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Hiawatha Bray Asks "Why Switch? Do You Hate Your PC That Much?"

Hiawatha Bray Asks "Why Switch? Do You Hate Your PC That Much?"

by , 4:00 PM EDT, September 9th, 2002

In what we see as an interesting, as in peculiar, article, Hiawatha Bray, long-time tech pundit for the Boston Globe, has written a piece called "Apple's good, but that's no reason to switch," that asks his readers why they should Switch to the Mac. The interesting aspect comes out of Mr. Bray's technique for showing how users should most likely stay with Windows: he talks about all the great points of Apple hardware and Jaguar (Mac OS X 10.2). From the article:

Apple Computer Inc. would have you abandon your Intel-based computer running Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system, and buy an Apple Macintosh instead. Apple's spending millions on a series of amusing, sharp-elbowed TV ads, featuring frustrated PC users who've finally seen the light. Apple says the ads are bringing thousands of Windows users into their retail stores to check out the Macintosh.

These shoppers won't be disappointed. Apple makes the best desktop computer hardware in the world. And OS X Jaguar, the newest Mac operating system, is powerful stuff, an improved version of what was already a very impressive operating system.

"Still, why switch?" Mr. Bray asks. According to him, claims of instability in the Windows world may have been true in the early days of Windows, but with Windows 2000 and XP, it is rock solid. He also says that Jaguar is equally stable. From the article:

OS X Jaguar, based on the robust Unix operating system, has so far proven quite reliable as well. And it's blessed with many consumer-friendly features. Like the original OS X, Jaguar includes the excellent iPhoto and iMovie software for storing and editing photos and home videos, and the iTunes music and Internet radio software. To these, Jaguar has added an instant messaging client, compatible with America Online's AOL Instant Messenger software. There's a built-in e-mail program with a spam filter that skimmed off nearly all the junk mail it encountered, while leaving the good stuff untouched.

And there's the latest version of Sherlock, with a bounty of new benefits. Put in a zip code, and you see what's playing in every nearby movie theater. You can buy the tickets from inside Sherlock, and even view the movie trailer. It's eye candy at its coolest.

Following some small negative things he has noticed, he notes the US$799 iMac as the cheapest Mac available, something easily and often overlooked by people commenting on Apple's ability to compete. Adding in the costs of upgrading your software, he asks "Do you hate your PC that much?" He then closes by saying more positive things about the Mac:

None of this is meant to scare readers away from the Mac. If you do lots of multimedia work, if you're a computer novice, or you just hate Windows, by all means check out Jaguar. But why abandon Windows in the process? One of Jaguar's best improvements means that you won't have to.

OS X comes with Samba, the open-source software program that lets non-Windows computers share files and printers with Windows machines over a network. The Samba software found in the first version of Mac OS X was difficult to use. But in Jaguar, Samba just works. Plug into a network with a shared Windows machine, and the Mac automatically ''sees'' the PC and all of its files.

And there they are - a versatile PC and an elegant Mac, side by side, brothers under the silicon. Why switch?

You can read the full article at the Boston Globe's Web site.

The Mac Observer Spin:

It's a strange pitch, to be sure. Apple has the best hardware, and a great OS, so why switch? Hiawatha Bray has had a colorful history with commentary on the Mac platform, often being antagonistic, with the occasional nice comment. This piece has its share of criticism, but it mostly reads like a positive review of Apple and its products.

With a very mainstream readership, his words reach lots of consumer types, and we think it is possible that many of those people will also notice how positive this article really is. In particular, the sentence "Do you hate your PC that much?" is sure to resonate with many people, because they do... hate... their... PCs... that... much. Mr. Bray's column will sell some Macs for Apple.

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