I consider myself in the minority of computer users, and you likely share the same thought. In the computer industry, Mac is automatically lowered to the bottom level. We feel like we’re fighting a lost cause; that most people think the Macintosh is an inferior system. But is that fact, or just common belief? You may be surprised…
Mac users feel like their computer is a rare gem; that they are one of the select few to actually have one of the best computers on the planet. Take a look around you, though, and you will notice they are wrong. Peek into your child’s classroom. What do you see? Macs. Take a look into your son’s dorm room. Likely, his dorm will sport a desktop Mac or a PowerBook. College and high school students are drawn to Macs because they are so easy to use and maintain. They need that bit of simpleness in their life.
Now, turn on your TV and watch the news. Almost every time you see a news story about a breakthrough in medicine or astronomy, there is a Macintosh in the background of the scene… Sitting there, bettering the world through the sciences.
I’m serious. Take a close look. The prominent scientist, doctor, or graphics artist almost always uses a Mac. What other computer has made such a dent in the universe. They are not sparse. They are everywhere, and making a difference.
Then why, you say, do you never hear about new Macintosh technologies on the news. Why does every “Computer Technology Today” segment of your favorite news program always skip the Macintosh and focus on the PC? New software, new hardware, new technologies. It’s always the PC in the spotlight. Why? Because that is where the real money is. Why focus on the computer for the professional when you can focus on the computer for the average Joe, who is in the majority of viewers? It’s obvious… You have to aim your point at the majority, which would be your every day Joe computer user who wants to have a home or small business computer. And what home or small business computer is most readily available and advertised? The PC.
As you know, however, professionals are not the only ones to benefit from having a Macintosh. There are plenty of average Joes that use Macs. The point is, however, that the average Macintosh user would have likely gone with a PC if it were not for one of three things: 1) They started with the Macintosh back in 1984 and were hooked from then on, 2) A friend strongly recommended the Mac to them and they took the plunge, 3) They grew up with a Mac in school and did not feel comfortable with anything else. Without one or more of those three points behind them, many would have picked the PC. Pure availability and promotional coverage show you that.
Aiming to the majority is just about the only thing that keeps most computer segments from “Going Mac.” In fact, I was speaking with Gina Smith, computer expert for “Good Morning America” and host of the “On Computers” radio show, and she believes the Mac is a superior system. Still, most of her computer segments on Good Morning America focus entirely on the PC. See what I’m getting at here?
All of this is a double-edged sword. Yes, it shows us that the pros use only the best; but no, it does not give the Macintosh the publicity it needs to keep its head clear above the water. Instead, Apple has to dog-paddle out of all trouble with the help of brave souls like you and me. And the recent troubles at Apple have left a bruise with the media, and those types of bruises do not readily heal.
The good news, however, is that Apple has built itself back up from the depths of despair. They have done what needs to be done and have handled the stress well. At this time last year, Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference was more of a funeral than a conference. They were struggling with recalls, hardware problems, and the ill-fated Copland. Now, however, Apple has strengthened its line of Macintosh computers and has keeping with the schedule of Mac OS 8 and Rhapsody.
In conclusion, you can attest that most everyone on the planet thinks the Mac is the best computer, yet they are all afraid to betray the so-called majority. An exaggeration on my part? Maybe… But I wouldn’t be too sure.
Shay Fulton (firstname.lastname@example.org)