In the past, I have said some things which have upset the users of Apple computers. I have pointed out some problems I have with Apple as a company, distinct from their machines. I have also said that I think Apple products are more expensive than PCs. The typical reactions I get from Apple users range from white hot hate to concluding I don’t know what I’m talking about. I am now in a position where I MAY give slight credence to the latter, but with some caveats. Here’s why…
I am thinking about upgrading my computer – to a Mac. Yes, I am pondering the purchase of a Mac Pro. And the intention is to replace my main work computer with said Mac. The base price for the Mac Pro is $2,499. Certainly not a cheap computer. However, the guts of that computer are nothing to sneeze at. We’re talking about two dual-core Intel Xeon processors, for a total of four processing cores. I was initially perplexed about why it came with only 1 gig of RAM, but from all indications the machine runs very well on only 1 gigabyte. I will probably add more memory, but I am sure as hell not buying it from Apple. I still maintain that they charge too much money for that stuff.
But, this got me thinking. I am a long-time PC guy and here I am thinking of buying a Mac. But, I wonder if the Apple guys have ever thought about just WHY people like myself are hesitant to use Apple products. Some of the reasons I will list I recognize may not be true, but this IS the way many Windows people see things, like it or not.
1. Lack of Flexibility
In the PC world, there are about as many different possible hardware configurations as there are stars in the sky. If you want to build your own PC, you can. You get exactly what you want, how you want it, and for the price you are willing to pay. In the Apple world, this is not the case. Apple selects what is available to it’s customers. And they keep the lid so closed on their hardware that it is pretty much impossible to build your own Mac. With a PC, you can pretty much upgrade the entire box for $400-$500. With a Mac, you have to buy a new machine. And the iMac makes it even worse because you have to buy a whole new monitor with it! The typical Apple user response might be “Why would you want to build your own PC?”. But, that’s not the point! You can if you want to! You have flexibility! Try that on a Mac.
With the PC, you have a lot of flexibility. With the Mac, users are accustomed to explaining why they don’t need that flexibility. That is just a major difference of opinion that some will never see eye to eye on.
2. Software Compatibility
Now, I recognize this one isn’t really true anymore, but many Windows users do have concerns about compatibility with work computers. Most work environments use Windows. People want to be able to work from home and they assume they need Windows products to do so. Again, I know that this is not true, and fortunately Apple is doing a better job of educating people that they can indeed work on their Office documents on either platform. BTW, thank Microsoft for that. But, even I do have some concerns about my other files. I have done a lot of work in my day using PC-based software, and I have a lot of great PC software. The last thing I want to do is fork over $2500 only to be confronted with another $1,000 on software for the thing. Let’s just say that I am depending on reliable operation of Parallels or VMWare Fusion to allow me to run much of my Windows software so that I don’t have to re-purchase a bunch of it.
Price is indeed a big button with Windows users. Apple products are expensive, and many Windows users don’t recognize that this is because there is a wider selection of cheap parts available for PCs. Even among tech-educated people like myself, it is hard to get over the price tag of some Apple products. The Mac Pro mentioned above is a $2500 machine. You can get a LOT of PC for $2500. But, even more important, you can get a LOT of PC for much LESS than $2500. And that’s the point. While a professional level Mac is going to run you a minimum of $2500, you have MANY more perfectly viable options in the PC world for less than that. Yes, the Mac Pro is a great, blazing fast box. But, it’s not like it is the only such box out there. And at least with a PC, if something breaks you can swap out the part on your own.
Apple is doing a better job with pricing. Apple has purposely not bothered with the lower end PC market. Margins are low and the trouble is higher. So, I understand that Apple tries to target higher quality machines. But, look at it from a Windows user perspective. You have perfectly good, affordable options in the PC world where you can do almost anything you want. Or you have a seemingly expensive, albiet high quality Mac where Apple dictates what you can do with it.
4. Marketing Bullcrap
Apple marketing spends more time bashing Windows machines than promoting their own products. The entire Mac vs. PC commercial line-up, while funny, also comes across as very conceited. And some of it is outright crap. One such commercial paints Windows computers as an all business computer, good mainly for spreadsheets and pie charts. Yeah, well tell that to the gamers of the world who can’t use a Mac because of the lack of game selection. With Apple, they say the Apple is so much fun because I can play with pictures and movies and such. Well, that’s great, but I can do the same thing with my Windows box. And I don’t know about you, but looking at my photos can only entertain me for 10 minutes and I’m bored.
Some of Apple’s points about Microsoft are right on, such as the bloated nature of new Windows machines one buys in the store or the amount of viruses out there for Windows. OK, I got you, but stop spreading stupid propaganda that isn’t true and we’ll have a deal. Any trip to the computer store will have you see aisles of fun stuff for the PC while you might have half a shelf of games for the Mac.
If Apple products are so great, they need to act like it and stop acting like a child who is rebelling from mommy and daddy. If Apple would talk more about what distinguishes it from PCs and less about why PCs suck, I would take it a lot more seriously and so would a majority of current Windows users.
5. Apple Users
Now that I am thinking of buying a Mac, I’ll come right out and say it. Some Apple users are frickin’ annoying. Some Apple users are just too in love with their computers. And when articles like this one come out, they take it upon themselves to call the author names, say we’re stupid, yell in ALL CAPS, etc. Or they seem to preach Mac as if it is a religious experience that I am stupid for not joining. Apple users – act like what you are. Just another computer user in the world of MILLIONS of computer users. An Apple computer is just a bunch of circuitry no different than any Windows box. A PC could run OS-X just fine if Apple didn’t cripple it and disallow it – keep that in mind. You shouldn’t sing kumbaya to your Apple any more than you should for your refrigerator.
Rich and I affectionately call these types of people “MacTards”. I realize it is not politically correct, but if I am going to write an article trying to outline to a Mac user why some have reservations about the Mac, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that one of the biggest problems is Apple users themselves. Not all of them by far – just those who take their Apple ownership way too seriously.
I will be buying a Mac Pro. Not because I am after a religious experience. But because I know that the system is a great, solid, fast computer. I want to be able to run OS-X. I also want to be able to run Windows, and truth be told, I would never in a million years consider buying a Mac if it could not run Windows. Not that I am in love with Windows (I’m not), but because I know that Windows is just better at some things. And it is.
I have no doubt that Apple makes great computers. And that’s why I want one. Will I be ditching my PCs? No. Will I be ditching Windows altogether? Hell no. I plan to use either Parallels or VMWare Fusion, and I hope to be able to run pretty much all of my current Windows software on the Mac Pro.
I am really hoping that I dig the Mac. I bet I will. I will, of course, document my experience as it comes forth for any other PC users who have been thinking about trying out an Apple. Unfortunately, there is no way to try one without the high price tag of buying one. So, I’ll do what I can do document my thoughts. That is as soon as I can make it happen to lose that much money for a computer. 🙂