iLike them apples, but…

PC or Mac? I’m asked it all the time. It’s a question for the ages, literally, as there’s no doubt that the younger generation has embraced all things Apple, but does that mean an iMac is best for everyone or is it just a youthful obsession with a fruit company? Lieutenant Dan certainly did alright by them.

I’ll cut right to the chase. After I ask a couple questions to establish what an individual is needing his or her new computer to do, my answer most often is some variation of the following statement:

“Do you really need to spend $1,000 to check your email?”

Now, I do not have a single solitary thing against Apple. I even have an iPad, albeit a 5 year old one, first generation, that was given to me a few years ago because no one wanted it, but it works and I like it. I do think Apple makes thoughtfully designed products that do what they are supposed to do. But here’s the thing, the pie chart showing what most of my clients use their computers for looks like a yawning Pac-Man, the mouth being web browsing and the Man being email. That’s roughly 35% web and 65% email for those who need a less metaphysical breakdown. And stats like that in my mind just do not give a justification for plunking down big money for the mighty iMac, not when Windows based PCs can be had for $250 to $350. At the end of the day email is still just email and spam is still just spam no matter if there is a half eaten McIntosh on the back of the screen or not.

Now now, before that last bit causes all the Steve Jobs faithful out there to burst a corpuscle, cry havoc and head down to their local Genius bar, throw back a few and petition Apple to delete my iCloud account,  just wait….. that really is how you spell McIntosh, the apple, …..the fruit, no a.

Ok seriously, I’m not suggesting that that a $250 Windows laptop is the same thing as a $1000 iMac. Firstly iMacs are gorgeous, like a frozen aluminum waterfall delicately perched on the corner of your desk, silent and sophisticated. Secondly they pack tons of horsepower, combined with the lightweight Mac OS and they are the Jaguar E-Type of personal computers, without the oil puddles on your garage floor. Sleek and cool. I get that. I think my clients get that. And if that’s what turns you on by all means get one of your own and just stare at it. But that is where I’m going with all this, that’s what most of my clients do when they bring their new iMac home, just stare at it. When they turn it on it looks completely alien. All that muscle memory built up over the years at camp Microsoft has completely atrophied. There is this entirely new way to work a computer staring you in the face and the first thing that goes thru your mind is “iPaid how much?”.  They just want to check email. Buyers remorse quickly sets in and the shine is off the apple.

iWant to check email

Yes, you can take classes at the Apple store and some do. Most don’t. They don’t because blocking off time to learn how to use a computer just isn’t that attractive to most people when they already know how to use a computer, just not this one. They just want to check email. Also, iMacs are nice to look at on your desk, not so nice for schlepping out into the car, then thru the mall parking lot, into the Apple store and so on. They just want to check email. So my phone rings, and after some commiserating we get to work setting up the iMac to surf the web, print, and check email. Exactly what most of my clients want. I’m glad to do it. But at the end of the session they often look at me and still say “I paid how much?”

I keep saying “most” because there are those who truly want to learn a new computer for a variety of good reasons. For some it’s a spirited tech adventure or a way to flip Microsoft the bird and say “Good luck with that Windows 8 point whatever, I’ll be over here casually creating iMusic videos on my 27 inch edifice of sexy industrial sculpture.” But they are not who this write up is for.

iDon’t need change

This is meant to help those who are due for a new computer of some sort, have basic needs, not wants per se, just needs. It’s for whom the idea of buying an expensive computer as a learning experience equates to the idea of an IRS audit as an interesting lesson in tax law. It’s for whom when I explain that none of their old financial software will run on the new Mac and they will have to buy it again and say “I will now have to pay how much more?”

This is just some food for thought from someone who’s been there when the fruit hits the fan, think twice when you are feeling the pressure from the kids to take your bite of the Macintosh.


P.S. Macs get viruses now too.


P.P.S. But iStill like them apples.