MacinCloud & Mac Stadium – Are They a Viable Alternatives To a Real Mac?.
Can cloud services like MacinCloud and Mac Stadium really replace a real physical Mac? After all, there are many reasons people love their Apple computers. The hardware is one of the most obvious.
Apple computers have some of the best hardware in the industry. Their computers are pleasant in terms of ergonomics, their screens are pleasant to look at, and such an experience, as a rule, provokes some fairly avid fans.
However, design and equipment are only half the battle. MacOS and many Mac software packages have their own dedicated groups. Buying a Mac can be expensive, so is there a way to easily access the world of Mac software without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a physical Mac?
While you might consider building a hackintosh, a cloud-based Mac can be a viable alternative.
What is a cloud-based Mac?
Usually, when you rent a cloud computer, it is actually a virtual machine running on a massive multi-core server. This is not entirely true when using a Mac in the cloud. That’s because Apple’s macOS licensing agreement ties software to hardware. You cannot run macOS in a virtual machine (not on Apple hardware) or on third-party hardware.
This means that the cloud Mac you are using is a real Mac connected to remote computing systems. In that sense, it’s really the same as using your local Mac right in front of you. However, there are some serious caveats to take before heading down the Cloud Road.
Cloud Macs Features
The biggest benefit of using a Mac in the cloud is that you only pay for what you use. Buying a Mac is expensive. There is no other way. Mac computers in the data center are used by thousands of users, each using only a little time on each machine.
So this cost is shared among many people. However, whenever you log in, your Mac’s configuration should be waiting for you. The price can be hourly or fixed for a certain period of time. So it’s easy to control costs, and if you need access to macOS now, there is no other way to get it at such a low price.
It also means you don’t have to face all the hassles associated with owning a physical Mac. You never have to worry about your model being too outdated for the latest version of macOS, or having to wait for Apple to send back a critical production machine that is out of order.
You can also access your cloud Mac from anywhere using various remote desktop clients. Of course, depending on the particular service provider.
In short, it’s the cheapest and hassle-free way to use macOS, BUT exactly what you want to use macOS for is a major factor in the suitability of cloud Macs.
Cloud Macs limits
Clearly, there are a few things to consider when the Mac you are using is hundreds of thousands of miles away. First, you probably won’t get much enjoyment from applications that require minimal latency.
When we looked at game streaming services like Google Stadia and GeForce Now, it became clear that eliminating internet lag is a huge engineering challenge. Not things that Mac cloud vendors can justify in their most common use cases.
This brings us to the next big issue: the Internet itself. If you (for example) buy a real MacBook, it will work regardless of whether you have an Internet connection. So if you are in another country, on the subway or on the plane, there is no problem. Obviously, if you can’t access the network for whatever reason, you won’t be able to access your cloud Mac.
Who Should Use Cloud-Based Macs?
In our opinion, cloud-based Macs cannot replace the personal Mac. Instead, they are better suited for other use cases and may be better than a stationary local Mac.
One very good use case is for macOS and iOS app developers. Both of these platforms are popular and many developers would like to create software for them, but the hardware costs are prohibitive. You can now code, test, and publish your apps by simply paying for a monthly subscription.
Some institutions also used cloud-based Mac computers in their computer labs. Students can run their Mac projects on non-Mac terminals, which are cheaper to replace and require no onsite technical support to service them. Some people even use cloud Macs as web servers for their small websites.
One very important use case for these hosted Macs is for professional users. If you need to run workstation-level software (such as 3D rendering jobs on macOS) that needs a Mac Pro, you can get the job done by renting it remotely.
MacinCloud vs Mac Stadium: What’s on offer?
As of this writing, there are two main players in the Mac cloud industry: MacinCloud and Mac Stadium. While it is tempting to compare the two as to which one is “best,” it doesn’t really make much sense as the two companies offer services that overlap.
Mac Stadium is mostly known for having thousands of Mac Minis in data centers, as well as fewer Mac Pros, new Mac Pros (coming soon), and a few lonely iMac Pro machines. They have a lot of custom infrastructure to make cloud-based Macs possible. It’s also a simpler solution for the average user.
Rent a separate Mac Mini for a fixed monthly prize and do whatever you want with it. From there, you can also rent time on the aforementioned Mac Pros, or pay thousands of dollars for enterprise-grade Mac cloud solutions.
For single users, this is probably the best of the two. $ 79 a month for your own dedicated Mac Mini with 24/7 support is a pretty good deal.
That being said, MacinCloud offers some intriguing pricing options. You can subscribe to the pay-as-you-go option. This means that you pay for the hours worked and nothing more. The base amount is $ 30 for 30 hours, but it depends on how you set up the hardware you want.
MacinCloud also offers eGPU options. Their other plans are more enterprise-oriented and offer servers at a fixed monthly price with varying limits depending on which one you choose. MacinCloud is what we offer to those who want to use this technology to develop applications in the first place.
Are Cloud Macs a viable alternative to “real Macs”?
The answer to this question is yes. Absolutely. As long as your use case complies with the technology and service limitations. They are not an alternative to your personal Mac and the way most people use them, but they are a great deal for people who don’t use a Mac as part of their normal workflow but need tools to get to the Mac market. The good news is that many of these plans offer a short trial, so why not go and be sure?