Mac vs. Apple



I guess you could say I’m a Mac guy. The last PC I owned worked on Windows 3. I vaguely remember debating whether to upgrade to Windows 95, before I made the big switch.

I instantly felt the difference. I have never looked back, and have never again needed to decide between a Windows PC and a Mac. Mac has no competition, at least for me.

The first time I heard the statistic that Mac only represented two percent of the PC market, I was stunned. How was it possible that 98% of America didn’t know what they were missing? Looking around at my local coffeehouses at the time, it hit me that when people spent their own money, they were much more likely to buy Macs (the ratio seemed to be more like 50/50; today it seems more like 80% Mac). The big volume went to corporate sales, where purchasing managers bought large quantities of PCs to go on desktops, and traveling salespeople had to work on systems that would run the company software, which was in Windows.

That was then.

Today, Rebel Industries runs on a Mac. Well, several of them. Look around our conference table and all you’ll see is a sea of glowing Apples. After BMW and Infiniti, I think I’ve given more money to Apple than any other brand. This year’s MacBook Pro is the seventh I’ve purchased, in addition to numerous iMacs, iPhones, iPads, and iPods.

Nowadays Apple is known as the Design Company. But as beautiful as my aluminum-bodied powerhouse is, I’ve never bought a Mac because of the design. I buy Mac because Mac OS isn’t just a little better than anything else out there, it’s A LOT BETTER. Mac is faster, more intuitive, and more respectful of my time and brainpower.

This is what worries me.

Apple’s current success is a direct result of those early days when it made quirky computers that were simply better than the rest.

Follow this logic: Is iPhone the best phone on the market? Maybe yes, and maybe no. It works well for me, but I see opportunities for improvement on a daily basis. I often find myself wishing I had a Mac in my pocket, which the iPhone most definitely is not. Is iPad the best tablet computer? Who knows? Has anyone even tried another one? Is Mac the best computer on the market? No question.

So now we welcome for OSX Lion, the latest in a series of relatively minor upgrades over the last decade (by comparison, OS9 governed the Mac for only seven years before OSX replaced it). Lion promises to make OSX more like iOS, which is the opposite of what it should be doing. Who's tried it? Tell me what you think!

True, consumers are obsessed with anything that has an Apple on it, and the company’s rabid appetite for innovation continues to fuel that fire. But what it needs to do is keep innovating the computer and its uses that work to prove the handheld devices are better, and not the other way around.

iPad: Maybe So, Maybe No

apple ipadIf you're like me, you're among the many who were disappointed with yesterday's reveal of the Apple iPad, and possibly even more disappointed by the name. But the public reaction is even more interesting than the product itself, and it speaks to the incredible power Apple has built in its brand.

I had two client meetings yesterday. The first one was right around 10am — the time of Steve Jobs' keynote — and was repeatedly interrupted by various people in the room reporting real-time announcements they got from their smartphones. Ironically, none of these people were using iPhones, and they described themselves as "non-Apple people." But they were glued to the news just like the rest of us, illustrating the extent to which Apple has ingrained itself into the fabric of American culture.

In the second meeting, the guy went on for about a minute listing all of the things wrong with the iPad: No camera, no Flash, no phone, etc. Then, almost on cue, he stops and says, "don't get me wrong, I'm buying one."

Me? I don't love it, but truth be told, I'll probably end up buying iPad 2, or should I say iPad Super.

Tell us what you think. Are you going to buy it? And what can we learn from Apple about branding?