Mac users constantly complain about the coverage of Apple/Mac products by the press and the way that the reporting is constantly slanted in the negative point of view. Mac users long for positive coverage and speak of what a difference more even-handed reporting would make in influencing people to purchase a Mac.
Well, I’m here to tell you that I have proof-positive that unbiased reporting by the press can result in positive results for Apple. For example, the September 1997 Consumer Reports’ review of computer systems for the home office gave the Power Macintosh 6500/250 a glowing report, citing Apple as earning one of the highest overall brand ratings, plus high marks for reliability and service. Personally, I know it’s been such a long time since I’ve seen a good/great report on an Apple product that I went out and purchased the issue just to make sure that it was actually in print.
OK, you’re all sitting there reading this and saying, “So Apple got a good review in Consumer Reports… where does it impact on Apple sales?” Case in point: a co-worker who doesn’t have a family PC yet but has finally decided that the time has come, particularly since the eldest of his children is now in school. Now, having realized that computer purchases are not cheap, he and his wife had been saving toward this purchase for over a year and had been considering their options in computers with an eye towards value and ease of use. Storage space, RAM, CD-ROM, removable media, Internet capability, modems, monitor size, dot pitch and refresh rate are just some of the things that this neophyte would-be computer purchaser has had thrown at him in his search for the right computer. It can be an overwhelming experience for someone not used to the language of computer users.
So there my co-worker sits, taking all of this information in, sorting and analyzing what he’s just read, plus trying to add his personal experiences in using Windows 95 at the office. So, where does that leave him? Looking at the only other option available: Apple. Now he knows that I’m “into” the Mac, having caught the bug years ago from another co-worker. So he begins to ask me all of the questions that someone about to buy their first computer should ask… How do you like the Mac? Have you had any problems? Why should I buy a Mac? I’m honest when I tell him why I like the Mac, but I’m also honest in telling him about the problems with the logic board on the PowerPC I had (3 boards before it finally worked as it should) and about the changes in Apple Service. I’ve shown him Mac catalogs, given him price ranges and evaluations done by the print Mac magazines on systems and software, and even answered the time old question: “Why are there more PC titles then Mac titles in the computer stores?” Answer: Because Mac products work better, we don’t need as many titles and products to get the job done right the first time!
Sometime this month, my co-worker plans to purchase an Apple Power Macintosh 6500, along with a 17″ monitor (no, not an Apple 17″ monitor) and a printer. He’s still shopping around for the best deal that he can make and I don’t blame him. Get more bang for the buck, as the saying goes. All of this because one magazine took the time to properly research its data and come to a logical decision: Apple computers are as good as the “other” computers. So what, you’re saying, it’s only one person. Yes, but imagine the others out there looking at Consumer Reports and thinking to themselves, “Hey, Apple has a good product.” Hundreds of shoppers are now considering Apple as a viable option for a new computer, all because of one good unbiased report. Now imagine reading more unbiased reports in other magazines, newspapers or watching such a report on TV. Imagine what a difference that would make!
Russ Walkowich (firstname.lastname@example.org)