Thursday, September 21, 2006

Apple sure doesn't look dead

In a strange coincidence, I returned from an Apple demonstration at my workplace Mac User Group meeting today to find a newsletter from David Pogue in my inbox. He wrote about how, 10 years ago, Apple "was the dog that the media liked to kick". You can read today's column at Pogue's Posts here. Here is a sample of some of the writing from that era.
* BusinessWeek, 2/5/96: “There was so much magic in Apple Computer in the early ’80s that it is hard to believe that it may fade away. Apple went from hip to has-been in just 19 years.”
25 years ago, I learned to program on an Apple IIe. 10 years ago, I wrote my PhD thesis with the aid of a Macintosh. (I made some of my figures and schematics on a Mac but I wrote my thesis on an Unix workstation using LaTeX and BibTeX macros provided by my university.) 15 years ago, my husband not only wrote his entire PhD thesis on a Macintosh, but he used to tell everyone around him who would listen about the superior integration of Macintosh software.

When I started my first "real" job, I was given a hand me down Mac for administrative tasks (and an account on a Cray with no one else running on it). I wanted to buy a Mac for home use with my new paycheck. My husband told me no. We were not going to support two operating systems at home. He further argued that we should go with the OS with the largest market share and the lowest cost. Shortly after that, the new president of our workplace said that the company would no longer support two operating systems and Macintoshes were out. I switched to the PC at work as well.

Fast forward to 2005 and I had had enough. I went out and bought an iBook for Iris and myself to share.

The dirty little secret about market share is that it measures the number of users of a product, but it doesn't measure why they use it or their level of engagement with the product. The stereotype of Apple users being a tad cult-like is accurate. Look at how many Mac Users Groups exist. You just don't see that kind of passion in PC users.

The Parallels demo was impressive. I see no reason to use a PC at work any more. The Leopard demo was jawdropping. I gotta have it. I see a 24" iMac in our family room's future. Even Mark is getting behind the idea now that he has spent some time using the iBook. It is not just aesthetically pleasing, it is an Unix workstation!

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