It should be no suprise to the IT world that Apple Computer has been a true innovator of the computer industry. Whether it be through new products, new interfaces or simply new ideas, Apple has always found a way to impress and awe techies abroad.

Now, I have more-often-than-not been one of those impressed and at the same time I always ask myself ‘why don’t I go get one of those iMacs?‘ or better yet ‘why don’t I make my first laptop a PowerBook?‘. The response I give usually give myself is one of ‘we live in a PC world, it’s not worth the inconvenience‘ or ‘the dollar doesn’t go too far in the Apple store‘ — which isn’t necessarily correct either.

A couple weeks ago Apple announced the release of the new Mac Mini — bringing a lower price point, smaller form factor than ever before available at Apple. Riding the popularity of the iPod and its ‘click-wheel’, the Mac Mini just might be what us PC users needed to convince us to switch. Or is it enough? Charles Jade’s “Real Conclusion” suggests it is!

For the majority, I would say the Mac Mini just might be what we were waiting for. When I think of the people around me there are really only a few classes of users — Beginners (this is Mom and Dad), Intermediate (the ones that know just enough to get them into trouble) and the Elite (read: hackers). Judging from my experiences of providing assistance to those around me, I would have to say most of the users fall into the Beginner category with the remainder split between the Intermediates and the Elite. Now, taking a look at what these Beginners are using their computers for: Email, Internet Browsing, downloading music and downloading digital photos from their Digital cameras — all things the Mac does very well. Heck, the Mac is even much less vulnerable to the everyday viruses than the MS run PC. So it seems for those who are new with computers, or those that have had a PC collecting dust over the years; picking a Mac vs a PC is really a matter of convenience and is often influenced by those around them. It’s all too convenient to just go pick up a PC as it’s actually a bit of a task to even find a store selling Macs. Similarily, those helping these beginners buying their computers are likely biased towards the PC simply out of popularity and market use.

When looking at the Intermediate and Elite users, I see more resistance but also more curiosity towards the Mac. While it may not be worth the loss of productivity for the Elite, it will surely give a nice alternative for a multimedia system that can tie into the power the multimedia editing, iPod+iTunes compatibility, and the extensibility of AirTunes all while styling up our offices and homes. The technologies and designs that the folks at Apple have been coming out with over the years, no doubt, are far superior but still not perfect.

In conclusion, there are still a number of key issues such as the all-too-familiar ‘I have all this PC software that I can’t afford to leave behind’ or ‘I can’t the lost productivity of learning the basics of using Mac’ or… the list goes on. Sure, these are very good points but there is no disputing that the design, features and technology you will find with a Mac are just plain better. Heck, if all our kids grow up learning how to use Mac computers in elementary schools, why can’t the rest of us take a step back and think to ourselves: ‘if the 5 year olds can use these things, then surely I could use it’.

I know for myself, when I go get my next home computer I won’t be so quick to dish out my hard earned $$$ on the PC but rather it will be a job for the Microsoft to convince me their new OS will truely be worth it this time.

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