To Apple or not to Apple; that is the discussion Tribune Online writer Allan Jackson has been having with himself.
Apple computers had an operating system with a graphical user interface while PCs were still in the dark DOS ages. When Windows arrived it was only a weak crib of what Apple had had for years.
The Apple operating system is currently lagging a little but this will all change with the arrival of OS X which has already been released in Beta. The new OS will have all the user-friendliness that Apple fans are used to and, being based on UNIX, it will have all the power and stability anyone could desire.
The fact that the Apple operating system and hardware comes from the same source is a major benefit to users. Each is engineered from the ground up to work in harmony with the other and this avoids most of the crashes that are so regrettably common with PCs.
Apple computers are the simplest and easiest to learn allowing their users to get up to speed and become productive very quickly. They are aimed at people who just want to get their work done and don’t have time to waste fiddling with their machines to get them to work.
Apples do look a bit pricy at first glance but, when you consider that R9000 will get you an extremely glamourous iMac G3 350Mhz with 64Mb RAM, a 6Gb Hard Drive, a modem and built-in networking, they are actually way better value than PCs.
There’s no question that Apple was first into graphical user interfaces and user-friendliness but the company was content to rest on its laurels while Windows was steadily improved until it was better in all respects than the Apple operating system.
Apple has a new operating system in the wings which, they say, is going to be better than Windows but we’ve already been waiting a long time for OS X and it could be longer still before it arrives. The fact that they had to base it on UNIX proves that the old version was never much good anyway.
There is a myth which is commonly-held among Apple enthusiasts and that is that they are stable and not likely to crash. I was involved in the introduction of Apples to Natal Newspapers and, in those days, we were glad if we had only one crash an hour.
PCs have been resistant to crashes ever since Windows 95 and now, with Windows ME and Windows 2000, there isn’t much that can take out a PC so badly that you need a reboot.
The fact that Apple does not allow other companies to manufacture clones means that they have a monopoly and can charge you what they like. For the price of the basic iMac, around R9000, you can get a really potent PC with all the extras including DVD, or two entry-level PCs.
One of the great benefits of Apples is that they are supposed to be so easy to use and operate but I’ve been involved with dozens of new computer users over the years and I don’t feel that that statement is true. What is true, however, is that Apples don’t allow power users the same freedom to fiddle that Windows PCs do.
And, finally, there isn’t as much software available for Apples as there is for PCs. A brief trip to Incredible Connection will provide ample proof of this but, at least, you’ll be able to sample Nino’s excellent coffee while you’re there.