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The Apple Paradox, Closed Culture & Free-Thinking Fans 945

waderoush writes "The secrecy surrounding the expected Apple tablet computer is only the latest example of the company's famously closed and controlling culture. Yet millions of designers, musicians, and other creative professionals love their Apple products, and the Apple brand is almost synonymous with free-thinking creativity. How can a company whose philosophy of information sharing is so at odds with that of most of its customers be so successful? This Xconomy essay explores three possible explanations. 1) Closed innovation, overseen by a guiding genius like Steve Jobs, may be the only way to build such coherent, compelling products. 2) Apple's hardware turns out to be more 'open' than the company intended — Jobs originally wanted to keep third-party apps off the iPhone, for example. 3) Related to #1: customers are pragmatic about quality, and the open source and free software movements haven't produced anything remotely as useful as Mac OS X and the iPhone."
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The Apple Paradox, Closed Culture & Free-Thinking Fans

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:11AM (#30889302)

    same in Ireland

  • Re:Incorrect premise (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:11AM (#30889314) Journal

    Further the notion that "the Apple brand is almost synonymous with free-thinking creativity" is about a decade out of date.

    I spend most of my days in various professional recording studios video production houses and you see a lot fewer Macs than you used to.

  • It's number 3 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Medieval_Gnome ( 250212 ) <[medgno] [at] []> on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:17AM (#30889382) Homepage

    From my perspective, getting an Apple laptop is the easiest way to get a nice, portable laptop which runs a Unix system (which, with MacPorts, I can get all the unixy goodness) AND to make sure that the hardware is guaranteed to work. I don't need to worry about whether the new kernel broke support for ndiswrapper, I don't need to worry about the regressions in hardware support that have hit my Linuxy friends, and I have a GUI that gets as close as I've seen to the DWIM pattern.

    And I have a scriptable GUI. Say what you will about its syntax, AppleScript allows some wonderful scripting possibilities. And you can call out to a shell script, so it's also powerful :)

  • Re:Incorrect premise (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rakshasa Taisab ( 244699 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:17AM (#30889386) Homepage

    I spend most of my days in various professional recording studios video production houses and you see a lot fewer Macs than you used to.

    Funny, all the IT professionals and programmers I meet seem to be using MacBooks these days.

  • Apple sells hardware (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dwheeler ( 321049 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:20AM (#30889436) Homepage Journal
    Apple is primarily a *hardware* company - it sells Macs and iPhones, which are physical devices. Yes, it has to write software to make that hardware useful, but the software is intentionally not sold separately... you can only get the software by getting the hardware. So comparing Apple to software organizations misses the point... they're not really doing the same thing. Also, there's a lot of OSS inside the Mac (e.g., much of FreeBSD), so even if you look at the software, it's not either/or.

    The statement "haven't produced anything remotely as useful" is also nonsense. Let's see, how about the Internet, including TCP/IP and DNS? Web servers? As far as end-user products, Android phones (including Droid) and the XO are certainly useful. OSS has produced lots of useful things.

  • by dushkin ( 965522 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:27AM (#30889542) Homepage

    More like about "screw the BS, here's a quality product."

    While I do admire a lot of FOSS projects (for instance Firefox, Adium, Python) I also find that a lot of them just don't stack up to Apple in terms of features.

    For instance from the perspective of a graphic designer. OS X has probably the best font smoothing I've seen on any screen. I cringe when I have to use Windows at work. X11 doesn't compare either.

    What if I bring a new fancy printer to my ad agency office (or whatever workplace that uses macs)? I know I don't have to go machine by machine and install fancy drivers - because they're all there. I never once had to install any printer drivers on any OS X system. (There's probably an exception if we're talking about highly specialized printers, but I have no experience with those)

    Even as a "standard" user. I know my digital camera can just hook up to the computer with "that cable" and I can download pictures to "that program" and do fancy stuff with them with a drag and drop interface or even make pretty websites mom can visit with this iWeb thing. I don't like iWeb, but I've seen a lot of people using it and all they know is some word processing.

    Even the more advanced users have something for them. Just last night I quickly created a python script to take text from the command line arguments, string them together and put them in title caps. I made that into a service using automator (call it via shell script) and used System Preferences to bind it to Ctrl-Shift-T. So now whenever I select text and do that keystroke, I get text in title caps.

    Speaking of this Automator thing, I wish I could use it at work. I have an excel report I have to prepare on a daily basis for several clients. I made a script at home that I can drag a file on to and it attaches that file to an email, types my standard greeting, puts the correct addresses and puts the date in the subject line. I end up doing that manually at work simply because Outlook/Excel suck at this stuff.

    Actually, if my corp's ERP system ran on a Mac, I'd probably bring my laptop... Or maybe I'll virtualize it?

  • by Datamonstar ( 845886 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:36AM (#30889668)
    in Century of The Self. [] This is an amazing documentary that makes me question the motives of everyone trying to sell me something. I only started watching it two days ago and Apple was one of the first companies on my mind and now here's a news article practically about the same thing.
  • Re:Incorrect premise (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hitmark ( 640295 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:38AM (#30889724) Journal

    the response i get when i say i would favor thinkpads over macbooks, is that the thinkpads have boring design.

    at that point i start to wonder how much of the macbook craze is about sitting at some "starbucks" with a macbook on the table, looking like a up and coming artist working on the next bestseller book or song...

  • Re:I'm off-duty (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:40AM (#30889756) Homepage Journal

    Actually, there is some correlation between creativity and homosexuality; you'll find a larger percentage of gays in art school than studying any other discipline.

    I don't remember that many gays (some, but not that many), but there were a lot of left-handers... And crazy art chicks. THAT was memorable.

    If you want to take a dip in the gay pool, it's the theater you'll want to visit, rather than the art gallery.

  • by viking099 ( 70446 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:41AM (#30889770)

    ~$300 MSI Wind netbook, plus a copy of OS X, and you've got a nice little Hackintosh.

    And enough money to buy a brand new Delta Unisaw for your house, if you want.

  • Re:Incorrect premise (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:49AM (#30889918)

    The lack of Intel processors the first half of last decade went a long way towards that. Programs like Lightwave and Maya began optimizing their rendering engines for x86. By 2005 there was a stark difference rendering times on PPC and Intel machines with Intel beating the crap out of the PPC. Plus some of the larger shops began supporting Maya on Linux. Especially for their render farms.

    That being said, I dealt with those on the small to medium side of the house almost all went Mac primarily for the software. I know a of shops that used dedicated NLA devices for editing in the 1990's and then went to Final Cut Pro. I know many more who switched from Premiere on the PC to FCP on mac because Premiere 6 was highly unstable on a lot of Windows boxes compared to FCP 3. Then Apple acquired Shake and made sure that Shake + a PowerMac/MacPro cost the same as Shake for Linux. And then dropped the price to $500 for OSX three months after I paid $3k for the software....

  • Re:Incorrect premise (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BlackHawk-666 ( 560896 ) <> on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:50AM (#30889922) Homepage

    4-5 years, and it's still working a treat.

  • by hitmark ( 640295 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:53AM (#30889956) Journal

    i keep wondering what jobs would have been doing now if he never had known woz, and talked him into selling his computer design fully assembled.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:55AM (#30889986)

    Do not confuse free and open. A free thinking person has his own idea's and does not mind what others think of it. A free thinking person does not need constant approval. So the apple way of developing products reflect the way freethinker Steve Jobs works.

  • by buddyglass ( 925859 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:55AM (#30889992)
    For the record, I've had OS X crash on me more often than Windows XP. But then I'm neither the typical Mac user nor the typical Windows user.
  • by vtTom ( 591066 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:55AM (#30889994)
    The author is confusing "free-thinking" with democratic values. In my experience, creativity usually flows from primarily 1 person. Either that person is alone (like an artist in their studio) or a dictatorial over-lord calling the shots (eg. a stage or movie director, or a music conductor or producer). So, "free-thinking" should not really imply an open, democratic environment. If you think of it this way, these "free-thinking" artists are not all that unlike Apple after all.
  • Re:Incorrect premise (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bill_the_Engineer ( 772575 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:57AM (#30890032)

    What is being discussed is whether or not individuals who are part of a cult-like self-reinforcing hivemind can be considered "freethinking".

    The exact same thing can be said for Linux fans, Windows fans, or any other clique.

    I heard something this morning about the "hidden brain" on NPR's Morning Edition, and the author was explaining how the choices we make may not entirely come from our "rational" conscious mind. I know I'm butchering this up so go find a podcast, but your "hidden brain" is rather dumb and makes its choices by what is sees as prevalent in the environment around them.

    So this could be:

    "I like Windows - because everybody around me uses windows." or
    "I think Apple Users are gay, because I observe that 1) the "creative artists" in popular culture appear to be gay, and 2) I see Apple is creative with their designs therefore they must be gay too." or
    "I like Apple because I observe a lot of Windows machines crash and have viruses" or
    "I like linux because I observe a lot of nerds uses it and I want to be a nerd too."

    Anyway, it's just a theory...

    I like Apples myself and I'm not gay and I don't think all my scientist colleagues which use Macs are either... not that there is anything wrong with being gay (Sienfield Reference).

    Use what you are happy with, everything else is an illusion.

  • Re:I'm off-duty (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NotBornYesterday ( 1093817 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:59AM (#30890056) Journal
    That depends on the "you" doing the buying. My daughter is in college, and although she doesn't like to admit it, she wanted her MacBook because of its coolness factor, not just what it can do. That, and she hates Windows. With that being said, it does suit her needs nicely.
  • But they work (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shis-ka-bob ( 595298 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:02AM (#30890120)
    I have two daughters in college. One bought a Dell laptop and the other bought an MacBook. The MacBook as been flawless and the Dell is the biggest lemon I have ever seen. The motherboard, hard drive and graphics card were replaced under warranty. The replacement graphics card is starting to fail (leading to multiple reboots a day). At least compared to Dell, Apple products are reliable and easy to use. If you compare Apple laptops with similarly configured PCs, the Apples are cost competitive. So is works better and costs the same means 'status symbol', I'm all for it.
  • Re:Incorrect premise (Score:3, Interesting)

    by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:13AM (#30890260)

    Use anything you want. Put it into VirtualBox. It's free. Ubuntu? XP? Doesn't matter.

    This whole thing is religious sucker-bait. Buy what you want. You don't need to pick up the dogma, just make it work and have fun.

    The zeolotry here is stupefying. Yeah, it's slashdot, but don't you see a left-hook coming these days?

    The best thing to do: short Apple stock. The tablet's going to be too expensive, and there's always a peak then dip right after the peak when Apple suckers up the buying public. If it's worth it, I'll buy one. But Apple's manipulation of the press is at an all-time peak. Fuck that.

    The trick they use is one Microsoft learned long ago: keep everyone hovering around your stuff, so that this process excludes you/distracts you from other good stuff in the marketplace. Once released, let everyone fight about the details while Apple cashes the check. Are you going to let them do that to you again???????

  • Re:wrong assumptions (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gander666 ( 723553 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:15AM (#30890296) Homepage

    Programmers are about the only kind who feel that putting a half-finished thing out for the public is the thing to do.

    Wow, you hit the nail on the proverbial head there.

    I am a product manager. I firmly believe in not releasing half baked product, and "banana" products (you know, they "ripen" in the field). But I am under extreme pressure from senior managers to release earlier, and to communicate what is coming in the pipeline way too early.

    I applaud that Apple has the discipline to limit outbound communications until the launch.

  • Re:I'm off-duty (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bakkster ( 1529253 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .nam.retskkaB.> on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:16AM (#30890314)

    You don't buy a computer because of its culture, you buy it because it serves you purposes better than other brands. For a long time, Apple made the only computers that you could do art on; the Mac was graphic when DOS was text-only.

    I'd say it's more because if you're an artistic person, you don't want to fuck around with the technicals that don't relate with what you do. You want to buy a computer that works to your specifications out of the box, because that's more time for artsy stuff. Macs fit that bill pretty well, so of course it's a good thing for the 'technical' side (Apple engineering) to be as closed as possible, letting the artists who use the product actually use it, rather than customizing or working out compatibility issues.

  • by Cogneato ( 600584 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:22AM (#30890412) Homepage

    to enjoy the results.

    As a designer, I can appreciate the results of other creative people without needing to know exactly how they got there. As I think about the other things in my life: art, music, furniture, car, food... in all of those cases I take the time to seek out people that have worked hard to develop their own creative processes to make something that I consider wonderful. In the vast majority of those case, I have never asked "how was this created," but instead simply accept that it was and that it adds to my life in a positive way. This very much mirrors how I would hope people would see what I create... so I think it make perfect sense for creative-types to enjoy the work of other creative-types without even considering the process.

    Of course, that is not to say those that revel in the process shouldn't enjoy the things that they do... just don't mistake your way of experiencing the world with that of someone else.

  • by fusiongyro ( 55524 ) <faxfreemosquito AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:22AM (#30890414) Homepage

    Another explanation would be that this behavior is simply in keeping with their brand archetype, the magician. Apple obviously pays close attention to the way their products are received; they've had many failures. However, unlike their competition, they have no trouble burying a bad idea quickly. Do you remember the iPod BoomBox []? Do you remember the Motorola Rokr []? Apple notices when their stuff isn't well received and then it's gone.

    By the same token, you don't expect the magician to hang out with the audience after the show. Merlin does not pass out a Rate My Performance card. Nor does Merlin hope to see you at Comdex. Being aloof is simply part of the brand identity, and you can't do that if you let each little division have their own blog.

  • by itsdapead ( 734413 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:25AM (#30890464)

    Proprietary formats anyone?

    Which proprietary formats are those? The only annoying ones I can think of are the iTunes DRM (which is being phased out) and the (not unrelated) iPod interface protocol. Of course, without that they'd never have got permission for the iTunes store and woudn't have put a rocket under the legal online music business...

  • Re:Incorrect premise (Score:3, Interesting)

    by slim ( 1652 ) <> on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:25AM (#30890466) Homepage

    An excellent track pad, not a track nipple

    It's a matter of preference. I must have a mouse nipple - I can't get on with trackpads at all.

    In fact, if I'd been considering a MacBook, that might just be the dealbreaker.

  • Re:Incorrect premise (Score:3, Interesting)

    by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:27AM (#30890498)

    I really recommend you try a MacBook's track pad one of these days. I completely agreed with you until I tried one. These days my favoured input devices are (in order of preference):

    1. Graphics Tablet
    2. Apple Trackpad
    3. Mouse
    4. Track Ball
    5. Track Nipple
    6. Track Pad not made by apple

    Yes, you read that right, I actually prefer using an apple track pad over a mouse.

  • datapoint (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Outland Traveller ( 12138 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:31AM (#30890572)

    I have an Apple laptop (more like, portable workstation) and I bought it after numerous computer-generations of all kinds of PC laptops, some quite expensive and focused on gaming/performance. I've had it for a year now and I can say that it is the *only* laptop I've ever owned where I've been completely satisfied with the build and service quality. Having a top-flight desktop with an uncompromising unix shell is quite nice too. For gaming I dual boot.

    BTW, for a more mainstream data point, the Apple laptops swept Consumer Reports "most recommended buy" in multiple categories recently.

    Despite being from a "closed" company, it gives me a platform that lets me natively run Linux, Windows, and MacOSX. It offers more choices. Development tools are much easier to come by as well.

  • Re:Incorrect premise (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lawpoop ( 604919 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:39AM (#30890710) Homepage Journal
    I just got done hearing a report from a young guy who suffered amnesia in India. He was a Fullbright scholar studying for a year, but when he came to, he had no idea where he was or what he was doing, or even who he was. He got taken into drug rehab because people thought he was a heroin user. He bought into this storyline because he had absolutely no basis for challenging it. He finally called his parents and started apologizing profusely for being a bad son. "We just talked to you on Tuesday".

    He said that the only clues he had as to who he was were how other people treated him, so he totally went with it. There seems to be a mental need to conform to your surroundings and other people's expectations of you.

    I think this was the last story on This American Life. Yay for NPR! :)
  • Re:Incorrect premise (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Angst Badger ( 8636 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:39AM (#30890712)

    Sturdier - since a) apple introduced their unibody aluminium cases and b) lenovo started making IBM's designs into utter crud

    That's at least partially true -- Apple's notebooks are quite solidly constructed. However, I never had an IBM-era ThinkPad fail on me, including the one I toted around for ten years for notetaking and word processing long after I'd replaced it with a more recent model for work. As far as I can tell so far, most of the new Lenovo ThinkPads are also pretty good, though there are occasionally exceptions, which is true of all manufacturers.

    An excellent track pad, not a track nipple

    Every ThinkPad I've had has both, and I prefer the nipple and disable the trackpad. I don't care to waste my time making repeated motions on a trackpad to achieve what I can in a single gesture with the trackpoint.

    Really good quality IPS screens

    Granted. Screen quality varies pretty widely across ThinkPad models, though I've never had any complaints with mine.

    MagSafe power connectors

    Whatever. Never had any problems with the connectors on any brand of laptop I've owned.

    A really good quality keyboard - with backlighting

    Backlighting? That's not a feature, it's a bug. I learned to type thirty years ago. I don't hunt and peck in broad daylight, much less in a darkened corner of the local Starbucks.

    If you like Apple's products, good for you. They are not, however, the only manufacturers of decent hardware, and tastes differ. The Apple style that Apple fans like repels me, personally, and no doubt they dislike the appearance of my preferred machines. Big deal. We probably own different cars and different brands of shoes. There are people who affect a stance of superiority over that bullshit, too.

  • Re:Incorrect premise (Score:2, Interesting)

    by theTechnophile ( 824578 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:40AM (#30890732) Homepage Journal

    Really good quality IPS screens

    A really good quality keyboard - with backlighting

    There are no Macbooks with IPS screens. There have never been any Macbooks with IPS screens. Instead, the new ones all have that glossy crap on them. A really good keyboard? Any keyboard that lacks home/page up/page down/delete/end in the proper place is worthless.

  • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:44AM (#30890812)

    Seriously though, my college aged daughter says the PC we sent off to school with is not good enough. She _needs_ an Mac. When asked why she can't say specifically why a Mac would be a better choice other than "everyone" has one. It's the way the product has been marketed - as a tool for the elite or more discriminating user. Translation, status symbol.

    Well, one advantage to the Mac I've found is things simply "just work" much more often than on a PC. I use a MacBook at work; paid for it myself even though I also have a Dell. With Office I have no compatibility issues; and the Mac has been much easier to use on the road than the Dell. For example:

    At one of our partners, I am the only person from my company that can print on their network. My Mac found their Bonjour printer and i am good to go; despite installing Bonjour on the PC's they can't seem to print.

    I was conducting a seminar when the PC used to project video decide it no longer liked talking to the projector. So I plugged a video adapter in my Mac and it recognized the new output, re-sized the screen and we were back in business - in less than 5 minutes.

    The only thing I miss is games; and if I really wanted to play them I'd setup a bootcamp partition. Parallels works fine for non-game apps I use that have no Mac counterpoint; Crossover works well and is another options; as is Sun's free VM.

    The Mac is not perfect; but it is a damn fine machine that works; and is priced on par with equivalent PCs; if you get one at the educational price during the annual back to school free "iPod" sale it's even more price competitive. There's plenty of FOSS solutions that obliviate the need to buy MS products; and if you really need Office MS sells it for around $70 at most campuses.

    I speak from experience when I say a MacBook with Neo Office meets most college student's needs; adding a VM generally will take care of the rest. Apple's support is pretty darn good as well; I've had 3 Macs with keyboard cracks, where the cover rests on the keyboard, fixed for free even though the warranty had long expired. Applecare's phone support is pretty darned good as well.

    Of course, there is a down side. When I wear a bow-tie at a client meeting I get the occasional "I figured you'd use a Mac as well" when I pull out my MacBook. Then again, I divide the world into two camps - Those who see my Marvin the Martian watch and say "Cool;" and those who simply back away frowning. I prefer to work with the former; life's to short to waste on up-tight clients.

  • by BemoanAndMoan ( 1008829 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @12:32PM (#30891722)

    I switched to Mac from PC because I grew tired of Windows enforcing its dull, witless paradigms on me, but there are many things I actually miss about Windows/hate in Mac culture:

    • With Windows, I could quickly find solutions to problems via forums, where most responses to Mac issues include countless "I refuse to acknowledge your criticism of my Apple product" or more often "but it's shiny" responses ... most often you have to reply multiple times with "yes, it is shiny, but I would really like it to do this ..." before finally giving up and living with the issue (example, I don't need to see my desktop when working in Photoshop ... wtf would I want to see unrelated content of any kind??? ... but too bad live with it)
    • Mac has some serious/conflicting usability issues (come on, who builds both a three-control key keyboard and a single-button mouse?) like having the apple key (core to most actions) only on the left side of the keyboard ('suck on it, lefty!' seems to be the message) ... but heaven forbid you ever suggest this in public
    • Apple's no-competition-when-playing-in-our-house philosophy (message: Apple, your iPhone email app sucks big time; no marking 'all read', no 'send only' accounts, no .... you get the idea) hints of an arrogance and hubris that is counter-apple-culture
    • The intellectual vacuum that exists in fanboyism causes the same sort of negative progress in the Mac arena as the self-entitlement that Windows brought to its own products. If you can't question God, how can you evolve?

    Anyway, at least it *is* shiny.

  • Re:Incorrect premise (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ircmaxell ( 1117387 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @12:49PM (#30892006) Homepage
    I think that your calling the ThinkPad a "piece of shit" is more a testament about you than the machine. Note: I'm not calling you a "piece of shit", I'm saying that you're not able to leverage what the ThinkPad has to offer (Just like I'm not able to leverage what the MacBook has to offer). It doesn't mean that the device itself is flawed. Just your relationship to the device is flawed. Let me explain (I own a ThinkPad T61p):

    - First off, you say that the battery life is better on the mac. My thinkpad gets around 4.5 hours out of a battery, and I can swap that out if I need more time. Plus, if I really want, I can swap my CD drive for a battery which will net me about another 2 to 3 hours. So with 2 main batteries and 1 cd drive battery, I can get around 11 hours of run time without going into standby or sleep...
    - Multi-touch trackpad. I do admit, it is quite cool what you can do with that trackpad. However, realize that I can do just about everything it can do without moving my hand from the keyboard. Go back or forward in the browser? There are keys for that above the directional keys. Scroll? PageUp/Down. Go to "expose" style app switcher? Alt-Win-Tab... Is it for everyone? No, but I found that once I got used to the keyboard, my productivity went through the roof, while wrist strain went away (not moving hands as much)...
    - Built in camera/mic. The thinkpads do have a built in mic. The camera is an option. To me, this isn't a big deal, since I don't use the camera that much.
    - Nice display. My T61 has a 1920x1200 WUXGA screen which is capable of displaying native 1080p. The only MacBook that could do that is a 17" pro (mine's a 15"). The screen I have is amazing. Not saying that there aren't better screens, but why should I pay more of something that I don't need?
    - Fingerprint Scanner. I've NEVER had a mis-read. It has always read my fingerprints correctly the first time, every time. Perhaps you're using an inconsistent technique?
    - No OSX. This is my favorite argument. People say that Mac hardware is better because it can run OSX. Using that as an argument is like saying that a Ferrari is better than a Lamborghini because Red is sexier than Yellow. If Apple wanted to make OSX available for non-Mac computers, they could and this argument would be non-existent. But to detract from the HARDWARE of one manufacturer because it won't run the software of another is silly. That's the fault of Apple, so if anything it should be a detraction of Apple, not IBM...
    - Magsafe. I like to move around with my laptop. I'm not stupid about it. I don't just grab and run with it. I can tell if its still plugged in. However, if I turn in my chair, I would rather have the slight tug of a chord telling me not to go any further than to have to keep finding the chord and plugging it back in. I'm not saying Magsafe is bad for everyone. Just that I would rather have a firm, secure connection to the wall rather than something that'll pop out every time I sneeze...

    The only thing in your list which I would concede is weight. But that's why I have an X200 at work. The x200 is small (12" screen), portable and light. Yet it still has most of the qualities of the T61. To me, weight doesn't matter with a desktop replacement laptop. Ease of portability just isn't one of my criteria...

    I'm not saying that Apple hardware sucks (it's very good actually). I'm also not saying that the Thinkpads are better than the Apple ones in an absolute manor. What I am saying is that it comes down to your interaction with the hardware that makes it right for you. Saying that Thinkpads are "pieces of shit" is exactly the same as the issue I have with most Mac fanatics. Because you like it better doesn't make it better... It makes it better for YOU.
  • by ChuckG ( 9015 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @12:51PM (#30892034)

    Now I'll admit I'm a Mac fanboy (in a good sense) and an M$ hater (in a bad sense) but this comment really clicks with me.

    I've found iTunes frustrating to use and I've found movement of data between iTunes, GarageBand and iDVD obtuse when first learning it. In one application the files are in one place in another application they are in another kind of place and you have to go dig through menus to import the files. Once you've learned it, it works but it is far from intuitive. I think that Apple software has been skating on the edge of unfriendly lately altho there are certainly startlingly innovative interfaces being created by them.

    I've been a programmer for 40 years and I'm f*ing tired of continuously battling computers. That's why I switched to Macs a while ago at home. When I'm doing my stuff at home, I don't want to have to worry about some bleeding registry or parameters buried in some /etc file that I can't find or read. But when I'm at work, I don't want to have to dig through a hierarchy of menus, dialogs and "Advanced" buttons to find out where to change something. When configuring system software on an M$ machine I don't know whether to laugh at the incompetence of the creators or cry in my frustration. On a Mac it is marginally better but still convoluted. Since I don't have to do it so often on a Mac, it doesn't hurt as much.

  • by Damn The Torpedoes ( 1279448 ) <> on Monday January 25, 2010 @01:06PM (#30892292)

    I've always been into computers, and was a die-hard Windows fan until the Intel macs were released. I made the switch, and haven't looked back; HOWEVER, I didn't make the switch "to be cool (as was discussed above)," nor did I make it because windows = bad, apple = good. IMHO, they're both computer industry giants whose main interest is (ding!) PROFITS.

    That being said, I'm in the "Free-thinking" business; music is what I do, it's who I am. I choose Mac, NOT because of it's affiliation with the "young, hip, etc." crowd, but because when it comes down to it, Macs are simply more stable than Windows. The MAJORITY of creative software - audio, in my case, but artwork and video as well - is run on macs. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of great software selections on PC; however, when I walk into a studio (and this also goes for film/photo editing) chances are 9/10 times the main computer will be a mac, typically running Pro Tools (which also runs on windows). The reasoning behind this lies in the fact that Pro Tools, and pretty much every major Digital Audio Workshop (DAW) runs incredibly stable on the Mac. Pro Tools doesn't even support Windows 7 yet! The thousands of high quality plug-ins out there for purchase? They all run incredibly stable on a mac, too. Why? Because Mac has become the "creative" industry standard, an attribute largely due to its stability in the first place.

    As a music professional, I take great care to make sure my data stays uncorrupted. I back up EVERYTHING multiple times, JUST in case my computer crashes/gets wiped, etc. My computer IS my office. I wouldn't be able to do what I do without one (unless I have an analog studio - anyone want to invest $30,000?). I don't need the cost-effectiveness of a PC, I need the guaranteed stability that comes with buying a mac.

    On a different note: Apple's do-it-yourself recording, filming and photo editing software is big business. It remains powerful enough to produce professional art, while remaining cheap enough for practically anyone (college hipster kids included) to purchase. Tie that into a couple generations of internet users who drown themselves in media, and what do you get? A few million you-tube directors who all want macs, because it's what the professionals use, and there's a chance in hell their parents might actually buy it for them.

  • Re:Incorrect premise (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rgigger ( 637061 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @01:16PM (#30892498)

    Wish I could mod this up to 6. This is not that hard to understand. Assume my options are Linux, Mac, Windows.

    Linux: It's just not that easy to get everything that you want to use working. Just cause you are a geek doesn't mean that this is your setup: []
    Windows: cmd.exe anyone?
    Mac: bash, MacPorts to install all the OSS stuff, MS Office since I don't think that responding to client emails by asking them to send it in a "non-secret" format would go over very well ( Also Flash, as much as I hate it it's what you need to watch internet video right now. From a practical standpoint it really is the best of both worlds, and the software options are already great and getting better every day.

    You don't need to be open minded or even that smart to see why this is an appealing option.

  • Okay. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by phmadore ( 1391487 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @01:21PM (#30892598) Homepage Journal
    This is the most boring argument on the internet. But I will say that I switched to Mac because I could afford it and because I was tired of the same-old with Windows. I paid about $300 more for this Mac than I paid for my last PC, which was about a thousand bucks. I bought the basement Macbook. It wasn't until I bought my first iPod in 2008 that I even considered buying a Mac. I first got an old iBook and tried it out, just to get a feel for the system. Then in March 2009 I finally bought this Macbook, and I have no intention of going back. There are very few times I've been anywhere near as frustrated with this system as I used to be on Windows. I also think the prevalence of people who pirate Windows is very telling: you love it so much but you're not willing to pay for it. It's like stealing a car with three wheels. I get all my work done faster and more efficiently on my Mac. I'm less distracted by viruses and other things that used to suck up an exorbitant amount of time in my computing. Since I've switched, three of my friends have switched when it came time to buy new computers. They of course gave mine a try first. The truth is that most people aren't wanting to play games and do all this other bullshit that Windows users are talking about. The other truth is that the crazy Mac users you're talking about, the ones who think they're better than everyone else, they are more easily identifiable by their or e-mail addresses. That shows true, baseless loyalty. I can think of two times I got angry at Apple. One of them was unrelated to my experience, the other was directly related. In both cases I made my resolutions. I own more Apple products now than anyone I know. And I see no reason to switch back to the wide and virus-infested world of PC computing. I also have a Linux netbook and an IBM thinkpad, both running Ubuntu. I use those for specific purposes. This Mac is my general purpose computer, and pound for pound I spent a lot less on it--I won't upgrade for another three years, you'll surely be upgrading next year. Shit, the iBook would have suited me just fine had it about 200Mhz more. And that's the truth, and that's all I have. Fuck Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. I make my decisions based on my needs, not my image, and people who criticize me for using a better computer well, fuck you too.
  • The loudest debators in a topic are the ones that are cost-constrained. I don't debate consoles because I have all or them. I don't debate OSX vs Linux vs Windows because I have all of them.

  • Re:Free-thinking? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sbeckstead ( 555647 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @02:10PM (#30893244) Homepage Journal
    Most people I know who bash mac people for being extreme fanboys are also terrible at recognizing the fact that they are in fact extreme fanboys themselves of well several things, themselves included (yes they generally have this attitude that their opinions are more valid than any one else's).
    And this like nearly all generalizations and comments about apocryphal things like "most people I know..." is completely inaccurate and insulting in general.

    It's a bad development when you think simply because these people happen to like and support one particular hardware platform that they are not generally free thinkers.

    Modding the parent of this post as insightful is a bit like modding a post funny that insults several groups of people simultaneously simply because you aren't in any of the groups insulted.
  • Re:Free-thinking? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Enrique1218 ( 603187 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:59PM (#30894726) Journal
    Maybe free thinking is not uniform across the many aspects of life. For instance, I am a scientist. I am the most creative in my chosen field which is applied physics. I used Macintosh for 10 years and will not seriously consider anything else. I believe Linux to be unpolished and Windows to be buggy and bloated. That may or may not be true now but it was true when I used them last. I am not free thinking when it comes to my computers. Apples always work and require the least amount of maintenance over their life. From purchase to disposal, I spend little time worrying about my computer and more time being creative in my field. I personally like it that way.

To be a kind of moral Unix, he touched the hem of Nature's shift. -- Shelley