Got an iPhone, Do I Need a Mac?

The last few days I have seen this very question posed around the web. PC owners who love their iPhone, now wondering if they are missing something by not coinciding their device with a Mac computer. The short answer is no, you don’t need a Mac to utilize the features on the iPhone itself. That being said, you are missing out on some pretty convenient tools without the combination. Allow me to shed some light.

We can start with the basics, iTunes, the iPhone home base of sorts. As you now know, to set up and add items to your favorite handheld, you must use iTunes at some point. Don’t think this is a coincidence. Some will go as far as to say it was designed so much with this in mind, that its purpose was to get the PC owners to switch. iTunes was created on and for Mac computers. The platform itself runs noticeably smoother on a Mac than any PC you can provide, I will guarantee you that. Once you’re in Tunes, the ability to sync within the application is absolutely effortless.

There are other features that the Mac can sync that your PC just doesn’t have. iCal, the calendar on your iPhone, has an identical twin that rests on the desktop of every Mac computer. Syncing your oh-so-important life events couldn’t be any easier than if you designed it yourself. MobileMe, which is available for $99 a year, will also add much appreciated benefits with the combination of an Apple handheld and a Mac computer.

Mail, Contacts and your photo Gallery are all worthy features you will enjoy. The iPhoto application on a Mac is one of the biggest enhancements I have enjoyed after switching from PC to Mac. Again here, syncing is painless, and once the photos are moved on to your Mac, you can sync the iPhoto app with your MobileMe Gallery. Like I previously said, the coinciding of the devices is not a coincidence, it’s designed to be like this to reward current owners, and lure those who aren’t.

For the ambitious iPhone owners who are interested in contributing (and collecting) from the App Store mania, for you it’s a must. XCode, which is the format used to develop apps for the iPhone, only works on a Mac machine. I don’t suspect this will ever change, so if you’re thinking of writing an app, stop waiting and make the purchase.

At the end of the day I’ve only given you a few of the compatibility enhancements of using your iPhone with a Mac. The neat part is the hands on workmanship and productivity that seems to come almost too easy. What you will like best will ultimately come down to the functions you most desire. So, do you need to buy a Mac to enjoy your iPhone? No, but Apple would sure appreciate it if you bought one, and so will you.