An IT colleague of mine (who knows I have an interest in multimedia and how it’s affecting the web and telecommunications in general) recently bought a 23-inch iMac. He emailed me with great enthusiasm, saying how amazing it looked, with a graphical interface, very easy to use.
He had found adjusting to Windows Vista a painful experience, and by contrast the Mac has been quite simple. It has Unix under the hood, so he has all the geek tools he needs to do his job. It’s very stable, and if he can’t run an application he needs, he can boot Windows inside OSX with a product called Parallels.
According to recent articles corporates are starting to take the Mac seriously, and it may have a good chance of finding a place for itself outside the print and video production markets.
My colleague believes that, with more hardcore users moving from PC to Mac, a groundswell might be taking place, and the world might start to become less MS-focused, which will produce a flow-on of changes in the Web, and hence telecommunications.
He gave an example: one of his work colleagues was on his way home from San Jose and they had a half-hour video Skype communication while the friend was at the airport and he was at home debugging some network problems on his VPN.
He was able to share his desktop and give his telecoms colleague a hand!
Although this can be done on a PC, according to my friend it was somehow easier and more inviting on a Mac. He thinks the fact that the hardware incorporates cameras etc is part of the reason. But also the computer looks good, feels good, does not try your patience, and so is just more inviting to open up and use.
Oh, and don’t get him started on the iPod he bought to go with the iMac; and on podcasts – ‘how good are they!’ he enthuses. Again, there is nothing you can’t do on a ‘PC’, that you can’t do on a Mac but his Creative Labs MP3 player is junk compared with the Apple iPod..
You’re probably asking ‘what about the UNIX backend?’.
According to him, Linux is good for the geeks but way too technical for the masses. The Mac is super-friendly for the general population (far easier than Windows) and it has what is essentially ‘Linux inside’.
Hopefully this is not just post-purchase justification. Only time will tell. Perhaps what Apple is doing will level the playing field – particularly if their upcoming ‘media centre’ products are of the same quality.
My colleague’s prediction is that if Apple releases a good media centre product, then it will be Macs for the home and PCs for the office in the next few years. And after that, who knows…
Here is my son Ravian’s comment on the above information.
I agree whole heartedly with his analysis. The “new” Mac’s (to be specific it is the new range of Intel powered Mac’s) are soon to be in direct competition with PC’s for a number of good reasons.
The main reason for techies is the fact that because it is Intel based, Windows XP can run on it and already there have been released patched versions of windows XP that will run on the Intel based Mac. Now, it is important to note that you were able to run Windows via a piece of software within Mac OS (namely “Virtual PC”) yet because it is “virtual”, windows runs slower than running it normally on a PC and this is no good, but on an Intel based Mac you can “dual-boot” with Windows and Mac OSX which will (in the not to distant future) run as it would on a PC, but benefit from the solid architecture of the Macintosh.
PC’s and Mac’s both have their problems, but due to the fact that OSX is based on Unix (it’s important not to get Unix and Linux mixed up, they are similar but still different operating systems), means that the operating system is very stable and Mac’s can last much longer periods on or on standby than PC’s can and this is why you will see Mac notebook users just closing there laptops without shutting down whereas PC notebook users tend to shutdown more often as windows tends not to like going into standby and can have problems running for long periods without shutting down (especially if you are using memory hungry applications like design of video apps!!).
For end users the ease of use of a Mac, the “usability-straight-out-of-the-box” is the main selling point. My brother in law recently bought a 21″iMac. It comes with a little remote and has a media centre interface which seamlessly plugs into Apple’s online movie trailer connection and through his cable broadband internet connection (wirelessly piped to the Mac of course) the video’s viewed smoothly without any jumping or skipping and all this from the comfort of the couch via the iPod styled remote. Even when I view the Apple trailers via my 24mb ADSL 2+ connection on a PC, it still doesn’t seem as smooth as on the Mac, somehow that Apple logo makes computers run smoother!!!
My next computer will be a dual core Intel Macbook pro laptop without a doubt. The dual boot Windows and Mac OSX is the main selling point, but the hardware under the hood and the ease of use of the Mac have all aided in my choice!!!
See also: Global – Convergence and Digital Media
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