Hallelujah, the Mac Is Back

A good read at Salon about less-obvious aspects of the Mac Mini strategy, or more accurately, why the whole Switch campaign didn’t work. About the differences between Mac people and PC people:

Mac people love their computers on a personal, emotional level. Windows people, on the other hand, prefer to think of their machines as office tools, gadgets no more special than the stapler. Windows users don’t expect much in the way of quality, beauty or elegance from their machines; if they did, they’d be Mac people.


You do your taxes on your PC. You pay homage to John Coltrane on your iPod.

People don’t want to reorient their lifestyles to switch – they want low-impact, they fear imaginary pain from giving it all up to start over again. So if the iPod hasn’t been a “gateway drug” leading to an anticipated “halo effect” that would cause PC users to switch in droves, the Mini represents another sort of lure: Let the Mac be a secondary computer in the house – one they can use alongside the PC just for music and photos.

Also: There are currently about 100,000 known forms of “malware” — spyware and its ilk — aimed at Windows. Is there anyone left who hasn’t met a Windows user who’s been caught in the locust storm?

Some people calling Symantec looking for answers to their spyware and virus problems are just beyond help, Weafer says. “They’ve tried many different things and it doesn’t help. They’ll end up reinstalling or cleaning it out or buying a new one — a lot of this stuff is just so deeply embedded, it becomes more and more difficult to get rid of the gunk, the sludge at the bottom of your machine.” … Compared to Windows, the Mac is a Fort Knox of security.

The piece isn’t so much a Windows bash-fest as an overview of incongruent computing cultures and the paradox of Apple’s tiny marketshare in light of the consistently high praise its products receive. Nothing earth-shattering, but interesting.

For a dose of old-time religion, video footage (mirrors) of Jobs’ original 1984 unveiling of the Macintosh has recently been restored and digitized — amazing to see how lo-tech by today’s standards the hi-tech of the day was, and how much excitement it generated. Would love to have been in that room.

Music: Sonny Stitt :: Autumn in New York

7 Replies to “Hallelujah, the Mac Is Back”

  1. Well, the halo effect is generating buzz in places that seem danged unlikely.

    It has been said that Wal-Mart has reveresed the old roles of manufacturer and retailer, where now the retailer dictates price points and supply. But even Wal-Mart has to keep up with the demands of their consumers, and their consumers want Apple products, price point be damned. So now Wal-Mart is hopping on the iPod bandwagon, and will begin selling iPods in selected stores.

    Something about this reminds me of episodes of Green Acres where the hillbillys wore tuxedos. :)

  2. All the old canards about the differences between Mac and Windows users are pretty much bogus. Windows users are capable of loving their PCs just as much as Mac die-hards; Mac users can rage against their machines too. People are practical: Most will use the computer that is A) cheapest and B) has the most software available. Windows wins on this count every time. But get enough spyware and viruses dumped on you, and you may eventually be motivated to switch — as I was — if the switching path is easy, cheap, and painless enough.

    The Mac Mini is aimed at switchers (who already have monitors & keyboards) and at making their transition as simple as possible. It’s the first time anyone outside of Apple’s marketing dept has shown any awareness of the switching issue, and it’s a damn good start for them.

    Now, if Apple is really smart, they will include cables & utilities (Windows-based if need be) for sucking stuff off your PC and onto your Mac Mini.

  3. > Windows users are capable of loving their PCs just as much as Mac die-hards;

    Capable of, yes, but statistically, I don’t think there’s much comparison. It’s a generalization, sure, but I think it’s a pretty accurate one. Hence the usual references to the “Mac cult,” “religious zealotry,” etc. It’s a whole different breed of user.

    Re: Pure practicality: As much as I dislike computer-car analogies, if people were all motivated by practicality, we’d all be driving Camrys and Civics. People who love cars, and who spend money on that love affair, are very different car owners from people who just want basic transportation — the whole mindset is different.

    > Mac users can rage against their machines too.

    Damn straight!

  4. As much as I dislike computer-car analogies, if people were all motivated by practicality, we’d all be driving Camrys and Civics.

    At least Camrys and Civics are reliable. And not in the “reliably blue-screens twice per day” way. And AFAIK, there’s no malware for the ROMS on those things.

    Honda has detected a new cup in the cupholder. Please return the vehicle to the dealership for the changes to take effect.

  5. Hmm… What if the computer with the most software written for it also has the most viruses written for it, the most spyware written for it, etc, etc… Then the very ‘compatibility’ of that system becomes it’s greatest weakness. And it’s a system that is doomed. The greatest weakness and strength of windows is it’s backwards compatibility, thus insuring a huge software lib at the price of some odd takes on new technologies and standards. But also the negatives and the ‘creakiness’ of the OS are still showing despite the relative improvement of XP over the past WinOSes (Win2k excluded). I still have to wait about 3-4 minutes for my 2ghz Dell laptop (w/ 1gb of ram) to boot. And in that time I go over to my ibook — which started being ready to work 5 seconds (and I am not exaggerating) after opening the lid to wake it from it’s low power sleep which its been in all night (unplugged) draining less than 10% of the battery — and get some work done.

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