I use an Apple computer. According to internet lore (perpetuated by the Windows protagonists, no doubt) this makes me a fanboi, an idiot who drank the Kool Aid and bought into the Apple hype. I am being exploited and have to pay “Apple tax” (on hardware that is apparently up to 50% cheaper when bought from newegg.com) just because of a pretty box. That’s all there is to it, case closed.
In fact, my decision to get a Mac was a fairly rational one. Although I have always had PC’s, I worked on Macs professionally and came to appreciate the platform for what it is. But not enough to justify the higher sticker price, so when I was ready for a new computer I had made up my mind and was going to buy a custom-built Windows laptop, made by a small company who specializes in audio PC’s.
I chose mobility over performance, as I knew I would not be stationary for too long. I did eyeball the MacBookPros but could not afford it, so I ordered a Windows laptop for about EUR 1700. This was in 2007. A few days later, I passed by the Apple Store and considered the iMacs. They looked portable. Had better hardware specs than the Windows laptop I just ordered. And cost about the same.
Most importantly, a nifty feature called Bootcamp was on the way. Still in a beta phase, but acquaintances told me it worked fine on their machines. So for the same money I get a big screen computer that runs both platforms, is semi-portable and has better performance to boot? Done. I cancelled the laptop order and bought an iMac.
Happy camping is the result. Portability is real thanks to an iLugger. And Bootcamp works as advertised, so I made a partition with WindowsXP for the –ahem- “evaluation” software and games. I would habitually start projects in my officially purchased copy of Cubase (OSX), and finish them in WinXP where I had access to software that I wouldn’t have been able to buy.
But the weirdest thing happened. I gradually stopped using the cracked software because I could not be bothered to reboot into WinXP everytime. Long story short, nowadays I stay in OSX and use only legit software. Windows is reserved for the occasional game.
I don’t hate Windows. It is undeniably more volatile and vulnerable, but with common sense and a bit of caution you really need not worry too much. I hear good things about Win7 and if Apple does not offer better bang-for-buck in the next MacPro my next computer may well be a custom-built rackmount PC.
I’d miss OSX, though. There is quite a bit of anecdotal evidence on the net suggesting that Win7 may actually outperform OSX in many respects. I believe it, but I don’t care. If true, I’d happily take a performance hit for the hassle-free and relaxing work environment that is OSX.
If numbers are all that matters, there is no doubt. Get a Windows PC, save $$$ and get the job done. Strictly speaking, nobody needs plants in their office. Or framed photos of their loved ones. For all the blah blah, you could work in a cardboard box and still do your job.
So why do people put plants in their office and photos on their desk? Some call it Feng Shui (google/wiki it if you don’t know what it means). For many if not most people a sense of aesthetics helps them get through the day and be more productive.
It’s the same for me with OSX. I find it a pleasing and even soothing work environment. And Apple’s integration of hardware and software also guarantuees a more stable and reliable platform: indeed, my aging iMac is the best Windows machine I have ever owned!
I’ve schlepped it with me through airport security on three different continents, had it involuntarily stress-tested in the trunk of many a car on unpaved backroads and it has held up nicely, touch wood.
My only concern is that Apple’s success in the consumer electronics market has shifted their focus away from professional computing, and it remains to be seen if they can continue to cater to the needs of a relatively small (but loyal) niche market. The discontinuance of the Xserve and retarding update cycle of the MacPro do not bode well in this regard.
I hope they stay committed to what was once their core business, for Apple offers something unique in the ever-competitive world of computing: a product that is truly greater than the sum of its parts.