Erik Ableson 4 minute read
May 20, 2008

Re: Common Myths for the Macintosh

David Alison's Blog: Common Myths for the Macintosh: "There are however an increasing number of people that are moving to Macs now - many of them people like me that hated Macs at one time. I believe there are lots of reasons for this, not the least of which is that people that are running Windows XP are faced with an upgrade to Vista as their next logical step and feel that maybe it's okay to consider a Mac since they have to go through a full operating system refresh anyway.

One of the reasons I was not interested in Macs for a very long time was that I clung to many facts about the Mac that I felt eliminated it from contention. Well, as with many things in life it turns out the facts that I knew about the Mac were either hopelessly outdated or simply myths. What I wanted to do was tell you the ones that I was aware of and often cited when I dismissed Macs in the past."

(Via David Alison's Blog.)

I love reading these articles from switchers, especially technical ones. Interestingly, these are exactly the things that I've been explaining to my PC-using friends and colleagues for years. The question that still remains is why didn't people believe me up until recently?

I think that given the status quo of XP, they were content to ignore my demonstrations of OS X, but post-Vista release, it seems that people started paying more attention. The basic facts of the situation have been pretty static on the Apple side (counting from the release of Tiger) but most people were unwilling to accept the facts I presented as detailed by Mr Alison. I suspect that the bad press (and some disappointing experiences) surrounding Vista had more of an effect that people are willing to admit to. Or was it the insanely massive buzz around the iPhone that made people stop off at the Apple site more frequently and be exposed to the OS X collateral as they passed through looking for more iPhone information?

On the Vista front, I'd say that highly technical people are the ones who were first in line for Vista and that seems to be where I'm seeing the most movement to OS X. Something that's really important here is that these people are influencers that non-technical people look to for advice.

There's obviously some additional factors at play other than just Apple's products and marketing since the latest NPD stats show that Apple has an astounding 66% retail marketing in machines over $1,000 in the US last quarter. Now this is exceptionally interesting when you figure that most corporations don't buy retail, so this is truly the general public's voice speaking here. It means that when individuals are ready to put down a serious amount of their own money, they're choosing the Mac.

The pessimist pundits are all saying that the reason is because Apples are more expensive, but that's only part of the picture. The fact that these are the figures while we're in an economic downturn, combined with totally flat PC growth means that the high end PC market has disappeared and been replaced by the Mac market. If the numbers were more evenly distributed, or if it was also in a period of overall growth I could almost understand it. It indicates to me that people with willing to spend the money are no longer content with the cheap-PC experience and want something else.

Now it's not a vote in pure numbers, but I'm willing to bet that the people who buy the more expensive machines are also the people that carry more influence so I'd say that we're seeing the beginning of a generational shift here. I really wish I knew what the tipping point was that obliged switchers to revisit their internalized myths regarding Apple and actually take the step towards purchasing one. I'm curious. What is the catalyst that lets switchers look past their internalized myths and misconceptions?

For amusement's sake - here are a few more that I still run into today :

  • It doesn't matter since Microsoft bought Apple back when they were in trouble (referring to the 150M stock purchase back in 1997, which was more of a PR move than anything else)
  • (often nonsensically combined with) Microsoft only keeps Apple alive in order to not be a monopoly
  • Apples are really chatty on the network (referring to the obsolete Appletalk protocol)