Apple Quest

A once hard-core PC user contemplates the exciting world of the Mac

Sunday, June 18, 2006

And now, the bad side...

So with all these great features, why don't I have a Mac yet? Well, there are still some large obstacles I have to overcome before I actually buy my first Mac. I'll try to explain more here:

I know that Apple has championed OS X as being the easiest-to-use operating system, but after 6 or so years, I have become rather comfortable with the Windows operating system and its inner workings. Since much of the difference between OS X and Windows XP (as I see it) is interface-related, I think that it may be a little difficult to switch to a whole new way of thinking about computers. I'm a little hesitant to switch because I worry about the significant changes in use and how that might affect my productivity.

More Choices:
As I said in an earlier post, although the Windows community has a wider range of products (generally), the Mac community is of a higher quality (generally). But maybe the decreased availability of software and hardware for the Mac would be a hindrance to a former Windows user. Now I know the Mac prides itself on being very Plug-and-Play friendly, and accepting all hardware devices and the like, but some things were just designed to run on Windows. I plan to study engineering next year, and one of the largest debates I've been having with myself is whether or not a Mac would be suitable for all the engineering-specific software I plan to be running on my computer. I'm sure there is a Mac counterpart for almost anything in the Windows world, but if there isn't will I be left high and dry, without a software solution? These issues may become meaningless with the switch over to Intel processors, but this still remains one of my biggest considerations.

This is probably the single greatest deterrent in my purchase of an Apple machine. Dollar for dollar, Macs are more (usually much more) expensive than their Windows counterparts, and it's easy to see why. There are umpteen companies that manufacture and sell machines that run Windows; Dell, HP, Gateway, Toshiba just to name a few. To my knowledge, there is only one company that makes and sells Apple computers: Apple. Competition between Windows companies drives down the prices, while the "monopoly" Apple has on selling Macs means that they can charge a premium for their product. And maybe this is rightfully so. They do pack their computers with all sorts of hardware and software advances, such as the iSight camera, MagSafe power connector, iLife suite, etc. With all these features added for free, maybe the higher price is justified. We'll see. Either way, I'm on a fixed income (currently little to nothing), and any large investment in a computer system will be significant for me.


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