Ad Makes Mac Users Froth Like An Over Priced Latte’

30 03 2009

So apparently this little ad is really pissing off the Mac fan boys out there.  The part that makes them the most apoplectic is when our intrepid shopper offhandedly quips “I guess I’m not cool enough to be a Mac person.”

You can hear foreheads hitting desks in graphic arts departments all over the country on that one.

Now to be clear, my little laptop is 6 years old with an AMD 64bit processor in it that I’m pretty sure is common in most microwave ovens by now.  But this p.o.s. machine keeps plucking along with XP-pro and it’s still quick enough to do everything I need to do.

Lately, however, I’ve been kicking around the idea of getting something new.  I have good friends who are new and very enthusiastic Mac converts who urge me to give the new line of Apple Macbooks a try.  After killing some time in the local Apple store I must confess that I really like the gesture functions of the multi-touch pad, and the solid aluminum design is pleasantly minimal and sturdy.

But the cost of entry for those features still seems absurd and prohibitive when a comparatively equipped PC is a fraction of the cost.

Now if were I to go out and buy a new PC today some of my Macified friends could aptly wield the bloatware Vista against me, except that I can easily install XP or Ubuntu on my new PC.  Hell, I’m even okay with waiting a few more months for Windows 7.  All said I’m competent enough with computers that I’m not that troubled by the OS wars.  All in all I’m just not yet convinced that a Mac is worth the extra money.

Now to get back to the ad, the people who love the Mac because it’s a better tool for the job they’re doing don’t care a whit about such marketing fluff, they just ignore it and keep doing their work. It’s the rest of the Mac fans out there that are all worked up. The ad (real or not) resonates with the common user because it points out the biggest problem for many of the most devout Mac faithful:

“You paid more just so you could look cool”.

The ad busts that bubble because nothing is less cool than looking like you’re a poseur who is actually trying to look cool by buying the newest “cool” gadget. And given the years of Mac/PC ads where Apple has strained to present themselves as the “cool” kid, this kind of calling out is blasphemy of the highest order causing people all over to whine that the ad is “offensive.”

Whatever.

Some of us don’t mind looking less cool if it means we can get our shit done just the same…but for less money.   I’d rather be smart than look cool any day.

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7 responses

30 03 2009
Personal Failure

*hides ipod touch in pocket* uh, yeah.

30 03 2009
Chris

Mac User here. Never had a problem with it. Ever.
Never had to pay for upgraded security features.
Never had a blue screen of death.

Of course, I’m one of those Mac guys that actually needs it for what I do for a living, so I didn’t mind looking cooler than everyone else.
As for the “there was only one in the store with a 13″ screen” comment, I’d say Apple.com is more than happy to oblige her.

30 03 2009
SuperJesus

And all this time I thought blogging about atheism was a controversial topic? 😉

I’m open to options but Apple.com only has a 13″ Macbook w/ 2GB memory and 160GB HD for $999 (FREE SHIPPING!) Did I miss the other better option?

31 03 2009
Chris

I liken it to Audi. I have several options of high-end, beautifully engineered automobiles. Windows has a choice of the Pontiac Sunfire, the Ford Probe or a Cadillac Escalante.

30 03 2009
Chase

Are we to select things in life based on numbers? Is it not a plausible assumption that qualitative measures are often applied to our decision making process?

Certainly, I don’t pick friends based on a set of quantitative criteria. I don’t select which car I buy based on ratings alone either. Look and feel are equally important and if that means we spend more because it looks cool, so be it. I’m not sure why that would be considered offensive really, it’s more of a compliement to Apple that the Mac is viewed as being cool. I think with mobile technology (laptops, cellphones, etc) consideration is often given to the appearance and usability of the device. I might spend more to get a particular phone because I like the features and the design of the device more, even though from a features standpoint the device is functionally equivalent to another.

Perhaps it’s a question of taste. That in mind there are different reasons for buying a mac over any other laptop.

In the end you will make the decision that makes the most sense based on your wants/needs. If you are seeking a high-power machine with the standard Windows OS that is what you should purchase. The Macbook will be a much different experience. I’ve owned a Macbook since December of 2008 and I can say it’s not so easy to draw a direct comparison to any standard laptop. It’s important to keep in mind that it’s far more difficult for Microsoft to make a high-performing OS than it is for Apple. Microsoft has to make an operating system that will work on thousands of different hardware sets, while Apple controls everything in their laptops. They custom build their OS to function in perfect concert with the hardware and devices in the Macbook. This allows them to extract every last drop of performance from the hardware components they put in the machine. Microsoft would have to do the same thing, but for every modem, graphics card, system board, etc that exists and may end up in a Windows-based laptop. Since Apple controls the hardware that goes into their systems, they can devote more of their energy to design and engineering. They can focus on the question of “how can I make this better?” rather than “how can I make this compatible?”

When looking at pricing, it’s important to note that Apple has three different laptops; macbook, macbook air, and macbook pro. Each one of these is really a “premium” device, compared to Dell which makes different categories of laptops from lower quality to higher quality. When looking at price, it’s important to compare the highest quality line from HP, Dell, etc to the macbook since the components used in the system make a big difference in the overall price. Also consider size and weight. If you want a high power laptop and don’t care about the size and weight you can easily get a cheap deal … as the components get lighter and more compact the cost goes up. Apple is clearly not targetting the budget laptop consumer. They are going for a consumer that demands compact form factor, light weight, style and performance.

As much as I’d like to draw up the analogy of comparing a Mustang to a BMW, I’ll save my breath 🙂

… And I was doing so good at holding back on giving my opinion.

Happy laptop-hunting, I’m sure you’ll find something that beats what you have now!

30 03 2009
SuperJesus

Nice to see you Chase! I love the fact that after my years of blogging about news, politics, and religion it’s only when I dip my opinion pen into the toxic well of PC/Mac wars that I can finally get you to comment on my blog. That is fucking awesome!

Part of my comment is that while I agree that there are certainly cases where the Mac is a superior tool for a given job, a large part of the “cool” associated with it is carefully cultivated and manufactured by their marketing department. Hence, unlike you and Chris, the people most offended by the ad are the ones who probably bought the machine more for the image it brings rather than practical reasons of necessity. The “bang for the buck” analysis for each person will vary depending on the bang they’re looking for.

Or am I wrong about that?

30 03 2009
Chase

I agree entirely .. very crafty of you to get to comment here instead of being a lurker (you punk)

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