In a recent thread in GQ, I pointed out (admittedly, in a hijack) that Apple Computer’s new PowerMac G4 is, out of the box, technically superior in many ways to easily obtainable Wintell machines.
Or something like that.
TheNerd contended that he could, for less money, “build a PC that will kick it’s candy colored ass.”
So, here is the way I see the whole issue. I am going to list some things, point by point:
[li]Apple Computer is a unique company; it builds PC’s and writes the software that runs them. No one else since IBM has attempted to do this, and IBM failed at it. Occupying this unique niche makes Apple very difficult to understand, and even tougher to compete with.[/li][li]As I understand it, Apple’s new strategy is not to build the best computers in the world; it is to build the easiest computers in the world to use. I mean, they scored big with the iMac, which really did get from the box to the internet in less than 5 minutes. Now, every system they market is designed to get out of the box and be useful, immediately.[/li][li]Apple is dedicated to technical innovation:[/li][list]
[li]They were the first company to build boxes with USB ports, right?[/li][li]They were the first to ship a PC with no floppy drive, forcing users to adopt ethernet and the internet as “standard” ways to get data on and off of their Hard Drives.[/li][li]They were the first company to ship a PC with an optical mouse.[/li][li]They were the first company to ship a PC with Wireless Networking capability.[/li][li]They were the first company to ship a PC with Gigabit Ethernet built in.[/li][li]They were the first company to ship PC’s with no fans.[/li][li]They were the first company to ship PC’s with software like iMovie, making the creation of edited Home Movies a snap.[/li][li]They were the first company to ship PC’s with standard dual processors.[/li][li]They were the first company to write an OS that utilized those dual processors.[/li][li]They were the first company to ship PC’s that broke the giga-flop barrier (“supercomputers”).[/li][li]They were the first company to ship PC’s with standard DVD-R drives.[/li][li]They have won more design awards than any other PC manufacturer in history.[/li][/ul]
Now. Considering all of that: Here is my assertion:
Given all of Apple’s technical innovation, unique niche and stated marketing strategy, their role is to provide all-in-one, easy to use, personal computers for all levels of the vertical PC market.
Of course, other software and hardware companies can make lower-cost products. They can also produce better products. (See, TheNerd, you were right!) But, Apple provides units that exceed the needs of most users (both novice and advanced) for a reasonable price.
So, to arrive (finally!) at my point, individuals who are inclined to enjoy the technical challenge of building and working on their own systems will enjoy Wintell machines, while those people who would rather leave that up to someone else, would be better served by Macs.