Wall Writings
My Mac Magazine #40, Aug. ’98

Hello once again! If you’re like most Mac users, you haven’t been able to avoid some of the hype and excitement over such things as the new iMac, the PowerBook G3s, Steve Jobs’ miracle-like work as the “interim” CEO of Apple, Apple’s return to profitability, the dramatic increase in Apple’s stock price, and so on and so forth. I’m certainly no exception. But the question I’ve found myself asking recently is, “So? How does that affect me? Should I even care?”

For a long time, I’ve had mixed feelings about the near-religious fervor in which some people approach Apple’s well-being. Let’s see… am I constantly watching Pepsi’s market share compared to Coke’s? Reebok’s compared to Nike’s? General Motors’ compared to Ford’s? Not really. Now, if I can’t drink my favorite cola, wear my favorite shoes, or drive my favorite model of car, I’m going to be a little disappointed and upset. But, I don’t watch the well-being of those companies near so closely, if at all. I couldn’t even begin to tell you the latest stock price for any of those companies, and I could only tell you a little bit about the newest shoe models (and most new car models.) I’m not ready to buy new shoes or a new car anytime soon, so I’m not too concerned about something that I’ll never buy.

Not so with Apple. I just bought a new PowerBook, and a new computer isn’t in my budget for a couple of years again. But, I can quote the specs of the new iMac almost on command. I know that Apple’s stock price has nearly tripled in the last year. I know that Apple is selling more computers than they have in a long time, and their market share is expected to rise, or at least remain at current levels. Why do I know this? Why do I pay attention? Why do I care? And, perhaps more importantly, should I?

There may be a number of reasons. First off, the media likes to make a big deal about Apple, for whatever reason. They seem to enjoy the task of painting Apple whatever way they see fit, whether it be a dim, gloomy picture or a bright, resurgent one. And when I hear it on TV, read it in the business section of the newspaper, and see it on the Internet, it just kind of starts to become something I look for.

Secondly, I have a more interesting relationship with my computer than with soda pop or shoes. I’m not terrible concerned with the finer details of my shoes; I want something that looks good, feels comfortable, and is durable. When I wear them, I never give them a second thought. But I think of my Mac as so much more than the hardware and software that it is. I can do work, research, and play on my Mac. It has become an essential tool for me, and I can hardy imagine living without a computer. Sure, I can work or play in my shoes, and they’re pretty essential, too, but it’s still not the same.

Finally, I guess I need some type of personal eccentricity, so it just as well be that I’m a big fan of a company that assembles and sells molded plastic and microcomputer parts. Call me weird.

Is there a better reason to be in love with Apple? I wish there were, and if anyone has a better idea, let me know! I’m not sure it’s rational. I’ve found Windows to be a usable computer platform, and if I had to, I could probably get by using Windows forever, just as I could get by if I were forced to wear Nikes or drink Pepsi or drive Fords. But yet I watch reports of Apple’s comeback and their new product lines with increased interest, whether it’s a vital part of my life or not. Daily visits to Macintouch and MacCentral have become routine for me, and I subscribe to more Macintosh print magazines (two) than I do sports publications (one). Is that more than just a little peculiar? It’s just a machine, I keep telling myself, it’s just a machine…

Aw, heck. Forget trying to rationalize about it. I love Apple, I love the Macintosh, and that’s all there is to it. Apple’s return to profitability and new product announcements may not have much bearing on me, other than the fact that I’ll still be able to find my favorite computers gracing store shelves in the future, and continue to have new software. But I’m still excited by Apple’s comeback. Call me weird. 🙂

Mike Wallinga

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