Thursday, December 10, 2009

PC to Mac...Pure Bliss

Recently I made the huge jump from PC to Mac. Previously I never owned an Apple computer of any kind. iPods? Sure. A few. I am now, however, a full Apple addict.  If Apple made a car, I would buy it.

Apple stuff fun. It’s hip. It’s cool. It’s fashionable. And it's everywhere. I have had three different iPods and I think they are brilliant. Although I hated iTunes initially, it grew on me. I also hated Apple’s unique file extensions (like M4a), but learned to ignore them. QuickTime also never impressed me. QuickTime played .mov files and in the PC world, such files were rare. I was always annoyed that iTunes could not be installed without QuickTime.

I used to think Apple computer products were simply overpriced and designed for yuppies. Does your computer say something about you? Perhaps. Over the last 10 years, I have seen Apple laptops in movies and TV shoes with greater frequency. And the scene is always shot in a way so the viewer knows it’s an Apple.

Dozens of companies make PC’s but only Apple makes an Apple. Like it or not, there is brand awareness. And perhaps a bit of exclusivity goes with the product. Imagine if only Microsoft made PC’s. What would Bill Gates not own if that were true?

I don’t actually remember when PC’s took over the computing world. My first computer was a Texas Instruments model that hooked up to the television. It had no hard drive because I don’t think they existed at the time. And for a disk drive I was able to hook up a regular tabletop cassette player to the machine with a special cable. The storage media was a regular cassette tape.

My next computer was a Commodore Vic 20.  The setup was the same. The first real computers I remember were Apples. When I was in middle school (1983-1985), we had a small computer lab filled with Apple IIE models. The monitors were very small and I remember everything being green. Those computers also had 5.25-inch floppy drives.

 My first real experience on a PC was in my junior year of high school or 1988 when I used a friend’s computer to write my term paper. I remember using some word processing program that had a spell checker. How nice. And I remember printing that paper on a giant dot matrix printer that was terribly loud and shook like a washing machine. That paper was the first and only work of writing I completed in high school that wasn’t handwritten. That seems so odd to me for some reason.

Around 1990 or so I started using PC machines on a regular basis. And I learned DOS. This was before Windows 3.1 was released and even before DOS 5.0. I bought my first PC sometime in 1991 at Radio Shack. It had a 286 processor, 25-megabyte hard drive, and a snort of ram. Since that time I have always owned a personal computer and exclusively PC’s.

Honestly, I thought Apple stopped making computers all together. I do remember the first Macintosh computers because my uncle had one when I was in high school. Really, that company was off the radar for a long time. Not that I am a computer historian, but I don’t remember much of Apple until the iPod a few years ago. Wait, that’s not correct. I remember hearing of Apple Power PC models around 2000 or so and that most computer based music recordings were being made on Apples using very specialized software such as Pro Tools.

I think the first time I saw an Apple laptop was in the movie “Mission Impossible.” And I have a feeling that wasn’t by accident. Was that when Apple started to reinvent its brand image? Hip, cool, and high-energy movie staring Tom Cruise. Not a bad image to latch on to if that audience is your potential market. And it was a safe movie. No controversy. Limited violence. Limited vulgarities. Nothing sexual. And the movie had a huge audience.

But I think Apple’s computer comeback really took off when Intel processors began to be used in Apple’s computers. Intel chips had been around so long and most people could understand that a Pentium III was faster than Pentium I. Personally, I couldn’t tell you the name or anything about any non-Intel processor in an Apple.

I admit when the Intel driven Mac Book Pro came out I wanted one because it looked cool. Never mind that I knew nothing about the Mac operating system. I just wanted one. But the price scared me away. And besides not much software was being written for Macs. I heard you could run Windows on a Mac but that seemed ignorant to me. If you want to use Windows software, use a PC. Simple.

It’s been almost two months since I made the transition. I couldn’t be happier. I currently own a Mac Book Pro and one of the new iMacs. I also switched to AT&T and use an iPhone. All three of these machines are synced. I use Mobil Me to sync my calendar and contacts. I used to have to sync my Blackberry by plugging it into my PC. Those days are gone. Now when I enter a new entry into my iPhone calendar, it’s automatically added to the calendars on both of my Apple computers and vice versa.

I don’t use a lot of software, but I did buy Office 2008 for Mac. I also use QuickBooks and Quicken for financial stuff. It did not take too long to get used to the Mac OS. And compared to Windows it’s more stable. The system never crashes. The system never freezes. It just works. No drivers. No reboots. It just works.

Apple’s customer service is also superior in all respects. And I think the people on the phone are actually sitting in this hemisphere and English is their first language. Imagine that.

Call me a yuppie if you must. But I did wait for the prices to drop dramatically before I jumped on the Apple tree. A thrifty yuppie? Is there such a person? It doesn’t matter to me. Not only do my computers look cool, they actually function even better.

In my opinion Apples are superior in design, build, function, and support. They are just better machines. And now that the prices are within the bounds of reasonableness, I see a consistent growth in Apple's market share of personal computers for years to come.

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