Somehow, Apple muddled its way through, and now that we are well into the Second Age of
Steve Jobs, it appears Windows users are finally getting the message. For the first half of this
year, an estimated 400,000 Windows owners bought Macs as Apple outpaced the growth of the
It may be too early to break out the champagne, but it appears a number of these Mac converts
were influenced by the iPod. To think Apple could build something that would become a cultural
icon rather than just a boutique product. But Microsoft has also managed to shoot itself in the
foot in recent years, suffering from the programming lapses of yesteryear that made the platform
vulnerable to all sorts of malware.
At the same time, Apple faces an important challenge. If those 400,000 newcomers embrace the
Mac OS with enthusiasm, they could become evangelists for the platform, encouraging others to
make the move. Here first impressions count for a lot, and if the Macs they buy fails to "just
work," it could have a really bad effect. These people have already been burned by Windows.
They came to the Mac hoping that life on the other side of the tracks would be better, and if they
have any suspicions that it s not so, Apple may not get a second chance.
As much as you d like to regard your Mac as an appliance, it s a complicated and sometimes
temperamental beast. True, most of you will unpack your new Macs, turn them on, and get on
with your business. But the experience isn t always seamless, for otherwise there would be no
need for troubleshooting sites, books and articles to help you get a handle on the problems you
confront all too often.
In fairness, you can t expect perfection. No personal computer comes even close to behaving as
reliably as a typical household appliance. Sure, the Mac is close, and it s true that many of you
can carry on for days, weeks, or months without encountering a lick of trouble. I still provide
consulting services for a number of local clients, and I delight in the fact that I can set them up
with a new Mac, or perform a "tune up," and seldom get a call to make a return visit to fix some
new problems. It s not that I am so perfect, but it s a nice thought. The truth is that Macs don t
require near as much maintenance as the counterparts from the Dark Side.
But there are still problems that are just too irritating, and Apple has to work harder to improve
its quality control. Tiger, for example, was probably released prematurely, and it s taken two
maintenance updates for things to settle down. And now the pressure is on to deliver the goods to
those brand new Windows switchers, and Apple can t afford to drop the ball.
MPN, LLC 2005 macCompanion
August 2005, Volume 3 Issue 8