14 March 2008

Must...Resist...the Mac side.

I never thought the day would come. I am actually considering switching sides. As a long time Windows PC user and even enthusiast (yes I subscribe to Maximum PC ), my defenses are ever so slowly being worn away.

It all started about a month ago. I was starting to look for a new phone. These days, you can't help but think of the Iphone when looking for a new cell phone. The closest thing Sprint has is the HTC Touch. My buddy Tino recently got one, and after playing with it a bit, it was definitely one of the best Windows Mobile phones I have used. I started thinking that this would be my next phone for sure. But then...

Last week, we had some friends in town, staying with us for SxSW Interactive. They are both industrial designers, and both big fans of Apple products. They pulled out their Iphones and what struck me was how easy it was for my wife to figure out how to use it. I think my dear wife will be the first to admit that she is no techie, and that was when it really hit me - "Apple products just work." My epiphany? People buy Apple products because they work out of the box. No need to tweak or install 3rd party apps to make things work. People are not just paying large amounts of $$$ for the pretty looks and design, but more so for the usability of the whole platform.

Okay, so you may be saying, "Well, duh, of course. Average Joe does not want to mess with his computer, he just wants it to work. Like a dumb toaster." From a usability standpoint, I would argue there is nothing wrong with wanting your toaster to be able to make toast, easily and effectively, without having to tweak it or install a third party "toaster" app. You may then say, "Part of the fun of PCs is found in installing, configuring, and tweaking your system to get it to run the most effectively!" I would say yes, true. I have built my fair share of desktop PC systems and I did and still do enjoy it. It is great to see how many 3D Marks your rig can pump out after you've dropped in that new Nvidia card! But I would then argue that with Apple switching to the Intel chipset, a lot of the things that once could only be done on Windows based computers can now be done on Apple systems, especially with the ability to dual boot both OSes.

You may then say, "PCs are cheap". This is probably the strongest argument for not switching sides. Seems like every week Best Buy is advertising a decent system for $500 or less. The PC definitely wins in that regard. For the price of a MacBook Pro, you could conceivably get 3 equally powerful PC laptops. Since I am nothing if not cheap, this too has always prevented me from going Mac. But then you could argue about quality over quantity.

Finally, the other factor that is making me consider the Mac more, is simply peer pressure. I have a very good friend, Alex, who has been working with Windows PCs as a web developer/programmer for the past five years and he is planning on making the switch soon. I greatly respect his opinion, and if he is seriously considering the Mac side, it makes me start to wonder as well. He was in town for SxSw as well and he said he was almost embarassed to pull out his Lenovo at some of the panels and be the lone PC among the sea of Apples. See photo above for an example of this new phenomena.

We went to the local Apple store a few days ago, and I will be the first to admit, the MacBook Pros are beautifully designed and aesthetically pleasing. They work out of the box. They work with the Iphone. My friends are going Mac. Help! What am I going to do?! Thoughts? Comments? Do tell...

PS. A few links to some blogs of those who have taken the plunge...

A Hardcore Windows Guy Gets a Mac..
Reflections on a month of Macbook experience
and, finally, a whole site devoted to changing platforms -