Saturday, February 2, 2008

When asked about Apple MAC's

Time for a topic change, lets get back to tech.

In an email today that a friend sent (in response to comments of mine about an Apple Mac being a good computer for home video editing).

He said :

love the new version with Leopard O/S, but was told recently that they are impossible to get serviced......only Apple authorised dealers and there are not enough. Also, great if graphics are required, but the more used Word & Excel equivalents aren't a patch on Microsoft.Cost seems outrageous for the desktop equivalent. Please explain!

I'm happy to explain that further here.

Firstly, on the whole Apple Macs need less servicing. Most “Servicing” problems in the PC world are derived from problems with Microsoft Windows or glitchy drivers, spyware, viruses etc. Allot of the time people need to take their computer in to the PC shop, its to re-install the operating system, or recover data. Mac OS X is built on the most stable operating system there is (used on servers) called UNIX. I'm sure if someone were to complete a study on how often Mac OS X suffered from software based problems compared to its counter part (windows) you would find there is a lot less need for experts to rescue the system.

Also one part of this point that people need to understand, is that Macs use the same architecture as PC's (nowadays), so if you hard drive fails, you can take it in to a PC shop and they should be replace it with the same type, no problem. Yes, apart from the operating system, and Apple Mac is a PC (which after all just stand for Personal Computer).

One last think I would like to add, is that PC's do nothing “out of the box” to help you protect the most valuable part of your computer.: your data. In fact most people never backup their data. But Mac OS X Leopard has a feature called “time Machine” which not only backs up everything (including your data, operating system changes, and software installation), it does it in the most user friendly manor. If you were to accidentally delete (or most commonly and often irreversible – save over a good file with a bad one), click on time Machine and you can go back in time, simply scroll back in time to a day when the file was there, of the file was good, click on it and you can restore. It will even do this for data, from within your programs, accidentally deleted a contact from your address book? Open the address book, search for the name you want and then go back in time to find the person you deleted and restore it. It's all done graphically and effortlessly.

The last part to that comment is that my friend who lives on the coast of Australia may not indeed have “enough” authorized Mac dealers, but the truth is you probably only need one. The people who sell Apple computers are normally a different breed. Knowledgeable, friendly and professional, this leads to high customer satisfaction. One of the reason the staff are good is because they loeve Mac's and wouldn't want to work with anything else. In the PC world, with high staff turnover and fly by nighters, you're less likely to return to the same shop twice.

So Apple Mac's are far from impossible to get serviced (if you actually need to), and in the event you do need service, you can be happy you data is safely backed up.

Now, on with the next part....

To be realistic, Apple Mac's aren't better if graphics are required, because most of the industry standard graphics applications are available for both. The reason Apple Mac is so strong in the graphics industry is twofold. Designers (and sound engineers) want to take care of business not fix their computers constantly, they also surround themselves in good design. The is no question that an Apple Mac is better both aesthetically and practically.

As for Microsoft Word and Excel. These are programs. Microsoft windows is an operating system from Microsoft. You can get some programs Word, Excel etc which run on Microsoft windows, but hey you can also get Microsoft Office for the Mac operating system, and, wait for it, Microsoft Office is better on a Mac (this is because of integration with system wide services etc).

Check it out at Microsoft's site (ctrl-click to open it in a new tab and continue reading)

*note it has a different icon because the normal word and excel icons would never be accepted by sophisticated Mac users, but its the same (only better) program.

Also Apple have their own suit of application call iWork. Not only do some consider iWork to be better than Office (because it has all the features you need, an none that you don't, in a clean easier to use interface and for a fraction of the price), but its fully compatible with Microsoft products.

Still on the same point, Apple Mac's run Windows. Yes, you can install windows on any new Apple Mac and you can choose to reboot between operating systems, or run you programs right in the Mac OS like they would run in windows.

Still with me? Good.

Now lets tackle the biggest issue most people have. “Cost seems outrageous for the desktop equivalent. Please explain!” :- I will.

Macs used to be expensive, or should I say, they used to cost more. I once paid AUS$4,000 more for a Mac than a PC (the PC cost AUS$4,000 and the Mac cost AUS$8,000).

But that was a long time ago. Now its a whole different story.

Apple Mac's cost no more (in general) then other well know brands for the same item, with the same specifications (promotions and special offers aside).

Sure you can buy a no name PC with lower specifications (Apple tends to only make well equipped Machines), without a webcam, lower ram etc, but it's no different than buying a car without electric windows. Sure it cost less but you also get less. Also, relatively speaking, you don't pay that much more.

Note: The reason that an iMac cost a little more, is that you pay for the miniaturisation which allows them to have the computer built in to the flat screen monitor (they use some laptop parts) – compare this with the Sony VAIO VGC-LA38G an you will see, if you find the same product in the PC world it can cost even more!:

Sony VAIO VGC-LA38G - AU$2799.00,239035653,339273651,00.htm

Better Specification iMac – AU$1,199.00

But theres more to the cost argument. Its called “Total cost of ownership”. With a PC you need:



Firewall (although windows XP and Vista have this built in)

Trojan dectector/elimination

Registry cleaning and repair software

How much is all that software going to cost you? Also, how much does it cost you in time (studies have shown that people get more done on Mac's)? I presume you value yourself/your time don't you. How much extra will you have to pay for servicing a PC because it breaks down more often. Surely one would consider this when comparing the purchase price? People just don't seem to consider these factors.

Also, Mac's come will amazingly well made and easy to use full version software for photo cataloging/editing, video editing, audio sequencing, DVD making, address book, not to mention the absolutely Unequaled iWeb for making web sites easily (the only product in existence for any computer which makes web site building easy in my opinion).

How much extra do you have to pay after you buy your PC to get this software. And Apple make great software. They are among the few who understand that software should be easy to use, that making something hard to use, doesn't necessarily make it better.

To sum it all up:

Apple Mac's are just as easy to service, but have (in general less problems).

Apple Mac's run Microsoft Office better than PC's and can ALSO run windows.

Apple Mac's cost relatively the same amount as PC's. In fact PC's of a similar desing to Mac cost more. It's like getting a Lexus for the same cost as a Mazda. Mazda owners would argue they can get everything that a Lexus owner has for less and with more power. Lexus owners know better.

To learn a little bit more, take a look at these helpful videos from Apple.

Did the computer company you bought your PC off provide you with instruction videos?

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