As the tech world continues to mark the passing of Steve Jobs, I’m compelled to give my two cents worth of iTunes credit and explain how, after over 10 years of resistance, I finally forsook the Empire of Bill to join the Cult of Steve.
When I graduated college and entered “the real world” (as real as the world of a Christian rock musician not using his engineering degree can be), I was finally responsible for my own big purchases. Since Macs hadn’t reached ubiquity, it was pretty much a no-brainer. The price, performance, and geek points for building my own Windows-based desktops made them the obvious choice.
The only Mac evangelist I knew was my friend Robert, who’d grown up using Apple computers at home. I used my fair share of Apple IIes at school, kicking some major butt in Karateka and melting some serious bricks in Lode Runner. But I never considered buying a Mac back in the early ’00s. Actually, we computer geeks ridiculed the idea.
When the marketing for Macs ramped up, I was even more repulsed. I didn’t like the PC vs Mac campaign. I identified with the mousy PC user, not the hip and hoodied Mac dude. So smug. Plus, I’ve never had a cool hoodie, so I was probably jealous.
That was my stance for a while. I’d never seriously used a modern Mac until I got my job in NYC in Oct 2008. My boss only used Apple, so the office was stocked with iMacs. I was thrown into OS X (the Mac operating system, as opposed to Windows) head first, and I survived, though I was still a Windows guy at heart. I even convinced my boss to get a Dell laptop when it was time to get my own work computer.
My stint using Apple computers ended in Nov 2010 when I lost my job. My PC at home served fine to embark on the job search…until it contracted a nasty virus/trojan/malware this past February. I don’t know how it happened, and I consider myself quite tech-savvy. (I pity the fake Nigerian prince who thinks he can fool me a third time!) The computer was down for three days while I wrestled with locating a good backup – I confess to poor backup practices – and restoring the computer without recontaminating it.
I never really trusted that ol’ Dell Inspiron again, and it was about time to get a new computer anyway, so I bought my old work computer. It was a fancypants Dell XPS notebook, and it could do everything I needed it to, except keep my eye from straying.
The aluminum unibody Macbook Pro (MBP) looked good. The backlit keyboard. The sleek glass trackpad. The halfway decent battery life. And the cool factor: I couldn’t deny that opening an MBP in a Starbucks was worth at least +15 cool points over plopping down with a Dell XPS.
However, I couldn’t justify spending the extra money. It would cost triple what I paid for the Dell! I couldn’t do that to myself and my family and, most importantly, you all! I wholeheartedly believe that “Cheap is Cool.” Could I ever consider myself frugal again after getting an MBP?
I wrestled with it, reading review after review, fanboy comment fight after fanboy comment fight to help me make my decision. I made my requisite spreadsheet comparison between the two computers. The Dell made so much sense, but the Mac just felt right. I even went to an Apple Store, determined to buy, but I chickened out.
I didn’t make my decision until I again turned my old friend, the spreadsheet, this time breaking down what I was willing pay for the Mac’s features. Here was my breakdown:
|Feature||Description||What it’s worth to me|
|Resale value difference||Macs retain their value far better than PCs.||500|
|Construction||Solid, stylish, runs cooler.||300|
|Cool factor||Of course||200|
|Battery life||Dell: 1.5 hrs. MBP: 5 hrs.||200|
|OS stability||Less crashes, faster startup||200|
|Faster processor||The MBP had a slightly faster processor than the Dell.||200|
|No viruses||I basically wouldn’t worry about viruses or malware.||200|
|One year of warranty over the Dell’s||With Applecare extended warranty, the MBP would be covered one more year than the Dell||100|
|Trackpad||MBP trackpad far better than Dell’s||100|
|Size||The MBP is smaller and lighter.||100|
|Garageband||Included in OS X; I’d have to buy a similar audio recording program for Windows.||50|
|Service at the Apple Store||Compared to mailing the Dell off for service||50|
|Anti-glare screen||Compared to the glossy, reflective screen of the Dell||50|
|Backup using Time Machine||An automated, seamless backup system||50|
So, I was willing to pay a total of $2,300 for the Mac’s features. After this careful
justification analysis, I ordered the MBP with ease, and I’m glad that I did. I’m especially pleased with the portability, battery life, fast startup, and Garageband.
While I’m a convert, I’m not an Apple evangelist. It’s not part of who I am, and I don’t have a white Apple decal on my car. If you wanna use a PC, go for it! There are things that I like better in Windows, like the handling/renaming of files and the functionality of Microsoft Office.
The MBP is merely a tool, albeit one that comes at a premium. I considered the premium worth paying, and I now have an effective and efficient tool for my work. It took a while, but you convinced me, Steve. Thanks.