[ad#Adsense] I’ve been thinking recently about the difference between Macs and PCs. We all know that Macs are more reliable, but why do Mac owners care so much?
I realized that “reliability” is only the surface of the issue. Reliability creates trust. Trust creates attachment and loyalty.
Mac owners trust their computers with their important information. There are some things a Mac owner expects:
- My data will be safe
- I will not have to repeat work
- My computer will be there when I need it to be
Each of these points has important ramifications.
My data will be safe
Mac owners know that they can store their calendars, address books, diaries, music, photos, email, etc on their computers and that it will be “safe”. In more detailed terms, that means the computer won’t crash and lose the data, and it won’t make it easy for someone else to get or change the data. The mac’s UNIX-based security is strong out of the box, and additional feautres like file vault can be turned on to truly secure data. Features like Time Machine and MobileMe build on this core concept – even if you delete a file or your computer gets lost/stolen/broken, your data is still retreivable.
I will not have to repeat work
This is a huge difference I see between Mac and PC users. In the Mac world, work is precious. If I spent an hour typing a blog entry or rating my music, that’s an hour of my time, and having to redo that because my computer screwed up is unacceptable. For a PC user, having to redo work is acceptable. In fact, most PC users I’ve talked to don’t even understand this point – they’ll say they’re annoyed if they have to repeat work, or claim they’ve had to redo work on a Mac before, (or tell a story about a friend that has). If a Mac user has to redo work because of a computer problem, it’s a personal blow – they’re trusted friend has failed them. It’s also very unusual and only happens on “minor” things in unusual circumstances, usually involving features that are beyond the capabilities of any PC (such as a sync problem with MobileMe involving too much data and multiple versions of the OS).
My computer will be there when I need it to be
I still remember the frequent student running down the hall in college saying “my computer isn’t working and my paper is due tomorrow”. It happened in the late 80’s and it still happens today, and it’s always a PC owner. I also remember students buying a Mac when their paper was due the next day, and finishing it on time with no problem. Even I thought that was risky. MS-cronies can argue all they want about how stable windows is now, or how Macs have problems too. The fact is that a Mac owner trusts that his/her computer will work for them when they need it. That means far more than merely functioning: it means I won’t have to worry about other stuff: just my work. I’ll be able to buy the computer and turn in my paper (or project, or composition, or presentation) on time without a steep learning curve, or virus software to figure out, or fear that if I go to the wrong web site or open an email message that I’ll lose everything, etc, etc. As the creed of the Mac says, “it just works”.
The debate rages on
So the debate between the MS-cronies and the Mac users will continue, discussing technical differences and stories of problems with each platform. Some will refer to Apple’s System 7 dark times, or claim the PC has more software available, is cheaper, or is more flexible. But when it comes down to it, people are people, and have feelings, and are trying to accomplish things. A PC is a simple tool that one must treat with care. Mac owners know that their computer is a trusted friend that they can count on to aid them as they strive to achieve their goals.
[editors note: I wrote this on my iPhone using the WordPress app. My “Save” button disappeared and I was afraid I’d been pinned with the irony of losing the post. But I quit and re-launched the app, and the post was restored.]