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InfoHQ Tech Watch Newsletter No. 4 - A PC User's Thoughts about Buying a Mac                                    April 26, 2003
 
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Welcome to our fourth InfoHQ Newsletter. In this newsletter we discuss the decisions that face a PC user that wants to buy a Mac.

Apple Makes Good Computers

Before the Apple commando squad (fanatical Apple users) starts flaming me, I want to say that Apple computers are very high quality products and that I have the utmost respect for Apple as a company.
Their most recent group of laptops have may innovations; Firewire 800 (about 50%-100% faster than USB 2.0), 802.11g AirPort Extreme wireless port, built-in bluetooth, and Motorola's G4 processors. Their desktops also include all these features plus optional dual G4 processors and DVD-RW drives (SuperDrive).
Also, Apple has some of the most stylish and eye-pleasing desktops and laptops around. Someone has definitely spent some time on making the Apple boxes look appealing.

Sounds good, but .....

While Apple's hardware is every bit as good as most PC hardware, the software is what will cause most PC users to shy away. "Aha!!", the Apple commando squad would say. "You are obviously one of those dumb uninformed PC users. We now have OS X which can blow the doors off your Windows box."

While the thought of an operating system based on UNIX makes me want to drag out the garlic necklace, the software problem I am referring to is not based on the features of OS X. Rather, I am referring to the problem of running your favorite commercial software on an Apple. Specifically, you can't run many of your favorite PC programs on an Apple because they have not been released in an Apple version.

Why? Over 90% of the software written today, is written to run on Windows based PCs. As Apple has only has about 7% of the computer hardware market, software is written and released to the Windows market first. Yes there are some good Apple exclusive programs, however, you still will have many more software choices if you stick with your PC.

Apple Computers Easier to Use?

Yes they probably are (Apple commandos suddenly go silent). Apple computers are easier to use because Apple has a monopoly on all the hardware. If there is only one kind of hardware, it certainly makes designing other hardware and software much easier, which means fewer user problems will occur.
Just imagine that Dell, IBM, or HP totally dominated the PC market. Wouldn't PCs be much easier to use if one company could standardize all the hardware?

However I don't think obtaining ease of use by dominating the market is a good thing. I like the competition in the PC market. I like the fact that I can build a PC from scratch if I want to. I want to be able to choose from 30 different keyboards, 20 different video cards, and 20 different drive manufacturers. I like the price competition for PC parts, I don't like how most Apple boxes cost 20%-30% more than similarly equipped PCs.

So while I have to admit Apples are easier to use than PCs, I don't think that is necessarily a good thing.

OK, But I Still Want an Apple

My advice to any PC user desiring an Apple computer is to hold onto your current PC until you are sure your new Apple can run all the software that you need to use. Prior to buying your Apple, research the software you want to run, and make sure its specs say it will run on the Apple you want to buy. If you are not sure about what software or hardware you will need, visit some of the big Mac sites and post on their boards (www.macworld.com would be a place to start).

 

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