If you’re old enough to remember the 90’s, you’ll recall that there was vey little talk about Apple products at a time when computers were flooding into homes. Apple was on the brink of folding in the mid 90’s, almost turning to Microsoft to license Windows (of all things) for new Macs. A long fall from the early 80’s when Apple ushered in the age of home computers. While computers from Dell, Packard Bell, and Gateway were being welcomed into homes thought the world, average consumers found little incentive to invest in an Apple machine.
Quite the stark contrast from today when anything tech-related is immediately compared to similar offerings from Apple. The juggernaut Jobs built is now the standard bearer for quality, innovation, and customer satisfaction. Today there are literally hundreds of millions of Apple devices in the hands of satisfied consumers around the world. Apple can’t build devices fast enough to keep up with demand. They are the most sought after consumer electronic devices ever made. Yet, while Apple sold 37 million iPhones and 15 million iPads in the three months around Christmas alone, they only sold 5 million desktops and laptops combined.
Technically speaking, as an individual computer company, Apple does very well. But they are only one company and the only one selling the Mac operating system. There are dozens of other computer companies, however, all running Windows. With the enormous popularity of the iPhone and iPad, why the relative lack of interest in Apple computers, especially considering Apple’s unquestioned hardware, software, and usability superiority? One word: scratch. Moola. Dinero. Dough. Dead Presidents. Okay that’s seven words, but you get the point. Americans in particular have proven time and again that price is more important than quality. And while cost is certainly an important factor, today (as opposed to 10 or 15 years ago) the benefits of owning a Mac outweigh the initial sticker shock.
Today we’ll cover many basic reasons why a Mac is worth the investment: build quality, customer service, and reliability. But our main focus will be usability and just how easy your life can become when you integrate a Mac with your iPhone, iPad, or other Apple device. Chances are you already have an iPhone, or iPod Touch, or iPad. There’s an even better chance that you love it. You’ve had a taste of how an electronic device should work. Now it’s time to take the next step. Hang with us through this post as we detail just why an Apple computer belongs in your home and along side your iPhone or other iDevice. Then tell us your thoughts in the comments.
MANO A MANO
Let’s just get this out of the way: you’re comparing computers the wrong way. It’s perfectly understandable. The standard run of the mill 15″ laptop can be as little as $450. That’s certainly enticing when compared to the $1600 listed for 15″ MacBook Pro. In reality, though, you’re comparing Apples to lemons; every bit of pun intended.
If you were to compare a similarly equipped laptop to that of Apple, in terms of technical specifications (processor, RAM, hard drive, etc), you’d find that the laptop from the other manufacturer is as much or more than Apple’s laptop in regard to price. Long story short, you get what you pay for. That works both way; spending $450 or $1600.
All things being equal in regard to price, you’ll notice that Apple’s build quality is much higher than, well, any other manufacturer. MacBooks are crafted out of a single piece of aluminum. They are rugged, light, and aesthetically pleasing. The glory is in the details. Winner: Apple
When something inevitably goes wrong with your non-Apple laptop, you’ll have to turn to some divine power for hope and patience. Getting customer support on your new laptop could be difficult. After all, other manufacturers partner with different suppliers for parts. Too often they will pawn your problem off on anyone else they can. With Apple, everything is covered. Take a MacBook to an Apple store and it will be fixed or replaced no matter the issue. Winner: Apple
But who are we kidding, you won’t have to take your Apple laptop in for service. Security on the Mac operating system is more robust than on Windows machines. There are also fewer viruses for Mac. Apple computers are more stable and reliable than any other machine on the market. Winner: Apple
So really, all things are NOT equal. Dollar for dollar, Apple computers are a better value.
ICING MEET CAKE
Even at a much higher price, an Apple computer in tandem with your iPhone, iPad, AppleTV, or iPod Touch would be worth the extra sacrifice. Apple is methodically weaving your computing life into a seamless, easy to use, and reliable experiences; every device connected to the other; all your information on all your devices. And it’s only going to get better.
Buy a new iMac or Macbook today and you’ll be introduced to a whole new world of integrated experience. Register all your devices (Mac, iPhone, iPad, etc) to the same iCloud account and you’ll discover some amazing functionality. Many of these features we covered in our iCloud post. In summary, you’ll be able to sync things like contacts, mail, bookmarks, reading lists, and calendars instantly between your iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Any change made on one device is reflected on the others. Arguably more useful, you can create a document on your Mac, drag it to iCloud and it will be available on your iPad or iPhone to view or edit.
My favorite experience is PhotoStream. Take a picture with your iPhone or iPad and it is instantly downloaded into iPhoto on your Mac. Just last month I was typing an email to a family member. As I was typing I decided I wanted to add a picture to the email. In the past this would be difficult. Find a camera. Take a picture. Take out the SD card. Plug it in to a reader. Find the picture and download it to the computer. Then put it in the email. With PhotoStream I simply grabbed my iPhone and snapped a picture. A few seconds later it was on my computer. I dragged it into the email and sent it on it’s way.
But things are about to get even better.
On Wednesday Apple announced the next iteration of their operating system, OS X Mountain Lion. I can’t begin to explain all of the new features as I’m not a developer and have not had any hands-on time with it. From what I have seen, the overall theme is integration. Making your overall computing experience easier.
The imbedded video below helps to explain many of the new features but we will highlight a few here. Watch the video and join us at then end.
iMessage is already available in Beta if you own a Mac. Judging from my own experience and that of a few friends who have downloaded it, this is a killer feature. Messaging anyone with a Mac, iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch is free. And you have each conversation on all of your devices. Start a conversation on your phone and pick it up where you left off when you’re in front of your computer. Ready to relax? Sit down on the couch with your iPad and continue the conversation there. On your Mac you can drag files (video, mp3s, pdfs, documents, etc) into a message and it will be available to whomever you send it to regardless of whether they are on their Mac or iDevice.
We here at ApplEvangelist love our data being synced. With Mountain Lion, Apple is taking it even further. Now any reminders or notes you make on your iDevice are available on your Mac and vice versa.
Maybe we are in the minority, but many documents are created and edited on our iPad. In Mountain Lion, those documents will show up on your Mac immediately. You’ll even have the option of directly saving a file created on your Mac to iCloud so as to make it available on your iPad or iPhone. Any changes made to a document on one device show up on the others in (almost) real time).
We are not shy about our love for Apple’s AirPlay technology. Frankly, we think it’s the trojan horse that will help destroy our traditional ideas about computing, TV and movie watching, and gameplay. Apple has taken one more step down that path with AirPlay for Mac. As you can see in the video below, AirPlay allows you to see your computers screen on the big screen wirelessly with an AppleTV (the best $100 you can spend).
Take a journey with us about 5 years in the future. Tablets will be as powerful as laptops (no question about that). With AirPlay, your entire computing experience could be found in one device. Need to get some serious work done? With a push of a button, your iPad or 11″ Macbook Air could be sending a full desktop like experience to your AppleTV via AirPlay. When you’re ready to head to the office, pick up your device and head out the door. You’ll be able to turn the display there into a full fledged computer again when you arrive.
Here’s the deal: You probably have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Make your computing life seamless and invest in a Mac. There is no more user friendly or easy way to keep every device you use in sync with the others.
There are a lot of computer makers; many who do everything they can to undercut each other on price; including sacrificing quality. Apple is not a computer company. It is an experience company whose primary goal is to make your digital life easier. They manufacture top of the line hardware integrated with the most reliable and user friendly software.
So get over the sticker shock. There will be no buyers remorse.