Saturday, November 01, 2003

You Say You Want a Revolution

I think Apple is finally onto something.

For years they've been (at least for me, and I know that opinions and personal preference vary) the undisputable reliable and user-friendly king of personal computing. The downside to their business plan is that they are priced and marketed to an "elite" core of users. This wouldn't be a bad thing, if people knew how to use PCs like they know how to use cars.

Unfortunately, the price-point and the fact that the majority of people out there don't know how to use PCs or are at the very least nervous and uncomfortable about PC use don't really combine to be a huge system seller.

So, if you're a struggling personal computing company that knows you have a superior product to offer, but can't get it in the hands of consumers, what do you do?

You try and give them a similar product that showcases how great your original product is at a more affordable price-point that they can't live without.

They tried it once before, but failed miserably. The Newton was the very first PDA on the market, but unfortunately due to a myriad of reasons, it bombed.

So today we have the iPod, and I think it's safe to say that it's roxxoring the casbah. Everybody has one, and those who don't (read: me) want one. Whether they actually buy one or not is irrelevant. The fact remains that people are positively falling over themselves in praising this device.

Following quickly on the heels of the iPod, Mac releases iTunes, a piece of software that works on both Macs and PCs. People flock to it, not only because it will automatically sort your music for you into manageable stacks (and this is certainly a herculean feat if you've seen my completely disorganized pile of .mp3s I just threw into a folder), but because of the incredible ease-of-use and features such as downloading new music straight through the player.

Also, people are beginning to notice the Apple flat-screen displays. They marvel at how it works for both Macs and PCs. Is anyone else but me noticing this trend? They're starting to make stuff for IBM boxes that works better than the stuff that you can buy through traditional PC outlets. Software, hardware, it doesn't matter. Apple has finally figured out how to appeal to the PC owner:

Show them firsthand that this stuff rocks on their own machine.

And I have to admit, it's working. While my original computer (a PC Jr.) was an IBM box (and I mean IBM in the very literal sense that it was made and sold by IBM; something you don't see much anymore today), my first real true love was a Mac Classic. I taught myself how to become truly literate on working personal computers (both software and hardware) on a Mac, and I really miss the experience.

I've mainly stayed away from using Macs because they were either A). too expensive, or B). didn't have any games I wanted to play on them.

Now that I'm reaching a bit more of an "elite" stage in my life, I'm finding that I've got more room for a Mac. I want something to be a dedicated art/editing machine, and I don't want it to ever fail. I'm tired of dealing with catastrophic failures (almost had both my PC boxes die on me this week), and I want something comfortable for the upcoming kid to have to work on. I want something that's truly plug and play; something that I don't have to worry about compatability options on if I plug in a new device. I want a damn computer that I can depend on, and one that can effortlessly handle all of my entertainment media.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is this:

Hey Apple: it's working. I'm going to buy a Mac.

Just not right this second. Give me about another six months or so to come up with the coinage.

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