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  • And Now for Some Good News About Apple

    October 26th, 2009

    They say that a publication that only contains good news wouldn’t be long for this world, whether online or print. Indeed, there were newspapers of that sort over the years, but they’ve vanished in the dustbin of history. These days, it’s all about conflict and sensationalism.

    Anything goes in order to get precious ad dollars. So the reason that I’m still poor in my middle years is the clear result of the fact that I won’t subscribe to making up stories just to pay the rent.

    So let’s begin:

    What is forgotten in the rush to credit Microsoft with good results because their sales didn’t drop as much as expected is the fact that Apple has been, by and large, seemingly immune from the effects of the worldwide recession. Or, if not, they would have actually sold far more product all things being equal.

    Snow Leopard is selling twice as fast as Leopard over a comparable period, even though it’s supposedly little more than a Service Pack, if you believe what the Windows advocates tell you. Indeed, Snow Leopard is as seamless as an upgrade can be. Whether you go from Tiger or Leopard to Snow Leopard, it’s just a couple of clicks and the installer figures out the rest for you. Compare that to the torturous clean install you have to endure if you upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7.

    Indeed, Apple actually ditched an “Archive & Install” option. Yes, you can still wipe your Mac’s hard drive and start over, but a hefty majority of Snow Leopard adopters will never have to do that. It just works.

    Yes, I know there is a Snow Leopard bug evidently involving Guest accounts, which may delete your Users folder when you return to your regular account. However, I think it’s pretty clear from the current range of online chatter that a fix is due momentarily, so in the meantime, stay away from Guest accounts and you’ll be safe!

    Aside from the usual spate of third-party conflicts, the Snow Leopard user experience has been incredibly positive. It does appear to me that Apple spent a lot of time doing the proper level of quality control to sidestep most of the serious issues. This is the sort of upgrade that will continue to grow in performance as more and more applications come online with full support for such 10.6 features as Grand Central Dispatch and OpenCL.

    Apple’s newly refreshed MacBook and desktop models has received suprisingly good marks almost across the board. Even the PC magazines took notice, particularly the spectacular looking 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs. The Mac mini server model is sure to attract small businesses, educational institutions and even some home users. Apple has really cut the bottom out of the price, by including Snow Leopard Server, with unlimited users, pre-installed. No comparable Windows Server package can be had unless you’re willing to pay several times that figure.

    Indeed, when people argue that Macs are more expensive than comparable PCs — something I will strongly dispute — they forget the low price of Apple’s software. What can you find for $79 on the Windows platform to match the quality and feature set of iLife or iWork? At $499, Logic Studio simply blows away the competition if you want a professional recording setup on your Mac, and your GarageBand projects will transfer seamlessly.

    By lowering the price of Final Cut Studio to $999, Apple has leveraged its hardware to make it one of the best solutions for professional video production. Yes, there are specialty 3D animation apps and other products you’ll need as well, but Apple has brought the price of their apps to the point where even the smallest business or eager and ambitious amateur can find a way to buy studio-quality software.

    Next time someone tells you that there are no apps on a Mac, just ask them to find the equivalent of this stuff on Windows without paying two or three times the price.

    Despite these easily proven facts, I’m still seeing complaints about what a poor value a $599 Mac mini represents. But after you look at the desktop junk that PC makers offer at that price or less, you may find yourself singing a different tune. Besides, if you are into protecting the environment, you’ll be happy to discover that Apple does better than just about any other PC maker in reducing power consumption and making the parts recyclable.

    The iPhone is another strong positive. Let’s forget any concerns you have about AT&T’s network quality. Apple doesn’t control that, nor the systems run by the other carriers that sell iPhones. But AT&T, from its ongoing apologies, clearly feels the pressure and I really believe they want to get better, although it’ll mean the ongoing expenditure of billions of dollars per year.

    All told, Apple has assembled a terrific, fully-integrated product lineup that can smash the competition in almost every respect. They also continue to make record profits, which merely demonstrates that their customers agree and are only too happy to pay the price of admission.

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