Like Dell, the University has a preferred vendor contract with Apple that allows students to purchase Apple computers and other items at a discount. You can access the UK Apple Store through University's EBuy site.
Macs are versatile computers and for doing things like: typing papers, working with Microsoft Excel and Power Point, reading email, surfing the web, or other general tasks you won't see any functional difference between a Mac and a Windows PC. However, a Mac will not run Windows-only software without some help, and a number of software packages used in the Engineering cirriculum will only run under Windows. There are three common options available to students with Macs when they need access to Windows-only software.
For software that you find yourself using a lot, and want to purchase a student version of, you have two choices if there is not a Mac version of the software available.
Software used in the Mechanical Engineering program is largely Windows-based, and can be resource intensive. If you are going to use your personal computer to run this software, you will most likely need to run it using Boot Camp. This means that you may be running your Mac as a Windows computer for extended periods of time, or booting between Windows and MacOS frequently. A Windows computer is a better choice for students entering the Mechanical Engineering program.
Software used in these programs is almost exclusively Windows based, and can be resource intensive. Students entering these fields should choose a Windows based system.
The software the College licenses through the Microsoft DreamSpark program will not run natively under Mac OS. To use this software on your personal system, you will need to use one of the methods above for running Windows on your Mac.
MacOS is based on a cousin of Linux known as FreeBSD, and a number of the tools and open-source software packages available for Linux are also available for MacOS. If you need to run Linux on your Mac, Boot camp and virtual machines will allow you to do this.