Overpriced, overly simplified, less than impressive technology – there are a lot of reasons not to buy a Mac. Yet people still do. Ten years ago, it may have been because you were an audio/video engineer or graphic designer and the software available on the platform was better, and that made perfect sense. Today, it’s become something else entirely. It’s a statement. It says that you are part of an elite group of computer users. You like to work (browse Facebook) in coffee shops, you dress bohemianly, and chances are if a fight broke out in an old age home, you’d be out the door within five seconds.
Now before I get into it, let me just say that some of my best friends are Mac users; and yes, I do fault them for it.
“I need a computer for school. I’ll be spending long hours on the Internet, chatting and researching and will have to type out things.”
Well, any desktop, laptop or netbook built in the past five years would probably suit that purpose. So, why spend $1800 on an Apple product whose features can be matched with a PC for a quarter of the price? Do you know how much vodka soda you can buy with the money you’ll save?
“Macs are stable. You can’t get viruses.” Generally. The only reason that you don’t get many viruses with one yet is because Mac’s global market share is still much lower than Windows-based operating systems. Most of the people who know how to create a virus are still using PCs and haven’t spent as much time trying to hack the very controlled, option-limited Mac OS.
While I do give them credit for providing a smooth user experience, Macs are stable only so long as they last. Apple products are built with an expiration date. The battery in an iPod is only meant to last 18 months, for example.
You might be wondering why if PCs are so much better, is everyone jumping on the Apple bandwagon? Well, the answer is elementary my dear… branding. Apple spends way wayyyy less than other technology hubs on research and development. Keeping in mind that they are not entirely similar organizations, Microsoft spends about 17% of their budget on R&D, Sony 8% and Apple a mere 4%. Where they do spend their money is on marketing. Brilliantly, I must add. Apple’s advertising budget increased from half a billion dollars in 2009 to $671 million in 2010 and their sales are better than could be expected. There hasn’t been such an inexplicable craze since The New Kids on the Block. Step One One One…
“I used to have a PC, but Windows blows!” No it does- Okay, Vista ruined everything for Microsoft, though they’ve made it right again with Windows 7. The most recent incarnation of the Windows empire has integrated stability, usability and (here’s the big one) customizability. You have the options to make your system function however simply or fantastically you want.
Not that I’m a huge fan of Microsoft either. They’re a mega-corporation like any other. But it’s about what you can do with their product that sets them apart from that of the former republic of Steve Jobs, and that’s just about anything. On top of that, unlike their Apple counterparts, PCs can be physically upgraded with ease. If you buy a computer and realize that you need new/better sound or video, you don’t have to buy an entirely new computer, you can just get the parts themselves. That being said, there are alternatives to everything out there, even to Windows.
A computer is meant to be a tool. It allows you to do what you want when/where you want to do it. As being sleek and having an apple on your back are not functions, I’m left wondering how many Mac users are themselves, tools (I couldn’t find the statistics).
Apple does not only create a user experience, they enforce it. Having trouble getting the album art for that discography you just downloaded? Well, you didn’t buy it from iTunes, so they won’t help you. Once again, brilliant. Talk about legitimizing the web! Yet still, it’s painfully annoying and user unfriendly. By the way, Winamp does still exist and allows you to search user submitted album artwork for your favourite music. Also, it only takes up about 15 megabytes of space, unlike the Spy Hard infrastructure of iTunes which sits at over 100mb.
There’s a confession I’d like to make… I own an iPod. While I’ve only ever obtained one as a gift or second hand, it’s a lovely product. This is one instance where I wouldn’t actually quarrel with an Apple user on their decision. Mind you, I do make every effort to wear black earphones so as not to blend into the wash of white wire I’m greeted by on the subway every morning. If Apple had some sort of ulterior apocalyptic plan in place involving subconscious control of the population through subliminal sound messaging, they’d already have their zombie army.
(Pic via Flamin’ Geeks)
I’d really like to spark up the iPhone vs. Android debate here, but I won’t. The reasons for buying an Android are very similar to those for buying a PC. What I will ask, dear reader, is that the next time you’re looking to buy a new computer (or phone), write out what you want and look at your options. I’m of the firm belief that if you’re looking for quality you’ll find something better than a Mac for less money. Money you can use to buy me a thank you pint.