“You do computers don’t you?”. That’s the phrase I and no doubt many of you have heard from family members or friends of the family over the last however-many years. Any time anyone bought a new computer, had computer problems, setup a new WiFi router (what am I up to now, 20?), or even problems with a VCR it was my job to fix it because “I do computers”. Let me tell you, for a cup of tea and a few biscuits the daily rate you are missing out on fades into insignificance.
But this does illustrate how easily the geeks can sway the mass market when it comes to purchasing decisions, people trust them, and I think Apple are reaping this reward with their Macbooks right now. Of course they’ve laid the groundwork with some truly superb marketing for the iPod, as sales have shown over the last 6 years, and that has given them a name most people associate with quality products. But every day I see more and more colleagues and developer friends switching to Mac, with the option for BootCamp there’s very little reason not to, and once you do you start to really appreciate the power and ease of use OS X gives you. It could even be the case that Apple’s most die-hard audience is shifting in volume from designers to developers, but I have nothing to back up that statement.
ComputerWorld has an article which tells of Apple selling more than 1 in 6 laptops in the U.S., that even beats Gateway. It was surprising in that I didn’t expect this to happen for a few years, but not completely unexpected.
Personally I tell anyone that asks that if they can spare the extra couple of hundred, a Mac gives you greater value. You can get a dirt cheap “Vista enabled” laptop from Dell, a friend got one just recently because of the price-point, but it runs slower than a computer from the last decade with Vista pre-installed and that just won’t do from a brand new PC, such a terrible experience. With a MacBook the hardware is built to suit, you can install the free NeoOffice software, and you have a Mac with everything your average consumer will need a computer for (video/web/casual games/email/office). The ease of use and integration between most of the applications is second to none and it looks to be improving with the subsequent release of Leopard.
When switching from PC to Mac it’s very easy to think you are losing many of the applications and utilities you have gotten used to. You are, but then you step back and realise it’s because you don’t actually need them, they were there to fill a gap in your workflow. The other mental shift to get over is the difference between navigating OS X and navigating Windows. The keyboard shortcuts differ slightly as do several other things, but there’s a lot built in under the surface to make it a faster more enjoyable experience, look into features like Expose to boost your productivity.
So let’s see whether this trend continues. For the moment I cannot see a reason why not. All that leaves me to say is John Grden needs a Mac and he’s half-way there.