In Defense of Apple Computers (Not Necessarily Apple Stores) By Robyn

Apple Macbook – Late 2008 Glass MB466, originally uploaded by SileNceR_RH.


When I heard Apple might come to Georgetown, it brought up a recent memory of shopping with my brother. I had to pop in to the Apple store, and by ‘pop in,’ I mean navigate through the mass of loud teenagers poking at Iphone samples and befuddled old women walking .1 miles an hour while squinting at product descriptions, then standing in line for 20 minutes while the cashier tries to sell said old woman a neon-pink, overpriced Macbook cover. Then, if your retinas aren’t scarred from the blindingly-white, sterile design of the store, try and make it through the swarm of store employees (isn’t this a recession?) who’s only job is to bid you adieu while blocking the door. Let’s just say I’m not a fan of Apple stores.

However, I couldn’t go in, because my brother absolutely refused to set foot into the store. He actively rejects all things Apple. He choose a wonky Zune over the Ipod, is holding onto his beloved Dell laptop until it goes vintage, and rolls his eyes at the landscape of white MacBooks blanketing DC coffee shops like snow. I can understand his dismissal of all fruit-emblemed tech. Originally purchased out of necessity, Apple has now become the Urban Outfitters of the computer/electronics world. I recently went to a music swap where we all hooked our computers together and judged each other quietly while trading the latest Animal Collective album. When it came time to swap, everyone pulled out their shiny MacBooks, looked at each other, giggled in unison, and nodded slightly as if to say “Yeah, we’re Mac users.”

I didn’t buy my Mac because I needed it. While I’m not completely computer illiterate, I still have yet to grasp what makes a Mac so different than a PC (something about viruses, maybe?). I bought it because I dug the clean, simple way it looked, and the portly guy who plays PC in those annoying commercials is undeniably much less hip than Justin Long.

My argument is this – is it wrong to buy into Apple’s cool campaign? I did, and frankly I haven’t had many problems except for when my sunscreen exploded on my Ipod. Sure, PCs seem cheaper, and I’m sure they have redeeming qualities, but they’re just so square. What can I say, my name is Robyn and I’m a gullible consumer (hi, Robyn). And I’m in defense of Apple.

Who’s taken a sinful bite of Apple?


40 Comment

  • I can’t stand using my sister’s mac because, for the life of me, I can’t figure out how to copy and paste and I’m too proud to ask her.

    We are living in a PC world, and I am a PC girl.

    But I have an iPhone which knocks my socks off. Love it.

  • I bought a mac for college. Eight years later it is still running strong. I gave it to my niece and nephew, they love it. I broke down and bought a PC laptop instead of a mac for law school. It broke down after the first year, then broke down again after the second year. The price of repair the second time was comparable to buying a new one. So I broke down again and bought another PC. In the end, the economics say I should have stuck with the brand that lasted. My next computer will be a mac of some sort. I am a mac advocate.

  • Ultimately, most people don’t do any substantial work on their computer and they don’t need the fastest or the best. As such, it doesn’t matter what you get.

    That said, anecdotes aside, to say that Mac ownership costs are equal to PC is outrageous.

  • I’m not a fan of the Macs for my personal use. All I really need in a laptop is something that can run word, web apps, and play music and DVDs. I bought a $650 Dell 4 years ago for law school and I’ve never had any problems with it, still does the job just fine today. I could never justify the price of a Mac, especially since I wanted a 15″ wide screen and to get a Mac with that would have been almost triple what I paid if I recall. And don’t get me started on the one button mouse…

  • I’d been actively resisting all things Apple for as long as I can remember until I bought an iPod about 18 mos ago. Even then, it took me a year to actually use the damn thing. I admit that I have no real rational reason for this. I borrowed a friend’s MacBook for a week though and couldn’t figure out how to eject the damn CD, and had to look it up online. Seriously – it’s supposed to be intuitive to drag it to the trash to pop it out??? But mostly it’s not Apple I’m opposed to – it’s Apple enthusiasts with whom I’ve got beef. (I call this the Dave Matthews phenomena) I can admit to liking things simply because they’re pretty, but it seems like Apple enthusiasts HAVE to pretend that’s not why they spent all that money on their shiny new Apple toy. It’s like with every new trinket purchase, they’re programmed to spout the same crap about how it’s superior to all else.

    I don’t hate my iPod, and have considered buying another one (I only went in for the Nano, and space fills up quickly) but then I remember all those assholes from Cupertino who used to hang out at the TGI Fridays by the crappy mall when I used to work in Mountain View and just can’t get into joining the Cult of Jobs.

  • Buying a Mac is buying into the belief that computers should be an appliance, like a blender. They are simple, easy to use, and never need maintenance. Heck, they’re even the same color as appliances!

    For those of use that love technology, this “appliance” idea is well…constraining.

    I don’t hate Macs, I just love the endless flexibility and customization options of PCs.

  • I cannot WAIT for the iBlender.

  • By my estimate I’ve spent at least 12 months of my life on the phone with PC tech support. That includes a period with a Dell, brand new, which didn’t work out of the box, and which I spent 6 months on the phone every single day running through the same “control panel –> device manager” process with another tier I agent.

    I couldn’t face any more of that so when I needed a new ‘puter, I went to mac. Apple’s face-to-face support is better than any phone support. And they are much more willing to replace a broken device than an PC company I’ve encountered.

    I’m one of those people who has to use the Boot Camp software to access certain software and I’m happy with that too.

  • This isn’t much of an appreciable difference between PC and Apple products if you buy them at equivalent levels of quality. The problem is PC producers produce much more low-end crap and then pawn it off as decent hardware. If you are willing to do your homework you can buy a PC of the same quality.

    As far as I have been able to tell the reason Macs were generally observed to run better in the past was that Mac users of old were a smaller, and much more computer literate, group who used their computers for a much more limited number of purposes. Today, this is rapidly changing and as the size and composition of Mac users changes, so will the alleged “performance” differences between the two machines.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I am a PC user.

  • Simple facts:

    Macs are not in any way technologically superior than other PCs. Their CPU speed, graphical display powers, memory.. all of that can be found equally or even faster on a dell… for about half the price.

    Macs dont have viruses because only about 15% of all computer users use macs so if a person was to write a virus why would they make one that will only affect trendy yuppies.

    The operating system is not easier. Its just different and if your first computer was a mac than you think its better.

    The reason everything “just works” on a mac is because the only usefull software is made by apple. Try playing any games on a mac? you cant. Try going into a software store and buy anything there and expect it to run on a mac? You cant.
    Can you upgrade your computer to have more memory or a faster CPU? Guess what.. you cant and if you could, you can only use parts made by ONE company.. apple.
    They restrict the use of your computer and lock you into their own world.

    If you are only going to use your computer for word processing and browsing the web to post on forums about how awesome macs are and buy music that will only work on your apple ipod but you cant actually copy your OWN music to a device of your choice… you should get a mac.

    That being said.. yes.. the freedom PCs provide comes with the extra risk that you might actually break your computer.

    I hope everyone understands this… when your computer breaks… its 95% YOUR FAULT.
    I know its hard to actually have to LEARN something to operate something you own but at one point you had to learn how to change your tire too.

    In the end… Macs are for trendy yuppies who think that being smart has something to do with the things you own. In the end, buying a MAC is like having a corvette body with a Ford tempo engine inside.

  • Apple for sure has many things going for it – and other things going against it.

    Apple has superior design – although, for god’s and santa’s sakes, come up with something new already at least on the laptop side – its getting repetitive and boring. Oh and PC companies – PLEASE stop copying the incredibly crappy Apple flat keyboard design with too much space between the keys….

    Apple has great UI look – although, personally, I find it too cartoony.

    Apple has an intuitive UI/OS – although, there are many things in the Apple OS that are as much learned and un-intuitive as things in Windows (the ejecting a CD thing being the prime example – even (especially?) Apple likes to stick to what they thought was a brilliant idea when the first ever Apple came out).

    Same for iPhone UI – sure, its nice and all, but its not like its next best thing since jesus.

    Apple is expensive for the specs – if design is that important to you, sure, go for it, otherwise design alone is probably not worth the money.

    Apple has had SUPERIOR peripherals integration, set up etc. – but it seems that the windows side of the world is catching up a bit.

    Ultimately, it is interesting to see for how long Apple can come up with killer products – iPod is passe, iPhone is nice, but can they keep churning up enough improvements to keep it interesting for more than 2-3 years?; laptop side – hmmm… rumors of a tablet Apple computer are floating, so perhaps that will be the next killer.

    ps. All the best for Steve Jobs and quick recovery for his (and, I am afraid) for Apple’s sake!

  • Disclaimer to those intimidated by a one-button mouse: you can buy a two-button mouse for a Mac, it doesn’t have to be manufactured by Apple. Furthermore, the right click on the two button mouse operates just a PC would; copying, pasting, all that snazzy stuff.

    In my experience, our Mac works with virtually ANYTHING you plug into it. No CD-Rom installations required just to upload camera photos. And they come standard with some really fun multimedia programs, and garage band, a home recording program. Our customer support’s been fantastic.

  • For Fuc$%s Sake..


    apples ARE PCs.

  • Two words — Windows 7. (that’s actually a word and a number, pardon me)

    You have a few more days to download the beta. Do it. It rocked my socks off.

  • I bought my first Mac 6 years ago, I have dropped it down the stairs (2x), dented the crap out of it, used up all the space on the hard drive and it still runs great… I love Mac computers because they are no-brainers for tech maintenance simpletons like me. The apps are fun, too; iPhoto is super friendly for organizational freaks.

  • Mac since 1999. I’ll flirt with PC, but I wouldn’t be caught DEAD with a windows operating system in my home.

    So there are more PCs than Macs. There are more cockroaches than humans, illustrating an often overlooked point when it comes to the war of computers: higher numbers do NOT indicate more intelligence or better design.

    PC does it fine, but apple does it better. they design the computer, the operating system, and the applications that are used on said operating system. that is why the cost is higher.

    i’ll always remember the first time i used itunes: rip and burn. though now, it makes me nostalgic for mixtapes.

  • Oh come on @ANON. Even though you may think you are technically correct, you aren’t.

    “PC” came into common usage because the original “PC” was called the “IBM Personal Computer.” IBM coined the term Personal Computer, and sold their computer under that brand name, and there was no doubt that PC referred to the IBM product. Since that was its name. You would never say “this is my Apple II PC” or my “TRS-80 PC” or whatever.

    Then soon thereafter were “PC Clones” and now we just refer to everything based on that original 8088 lineage as a “PC”. A mac is not and never was a “PC”.

    As for this original argument, while I hate mac’s OS, to each their own. The guy who said that 99.9% of people don’t really do anything with their computers but surf porn and gchat is correct. Even the crappiest korean-made laptop is probably more than adequate for what the vast majority of people do with their computers.

    For that reason I think Macs, which are significantly more expensive than a similarly-equipped PC, are a total waste of cash for most people. But by the same token, since the life expectancy of a computer is much longer than it used to be. e.g. it’s very unlikely that a computer you buy today won’t still be fast/good enough for what you will do in five years. So the incremental cost to get a mac, probably isn’t a big deal in the long run. But I just hate them personally.

  • You are right ndninthecity:

    “they design the computer, the operating system, and the applications that are used on said operating system.”

    But they essentially prohibit you from running and OTHER software. As long as you only want to color in the lines its cool but what if you want to use your OWN computer for something THEY did not intend or allow.. oops.

    To use another comparison like your cockroaches one:

    The murder rate in China is much lower than in the US but does that mean that its a better system of government.

    Wouldnt it be nice if you can just add a faster processor or more memory to your 1999 Mac to extend its life a few more years for very little money?
    OOPS.. instead if you want better performance you have to buy a WHOLE NEW COMPUTER.


  • For red-hot consumer-vs-consumer action, it’s a non-argument. It’s all what you’re used to.

    But on the professional side, I’ve been a magazine designer & art director for over 15 years & the mac has always been the tool of choice for my business. It handles color better, creates cleaner postscript (for smoother pre-press workflows), all that. And yes, the apps have BEGUN to function similar on both sides, but under the hood, a mac still crunches the numbers better for art & design work. Likewise, it’s a better machine for music editing and professional-grade photography work.

    So I’m an oldschool anti-hipster who still thinks of macs as an art-industry machine. Last time I used a “PC” (or whatever they’re called now) on a regular basis, I think the 486 was the hot new thing. I don’t miss it. For home/entertainment use, they’re probably both just as annoying. But for working slobs, it depends. We’re a dual-platform house since I’m married to an editor (words=PC, images=mac).

    no big fight there, each one has its strengths. And yes, I do own a black mock turtleneck, why do you ask?

  • Jamie you are completely wrong.

    If you buy a mac and you want a little more power or memory after 4 years.. what do you do.. do you just buy the components from one of thousands of manufacturers at competative prices like you can with a PC..

    no.. you have to buy a WHOLE NEW COMPUTER. Too bad.. apple wont allow 3rd party companies to make parts for their computers. They make their computers so you cant even easily change anything yourself. Even the ipod.. you need to send it to apple to change the battery for crying out loud.

    Imagine if you had to go to detroit every time you wanted to change the oil in your car!!

    Macs are terrible.

  • IntangibleArts :

    You must still use a rotary phone.

    You can buy a graphics card for a pc that is faster than the highest end apple workstation.

    The “graphical performance” of apple was over around 1996.

    There is not one single thing that your mac can do better than a dell that costs hundreds less. You are just used to it.

    BTW.. apple use intel chips now anyway so where do you get your ideas from

  • The point is you probably won’t need more ram in 4 years. Why would you need more ram in four years to surf the web?

    I am using a nearly four year old laptop that came standard with 1.5 gig of ram. And I do software development on it for crissake! It’s still perfectly adequate.

    Like I said I hate macs, and I would rather be able to do such things as replace my battery and/or hard drive and upgrade memory, but the reality is the vast majority of computer users will NEVER open up the back of their computer, and probably won’t have need to.

  • Anon;
    Relax, dude. Visit a dog park. You’ll feel better.

    As for my wacky ideas, they’re supported by some of the largest high-volume magazine printers and pre-press service bureaus in the country. Most of which CAN take PC-native files and make ’em work very well, but…… blecch. You’ve gotta work with your vendors, buddy. Hands across america, and all that.

    1996, you say? If you had a PC-based magazine design shop in 1996 and wanted to go hi-res PDF direct-to-plate, any shop on earth would laugh in your face and then upload a bayonet into your poo-hole.

    …diggit man, that creative director is walkin’ funny…

  • I propose a duel… can we all gather in a field somewhere and beat the crap out of each other with our laptops? Mac v PC? Those of us with aluminum macbooks might have some what of an advantage. Then again, I also have a ridiculously heavy dell laptop that could probably do some serious damage.

  • I switched from a Dell laptop to a MacBook a little over a year ago, and I couldn’t be happier. The ONE respect in which Dell kicks Apple’s ass is physical durability (the case on my Apple is already cracked a bit, whereas I dropped the Dell out of a moving car once and it still worked for another two years).

    Other than that, I feel that the Mac is much more intuitive to use than the Dell (and this is coming from someone who grew up on PCs and hadn’t really used Macs before she bought one). I know that’s not true for a lot of people, but Macs work well with my brain. The visual quality is also excellent – I work in a field where I deal with high-resolution images and Photoshop, and it’s annoying to have to color-correct on a yellowed screen with inaccurate colors. (I briefly ran the two laptops side-by-side, and the image quality on the Dell looked horrible by comparison.) I haven’t been bogged down with the constant virus and spyware problems I had with my Dell. And the customer service blows Dell out of the water. And I love the little details in Leopard that allow me to work faster and keep my workspace organized (Spaces, Expose, the touchpad features, etc.). All in all, the Mac meets my needs better than Dell ever did, and I doubt I’ll ever switch back to a PC (just having to use PCs at work is maddening enough).

    Oh, and Isotopor: You can use any mouse with a USB plug on a Mac. I use my old Dell two-button mouse, an off-brand external hard drive, and my ancient trashpicked all-in-one printer with my MacBook, and they all work just fine. No drivers, no hassle – just plug and play. I hated that about my Dell – I wasted so much time hunting for drivers on the Internet in order to be able to use my peripherals.

  • All i know is

    a)i grew up on a mac

    b)by the time i got to college, i wanted a pc to be like my friends

    c)it broke on me all the effing time

    d)all i want is a mac again.

  • I think it’s wrong to buy a Mac because it’s cool.

    I feel the same way about Minicoopers, VW Bugs, Dodge Challengers/Chargers, Brand Name clothing, hip restaurants in Penn Quarter.

    *message sent by new blackberry*

  • I love Apple. Their stock made me lots of money.

    They are geniuses. What other company has accomplished what they have.

    The sell the same exact product to people over and over again.

    Look its a 2GB Ipod– buy it.
    Look its a PINK ipod – buy it.
    Look its a 4GB Ipod – buy it.
    Look its a Smaller 4GM PINK Ipod – buy it!!

    Best marketing idea EVAR.

    Should i pay $60 to have my battery replaced or just buy another ipod *with more GB* for $300.

  • “1996, you say? If you had a PC-based magazine design shop in 1996 and wanted to go hi-res PDF direct-to-plate, any shop on earth would laugh in your face and then upload a bayonet into your poo-hole.”

    IA, I believe that this is what Anon was saying. That and the fact that 1996 was 13 years ago.

  • I have Dell desktop and just recently bought a MacBook for traveling.

    My Dell has been great and whatever problems I’ve had were resolved by my personal help desk (brother).

    Looked for months at laptops light enough to use for overseas travel, came close to buying a Dell a number of times. But in the end bought a Mac for the same price I would have paid for the Dell.

    I had read reviews & talked to techie friends but in the end bought the Mac because the store was open and I wanted a laptop asap for an unexpected work trip.

    I’m neither thrilled nor disappointed with the Mac. It does what I need it to do but then again so does my Dell.

  • lots of emotions here, i am operating system agnostic.

  • Well, I guess that finally settles the Mac-vs-PC argument.

    Now onto more important arguments: pro-life vs pro-choice.

    And after that, maybe we can finally figure out whether the world is old or young.

  • That new animal collective record is pretty sweet though.

  • I’m the lone PC user in my Mac house hold of 4, but we all get along 🙂 But then my roommates aren’t pretentious assholes about it. One of them even helped me make the final decision to buy my VIAO which I love. I think this argument is really all about the attitude of the user not the machines we are all using.

  • I think most people buy Macs for the ‘trendiness’ factor. Apple doesn’t make the best products. They simply have the best advertising.

    These days the hardware in a desktop PC and a desktop Mac is %99.9 identical. The CPU, GPU, hard drives, RAM, etc is interchangeable between PC and Mac. The only difference is a few lines of code that Apple puts on the motherboard so that you can’t build your own Mac.

    I’ve grown up on Windows and I’ve been building my own windows-based machines for about 15 years now. A lot of people have bad experiences with windows because they don’t know what they’re doing. My system runs XP and is rock-solid stable. As in, not a single crash or blue screen in the 13 months I’ve had my current setup.

    The main draw for Macs is the OS, which is supposed to be pretty good, but there are a lot of compatibility issues on Macs. Most games are made for the PC platform and not Mac. Also there are programs like Examsoft – a test-taking program – that only run on Windows (I know about Windows emulators but examsoft is a root-level process, so emulation won’t work).

    Back in the day it made sense to use a Mac if you were doing desktop publishing because they were WYSIWYG, but that was some 15 years ago. I guess it still makes sense to buy a Mac if you don’t know shiat about computers and don’t care to learn.

    PCs are much easier to upgrade and cost about half as much as Macs. But then, they aren’t all ‘flashy’ like Macs are. Apple is great at marketing. They can sell a product that is ‘missing’ several key features for a huge markup, and people still buy it.

    In other news, consumers are stupid.

  • I work in technology; I’m a programmer who also does web strategy and analytics. I prefer Macs because I like working from the command line in a local Unix environment without the annoyances of a Linux desktop. I say this with some confidence, having done this sort of work for several years on both Macs and PCs. Other people have different needs and perspectives, but to say that any of these things are not the case because, essentially, “omg PCs r better and u r teh gay lol” demonstrates that the speaker has a narrow field of experience. Oh… if you’re over the age of twelve, please shut up about games only being available for the PC. OK? It kind of makes you sound like an idiot.

    As an aside: on a Mac you can eject a CD by pushing the button on the keyboard with an eject icon on it (same as on your DVD player or VCR, usually upper right), pushing the same image next to the CD icon in a finder window, or going to the desktop and dragging the CD to the trash can.

  • My girlfriend has an Macbook, I have a PC. I hate using her computer (which breaks all the time) and she hates mine (which, uh, I just had to get a new hard drive for), but that’s simply a matter of what software we’re used to. And ipods have nothing to do with the debate. They’re not computers, they’re toys. (Disclosure: I have one and love it)

    Admittedly, Macs are wrapped in a pretty little package, but they’re not worth the ridiculous premium. I’m not really sure that PCs are any more “square” than Macs. Showing off your computer in coffee shops and wearing your brand loyalty on your sleeve? Square.

    Whether you like Macs or hate ’em, you’ll probably enjoy this:

  • how exactly does one ensure that they are not mistaken for ‘showing off’ their ‘brand loyalty’?

    If I go to the coffee shop to escape the distractions I find at home, should I purchase some sort of cover so no one can see the brand of computer I own? Or are there certain coffee shops or places in the coffee shop that I should go to so I am not mistaken for showing off?

  • I own a mac, but it’s people like this who just buy them because they are cool and trendy that annoy me. It IS disgusting to see coffee shops full of macs.

    Also, why is this on prince of petworth? I would have much rather read something about a new neighborhood amenity coming to the area instead of this. In fact, after I read it, I was so annoyed that I felt compelled to write this negative comment.

  • For those concerned that they cannot repair/upgrade macs or ipods please reference sites like or Over the years, I’ve replaced iPod batteries, laptop LCDs and backlights, hard drives, etc.

    Warning: the skills of reading and owning a screwdriver may be necessary.

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