I’m starting to see more and more job ads out there that list Mac knowledge as a requirement. I’ve always had PCs at home and at work, and have barely touched anything Apple since playing Nanosaur on the G3 iMacs at school many many moons past (aside from a first gen iPod nano that was only ever plugged into my PC at home).
I want to buy something simple but relevantly modern to play with it, figure out how they work, how to use them, how to configure them, ultimately how to support other users of them.
Ideally I’d want a Macbook of some kind - most IT support is probably going to be of these, and knowing my way around one of their touchpads would be good. Having owned and worked with many Windows laptops in the past though, am I really likely to miss out on many Macbook idiosyncracies if I get a cheaper Mini with a Magic Trackpad instead? I don’t really have the desk space for a full-on iMac (or the budget for a Pro anything), but a Mini I could squirrel away somewhere and use with a KVM switch or something quite easily.
Also, I’d want to put an SSD in it for speed, if it doesn’t already come with one (and I’m assuming if I’m buying something second-hand it’s going to have a spinner in it). Is there anything in particular I should avoid to make life easier for doing this? (I’m not looking for step-by-step instructions, those I can find - if the decision comes down to two near-identical models and one’s easier to upgrade, I’ll go with that one.)
Lastly, the OS. I assume any Macs I’d ever support at work are going to be running the latest OSX. If I buy something second-hand, will I need to pay to upgrade to the latest? Anything I should consider to make wiping the drive and reinstalling from scratch any easier (especially if my first act is to put an SSD in it)? And stuff like bootcamp, to run Windows on the machine, same sort of question - assuming I want to try this at some point, what should I aim to buy/avoid to make that less of a hassle?
I know that’s a whole bundle of questions, but thanks for reading and for any answers you can provide!
Edit: Wow, thanks everyone - you’ve been unbelievably helpful. I did look at the Apple refurb store but (here in Australia at least) there’s only MacBook Airs and Pros which are all very recent and way more than I was budgeting for. Looks like I’ll be aiming to get a Mac Mini from 2011-2012ish.