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Totalshock
Mar 25, 2003, 06:02 PM
Or.... why Apple should loan their machines out to people to get Switchers.

I happen to work in the field of technology journalism, writing for a technology daily, covering the value-added reseller channel.

As part of that job, I attended a briefing last year at Apple's HQ here on Jaguar's release. Now, while I had covered Apple on and off for some time, I was not an Apple user. I was always fair to Apple in my coverage of them, but on a personal basis, I didn't like the company's products very much. It all dated back to college, when we had a lab full of absolute crap 90-94-era Macs that did little for me except constantly crash when I tried to use more than one app, and cost me countless hours of re-doing work on the school's newspaper Web site because of failures.

At the end of that Jaguar briefing, I was offered an iBook to take home and test out the new operating system. Needless to say, I accepted.

I used it sporadically for the next few weeks, and started to like what I was seeing out of the book. And when later than month it came time to head off on a trip to an IBM event, I decided to trust my fate to the little Apple, and take it along with me in place of my stone-age Toshiba Pentium MMX 200 crap-can, my only other portable option.

From that moment on, I "switched." I loaded up on the apps I needed to get to do my job, and over the course of that trip, I came to discover the nuances of Jaguar, and to enjoy the computing experience much more than I had before. Clearly, Apple's software and hardware had come a long way from the days of the cursed machines I had been using in college.

It was mind-blowingly easy to connect to the Internet... using my 802.11b network at home or at conferences, plugging in to Ethernet networks, or dialing from a number of locations.

I started to love the software too... the operating system itself, iTunes, iPhoto, even the version of Office for Mac somehow felt more in line with what I wanted my computer to do and be.

So, I decided it was time to become one of these "switcher" types.... I've always favoured a notebook to a desktop for a variety of reasons... including the fact that I regularly travel on business, and the fact that I work from home, and sometimes just prefer to go spend a couple of hours sitting by a window in the apartment, writing my stories.

A few weeks ago, I got myself a PowerBook 12" with as many goodies as I could swing, and so far no regrets.

OS X is deifnitely the killer here... I mentioned my dislike for previous versions of the operating system, and my girlfriend had similar feelings for the platform after spending a few summers working for a Macolyte professor, but only on OS 9. After a few hours of OS X, there's suddenly less resistence to the talk of getting a top-of-the-line iMac when she gets out of school.

The machines, both the iBook and now the PowerBook, certainly get looks when I show up at meetings and press conferences. Because I type much faster, and more legibly, than I write, I tend to take my notes straight to the 'Book, which speeds up the process of getting stories online in a big way. Before, I had a variety of loaner laptops, and never did any of them get comments. But the 'Books? Everyone has to comment on them. Especially people from Microsoft. I have a long history of covering Microsoft, and good relationships with people in the company. Unlike many Mac users, I don't consider them public enemy number one. Most of the comments from Microsoft people have been interest in how I like the Mac platform, or comments on how good-looking and functional the machines are.

I love the portability, and power, of this little machine. I love the keyboard on it... although I bought an external keyboard (iceKey) for external usage... but I find myself using it less, as not only is the included keyboad more functional for using "on the go", but the solid feel of the attached keyboard is just about the best I've ever felt. Many have complained the display is too small, but for what I do with it, it's the perfect size... and I don't want to trade off any of the portability in exchange for more real estate. When I do want more, I just hook up my existing desktop monitor, and no problems.

It'd be perfect, if only the PowerBook didn't show finger- and hand-prints so much. Its metallic beauty is often marred by the big smudges my hands leave on it... quite a shame. I'd also prefer if it didn't get quite so warm. A few times, I've had to put it down, because my left palm was so hot it was getting quite uncomfortable. Doesn't help with the handprints, either, when my hands are sweating up a storm.

But all in all, I think it was a great move... I'm neither a total power user who needs the Mac for professional digital video or imaging, nor a newbie who needs the total ease of use, but I'm someone who fits in the middle, and appreciates the ease of use, and the "it just does what you want it to do" mentality of the operating system and its applications. The hardware costs a bit too much, yes, and I'd want to see a significant power increase (c'mon 970...) before I considered buying a desktop, but the experience more than makes up for it, IMHO.

So there you go... perhaps the secret to Apple's switcher success is to give everyone an iBook for a few weeks.

Okay... so maybe not, but it got me past some bad experiences in my Mac past, and showed me that I could enjoy my computing experience much more by "switching."

Now, for next Tuesday, when the new iPods come out....

MacFan25
Mar 25, 2003, 06:24 PM
Congrats on buying your Alubook, and welcome to MacRumors! It's good to hear another switcher's story! :)

maradong
Mar 27, 2003, 11:48 PM
hm, i will certainly keep a pc forever, i just want to play flight simultor , yes, the m$ stuff.. They also did some good stuff, you know ?
:)
thats all... it is n , and it won t be used for anything else.. All the work i do is done on my linux ( debian ) and will in future be done on my mac.

shadowfax
Mar 28, 2003, 12:30 AM
that's a great story. i had similar feeling about macs about a year ago or more. i had just used OS 9 iMacs and system 7 or previous something-or-others... i hated them a great deal, but apple really sold me on titanium and OS X.... and OS X. glad they hooked you with aluminum! welcome to macrumors.

medea
Mar 28, 2003, 10:31 AM
really good story, I'm sure if more people actually tried using a mac then there would be more switchers, but alas Apple can't afford to loan one to everyone and it seems as thought the average buyer doesnt want to waster their time going into an Apple store to check out the merchandise.