Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Life is better here.....on the Mac side

Over the last year I have convinced at least 3 people to buy an Apple computer. These three just happen to be my wife, my sister in law and most recently my mother in law.

I noticed an interesting association this weekend when discussing Apple computers with my sister in law and mother in law.

My sister in law needed to access a nurse job system that required, among other things, Windows. My sister in law uses a Macbook running Mac OS X. She was curious as to what version of Windows she had installed and assumed it was Windows XP. I explained she doesn't have any version of Windows installed and that she had Mac OS. This got me thinking. Most people associate a computer with Windows.

When netbooks first came out most of them had Linux installed. People got them home and were confused when their software didn't work. Linux is an Operating System just like Windows...but it of course is not Windows. Linux is an entirely different Operating System. The return rate on these Linux netbooks was very high.

Linux has been around for a long time. There have been many attempts for computer companies to sell computers with Linux. Each attempt has largely failed. Consumers are used to Windows.

Companies, for the most part, aren't trying to “trick” consumers into buying Linux based computers. Many state they have Linux right on the box. Consumers likely assume Linux is some nifty software program that runs in Windows. I can see how they can make a mistake.

As technology improves, it will become less and less important which Operating System a consumers chooses as more and more applications are becoming available “in the cloud”. “In the cloud” meaning web based services. Already most consumers are used to opening a browser to check email and watch videos. A few years ago many consumers used email clients (I BOUGHT a copy of Eudora and Netscape at Target back in 1995 so I could check email and browse the web) and downloaded videos to watch using media players. Now a days most consumers get email via logging into a website and watch videos by visiting a website.

In just a few weeks Microsoft will be giving Microsoft Office away FOR FREE via a web based interface. Once this occurs consumers will be even more Operating System independent. At that point consumers will be more free to pick a computer based on price/performance/style/service.

As time goes on I think service will be the determining factor. Years ago I had zero qualms about sending people to Dell for a computer. In the late 90's early 2000's they had very well built computers and award winning service to back them up. Over the last few years Dell has been cost cutting the components and service. They recently scored LAST of all computer makers (ironically on August 18th some other company released a report showing Dell the top PC maker...24 points behind Apple). Sad. Who's tops? Apple.

True Apple computers cost more for an identical PC. The difference can be a few hundred dollars. The extra money pays for the amazing service that backs up the computers. I have never called Apple for support (I prolly should have a few times). My sister in law has had to call Apple for help and she had no problems. One advantage of an Apple computer over a PC is that Apple controls both hardware and software. On the PC side of things, Microsoft makes the software while it leaves hardware vendors to make it all work. On a Mac it's all seamless. I did have two problems with my Macbook Pro during the first year. One caused by myself, one by just time.

The first problem to occur was my CDROM drive stopped working. This was due to me dropping all my loose change into my laptop bag. The change would find it's way into the CDROM drive and bounce around. Yadda yadda yadda the drive stopped working. Apple replaced it without a problem.

The second problem was the battery not holding a full charge. This was due to wear and time. Being so mobile my battery was often drained and recharged several times a week. This caused 1/3 of the cells to go “bad” toward the end of the first year. I brought my Macbook into an Apple store. Within 15 minutes I was walking out with a brand new battery.

Mac's aren't perfect, but they are pretty good. One of my most used gadgets is 100% incompatible with the Mac OS. My Microsoft Zune MP3 player is Windows only. In order for me to use it on my Macbook, I had to install Windows on my. I have software for my pilot logbook that is also Windows only. For most people though switching to a Mac can be very painless.

My sister in law came out of the Windows closet last year. She had some initial confusion, but got through it fine. Kelli decided to go Mac and won't go back earlier this year. This weekend my mother in law took a bite out of Apple and was so happy she thanked ME for getting her an Imac. She previously only used her PC for a few minutes as it was slow and she had a lot of errors. She was in awe at just how fast and EASY it was to use a Mac. I set up Ichat so she can have video calls with my sister in law and her daughter. Using Ichat is easy. My mother in law loved it. I'm still looking for a PC program that can video chat with Ichat.

Who's left? Well both brothers in law still have PC's. One of my brothers in law lives in New York. My mother in law would be tickled pink to be able to video chat with her other niece. There are two options I currently know of. The first is for him to install Skype. Skype is cross platform communication application. Skype works fine, but both Kelli and I get request from strangers (I believe they are adult oriented sites) asking to be added to their contact list. The second option is to ship my brother in law a Mac. EH.

I have high hopes for PC's....they are what got me started in technology. Windows 7 is really good....but until the hardware is 100% there.....I think Apple will continue to gain market share.

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