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Feature: Is it time to get a Mac?
Five years ago if I said to the average computer user “It’s time to get a Mac”, their reaction would be “Yeah, right”. A Mac had an “upscale” stigma to it that Apple couldn’t shake. According to USAToday, in 2004 only 3.2 percent of home computers were Macs. In May of 2007, that had changed to 7.6.
Now to put some other numbers into the mix, the average person will get a new computer every 3 years. If you’ve had a computer since 1998, then you have purchased at least 3 computers in your lifetime. So is the 3rd computer going to be a Mac? If so, would you still use your old PC?
It’s no secret that Apple Macs have been gaining popularity. With Intel inside, the possibility to run a Mac environment AND a Windows environment has really made the Mac versital. Of course it helps to have a slim, new age look to it.
As I sit at my favorite coffee shop I glance over at who else is typing away on a computer. In front of me is a couple that look like they have purchased their first laptop and are using the WIFI to search the internet for the first time. They are on a PC. To the right of me is a young lady who is surfing the internet on her bright red Macbook.
The majority of machines running right now in this coffee shop are PC. In rough figures, it seems PC’s overpower Macs 5 to 1 here. But the more interesting thing is as I glance across the shop, 3 people have an iPhone, and I seem to have the only Windows based Smartphone. So Apple overtakes that: 3 to 1.
The introduction of the iPhone and iPod have definitely played a big part in Apple marketshare. Last week Steve Jobs announced that the iPhone is the #2 Smartphone in sales. 28% of the market with 4 million iPhones sold.
“Do you want a Mac with that iPhone?”
One thing that Mac has to get over is what I call the “McDonalds familiarity”. A long time ago, McDonalds adopted a plan to try and make each restaurant look identical to another. As you walk in the door, the counter is to the left and the bathroom is to the right. There are McDonalds that don’t follow that plan - those are either in a Mall or in a confined space.
Still, people know what a “Start” button does. How many know what the Mac equivalent is? How many people know how to install an application? Heck, some people still wonder why there is no secondary mouse button.
As I glance over the crowd, there is one thing that I notice hasn’t changed too dramatically. There are People here that are still using the standard spiral notebook. Why not put your notes on a personal computer? I don’t think I’ve used a spiral in a long time. Granted, I have a notepad on my desk at home to write down blurbs. I think the only reason why I haven’t adopted that into a computer realm is because I want to get that info in a seconds notice. My computers aren’t always on, but the notepad is always ready.
So what does Mac need to do so they get a better marketshare and maybe convert the PC users as well as the Spiral Notebook users? I am not sure that answer is easy.
There are still a couple quirks about their OS that I would like to see changed. For instance: By default, when I hit the “X” on the top left hand corner, I don’t close the program. I have to actually go up to the tool bar and choose “File-Quit” or hold down the mouse on the icon in the toolbar for 2 seconds to get the menu and choose “Close”.
When Microsoft switched to the “Ribbon” in Office 2007, they put out a cool flash program that would show you where the tool is. You would start in a Office 2003 look, for example, you would choose “File” and “New”, then it would switch over to Office 2007 and show you how to do that with the Ribbon. Maybe Mac needs something similar?
Apple did the right thing in putting Macs into Best Buy. The Mac stores are nice, but intermingled with PC’s is really the way to go. Even with CompUSA’s Apple stores, they were always seperated. Best Buys’ seperation is really not that much, at least at my area’s Best Buy stores.
Familiarity, repetition and sales from devices like the iPhone. That will be the keys in getting Macs in households. The more they are around it, the more they will want to stick with it. And, of course, the coolness factor has to come into play.