings, business locations, and dictionaries.

  • FaceTime: You can videoconference with someone using another Mac, or even with those using iOS devices like the iPhone 4 (or later) and the iPad.

  • Messages: Messages lets you use your iMac to chat with others around the world for free via the Internet — by keyboard, voice, or (with your iMac’s built-in FaceTime HD web camera) full-color video. This is awesome stuff straight out of Dick Tracy and Buck Rogers. If you’ve never seen a video chat, you’ll be surprised by just how good your friends and family look!

  • E-mail: Soldier, Apple’s got you covered. The Mail application is a full-featured e-mail system, complete with defenses against the torrent of junk mail awaiting you. (Imagine a hungry digital saber-toothed tiger with an appetite for spam.) Send pictures and attached files to everyone else on the planet, and look doggone good doing it.

Applications that rock

Dozens of useful applications are included with OS X. Apple offers too many to get into, really, but here are three good examples to whet your appetite:

  • Calendar: Keep track of your schedule and upcoming events, and even share your calendar online with others in your company or your circle of friends. The following figure illustrates Calendar in action.


  • DVD Player: Got an external optical drive for your iMac? Put all that widescreen beauty to work and watch your favorite DVD movies with DVD Player! You have all the features of today’s most expensive standalone DVD players, too, including a spiffy onscreen control that looks like a remote.

  • Contacts: Throw away that well-thumbed collection of fading addresses. The OS X Contacts application can store, search, and recall just about any piece of information on your friends, family, and acquaintances.

    You can use the data you store in your Contacts in other Apple applications that are included with Mavericks, such as Apple Mail and Messages.

Would you like to play a game?

“All productivity and no play …” Hey, even a hard-working person like yourself enjoys a good challenging game, so you can look forward to playing Chess on your iMac right out of the box! Play the game of kings against a tough (and configurable) opponent — your iMac — on a beautiful 3D board. Heck, your iMac even narrates the game by speaking the moves!