Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Cult of the Mac

Over the weekend my husband and I went to the mall on 'the great pointy-toed shoe hunt' ... for him! My friends from college will never let me forget the torture I put them through roaming from one end of Potomac Mills Mall to the other on 'the great brown pump hunt'. So, I definitely deserved being dragged from one shoe store to another (including a few before we even went to the mall).

As we neared the end of our options in Pheasant Lane Mall I turned around and fixed on a blissful (for me) vision: The Apple Store! I had completely forgotten that an Apple Store had opened up in the mall the day before. This was the answer to one of my minor prayers. Not long after I got my beloved iMac last year, the DVD drive bit the dust. I had to drive 35 minutes to Burlington, MA, to take it to the nearest Apple Store for service. Pheasant Lane Mall is much much closer. Plus, I can now stop in regularly to drool over the accessories to my adopted faith.

Faith? Faith, you say? Well, um, yes.

My husband and I had the amusing conversation after I dragged myself out of the Apple Store. (No, he didn't have to drag me out. I was capable of extricating myself, thank you.) We decided that people who buy Macs end up being like cultists. Most Mac users love their Macs. They are obsessed with all things Mac. Their eyes light up whenever they are exposed to new Mac products. They can barely contain themselves as new product releases approach. Why is this?

In the most recent issue of Macworld (I subscribe), they had two little side-by-side pieces that caught my attention. First, 'nearly 12 percent of U.S. computer-owning households now have a Mac.' That's a 3% increase over 2008. 85% of of Mac households also have a Windows PC.

There are probably two factors contributing to that. First, there could be Windows machines that pre-date the Mac in the household. In my house, I only use Windoze on my work laptop. My old intel machines are now Ubuntu systems. Grendel and Goblin are still under the influence of Windoze. Second, some software is still only available under Windows. I still have a Windoze-VM on my Mac for one program. That will end in February, hopefully, when Intuit finally releases an updated version of Quicken for the Mac.

The other article compared adoption of new OS versions by Mac users verses Windows users. Snow Leopard was released late this summer. Within a month of the product's release, 60% of the visitors to the Macworld website had upgraded to Snow Leopard. While the population is somewhat skewed by the type of Mac user examined, that's still pretty impressive. After more than a year on the market, Vista accounts for around 15% of the market. Then again, Vista suffers from the every-second-release-is-a-dud problem that MS seems to have. Maybe Windows 7 will fair better. After all, it only took Windows XP eleven months to surpass Windows 98 installations (as measured by visits to Still, one additional factor in the quick adoption rate to Snow Leopard verses any Windoze release could be price tag. Snow Leopard costs less than $30. Windows 7 can be found for that much if your a student; but everyone else has to pony up around $100 for an upgrade.

I have purchased Snow Leopard. I plan to spend part of the long holiday weekend installing it.

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