Macs seem to sell themselves (and users help)

As I mentioned in my post last week about switching to a Mac, I’ve had a number of posts in the back of my mind, many of them observations that I’ve made since taking the plunge.

Today’s is about how the Mac seems to sell itself. And all of us Mac users tend to help. :-)

I’ve got two examples from my own recent experience (I’ve actually got more, but I’ll keep it down to two here).

I was over at my sister’s house for Thanksgiving, and her and her husband had a couple of friends over to join us. One of them brought along his Macbook Pro. My brother-in-law mentioned that he had just installed a new printer, and it was on his wireless LAN, but some configuration thing must have been messed up because none of his (windows) computers could see it.

His friend, just for grins, opened his Mac and went to the printer setup area, and within seconds it discovered the printer on the network, and installed it. He printed a web page…and while my brother-in-law was in the next room picking up the print, his friend called over to him “it looks like your cyan ink cartridge is low!”

Pretty funny…but the important point here is it just worked, without any CDs or complicate configuration. You know what he asked for for Christmas? Gift cards for the Apple store, so he can buy a new Mac.

The second example is a coworker, who has a nice video camera, and has played with some movie editing, but has not been able to successfully burn a video DVD from Windows (it always ends up with problems on his DVD player). He’s going home tonight with a DVD created with iDVD – and he said if it actually works, there’s a pretty good chance he’ll get a Mac for himself.

I think Apple is in the middle of a bit of a perfect storm at the moment. People I’ve talked to, while not necessarily disillusioned, are not generally impressed with (or excited about) Vista. It seems there is no “wow” factor making the average Joe want to take that step, unless he’s buying a new machine where it comes already installed. And even then, I’ve got some friends (Tom is one of them) who have new laptops with Vista, and are trying to figure out how to switch back to Windows XP. So while usage remains obviously strong, I think loyalty to Windows is waning.

At the same time, it seems that – especially at home – the Mac has plenty of software available for it. Mention just about any common task that we all do with our computers, and while there might not be as many Mac apps as Windows apps, there are typically enough to choose from. And I think this may be the case even in the office, but that will be the subject of another post.

And finally, the Mac has the reputation of being easy to use and trouble-free.

I think all of these things have come together to form quite a force. When I mention to people that perhaps they should consider a Mac, and they hear that even I use one :-), probably 80% of them at least consider it. And that, I believe, is a pretty big shift from where things were say 5 years ago.

8 thoughts on “Macs seem to sell themselves (and users help)

  1. Kevin Ballard

    I’ve always said that while there are fewer Mac apps, the ones that exist are of a higher quality, so you don’t have to wade through a sea of terrible apps to find one that does what you want.

  2. Mike Walsh

    I’ve wanted a Mac for years. In fact since something like 1984 when I was lent a Mac for the weekend.

    In the end I went then for a clone using GemDraw to do what I could do easier and better using MacDraw.

    The reason was simple. Cost. In additional to the usual Mac over PC premium there was always a substantial Mac foreign price difference over the the US price (I was in Germany but the same would have applied throughout Europe). There was also the fact that fully compatibles were half the price of the IBM PCs those Macs were more expensive than.

    Now prices have been going down and I’ve had more money available but I’m a Microsoft MVP and so need to have good Windows machines around.

    So the final push over the edge was the Jobs’ decision to use Intel chips and the possibility of dual booting into Windows.

    Once I got it I decided to see how life running a Mac was like and have never got round to setting up dual boot (!). Instead I just use Parallels (and I’ve also recently bought VMWare Fusion because some things with Parallels disturb me [cloning mostly]).

    My (Acer Ferrari) cost more than twice as much and yet I find myself using the Mac (Book) more often.

    Mike Walsh

  3. Tom Walker

    If I was in the market to throw more money at a laptop, I’d probably get a Mac. But I’m not. They are stupid easy to use though. I wish other technologies had that kind of thought put in to the PERSON that will be using it. I think that’s a key difference. Apple spends time and energy making sure that everything they sell works the way that people will use them, not the way Apple says it will be used. Unlike say, oh, Windows Vista.

  4. Daniel Jalkut

    Tom really nails it when he identifies the “thought put into the person” angle of design on the Mac. And this thinking permeates out to a great number of developers, who are all trying desperately to perpetuate this “Mac-like” feeling, throughout their products. Not say say there aren’t crappy, impersonal apps on the Mac, but a lot of them aim high and do achieve quite a lot that way.

    The really great news for Windows developers, is you can stand miles and miles above the uneducated masses, by simply adopting this person-centric thinking when you design your apps. I know of several Windows app that do this, and it’s shockingly powerful how Windows users react to this.

  5. Brian Baker

    Nice to see you made the switch, Greg. After using a Mac Pro for the past three months at a new job I have officially vowed to never buy another PC. The is dead easy to use, is much faster to startup, much faster running my Adobe programs and simply doesn’t crash. I am sold.

  6. Milo

    My first job was developing printer drivers for Xerox are their Star system, a pre-cursor to the Apple. I develop on MS, because the work is there.

    I’m all for Apple and what they do. But even back then, the ethos was “This is our hardware, this is out software, its the same. Our hardware is designed and developed to run with our software and visa-versa. Nothing else, this is closed shop”.

    I know now that the intel shift has changed that, and folks are running OSx on a Dell and XP on a iBook. However, Microsoft, and other OS manus. don’t seem have that luxury.

    I know your ref. cases where the Apple printed. If you were WiFi to my network on a Windows (or Mac) PC, it would automagically print.

    The person-centric design is one that has long been forgotten, I totally embrace it. Bravo. However getting this message to the adminisphere is hard, hard work.

    Please spare me the “my mac never crashed”. My fridge crashed last week. That runs Sun Java.

  7. Chris Hynes

    Were the computers at your sister’s house running XP or Vista? Vista has the same automagical discovery that OS X does. Inn my experience Vista easily autodiscovers and connects to any network printer in a couple of clicks. No driver install or anything.

  8. Andy

    This is the problem with mac users. Although 90% of the world is smart enough to use a PC 10% say a Mac is better because it does everything for you without thinking.

    Sorry that you aren’t smart enough to use a PC. And whats this garbage about Macs being cheaper then PC’s. False on all accounts. Have fun buying compatible software/hardware/support.

    The funny thing is that the majority of Mac users out there don’t realize they are paying for a pretty version of linux.

    Have fun gaming on a mac, finding open source stable programs, and working in an office environment.

    Its nice that your Mac “auto discovers” wifi or whatever. The problem is that the dummy probably surfed too much pron and ended up screwing up his computer. Of course this is the computers fault and not his.

    If Macs are so good then why do businesses still only use linux or windows.


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