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5 bad reason to not buy Macintosh

While doing the last two Apple Demo Days, a major attitude I've come across in potential buyers is "So tell me, why should I buy a MAC?" and while they don't shout, the capital letters are easy to discern in the tone of disgust they use, the way they dangle the words a foot out from their lips like one holds a dirty sock at arms' length. These are the people whom we should enlighten instead of flame. After all, these are the people Apple needs to convince. So if you do Demo Days, or just generally have a knack for running into ignorance, keep these facts in mind. Though you may not want to use my phrasing, it's a bit on the offensive!

Reason 1: PCs are Cheaper

This is true. In fact, this is very true. PCs are cheaper, but not necessarily price-wise. But Macs are not more expensive. This argument reminds me of the old maxim "you are what you eat." Oops. I meant "you get what you pay for." Macs come bundled with a lot more than PCs do, and by the time you've done all the make-up work to make them about even, you've spent as much if not more on the PC! Take an iMac Revision B... 233Mhz, about equivalent to a PII 350 or 400. That's pretty pricy to begin with. Then you have to add a Soundblaster Pro and speakers to get the 16-bit SRS surround sound. And a 15" high-quality display capable of 1024x768. Then an ATI RAGE PRO graphics acceleration plus an SGRAM upgrade. And if you're not lucky, you may need to buy a PCI or ISA USB card. And a 10/100Base-T Ethernet card—a good one. Don't forget the bundled software and the internal 56k modem. When you look at it that way, it makes a little more sense.

Reason 2: PCs are Just as Easy to Use

If you've ever seen or heard of a config.sys file, you know that's not true. Windows Plug-and-Play is a waste; instead of just loading the correct drivers from a CD, it tries to talk to the peripheral in a million different languages before deciding what it is or giving up. And what does that mean for your average Windows installation? Tons of bloat for peripherals you'll never use. Any OS that needs a special driver for a keyboard or a mouse is not "easy to use" in my opinion. Even Microsoft has to admit Windows lacks in grace; when demoing Internet Explorer 4.5 at the MacWorld Expo, the programmer from the Mac team just dragged and dropped the folder onto the hard drive and viola! Installed. "Try doing THAT on Windows!" he said. I don't believe I'll live to see the day.

Reason 3: PCs Have More Software

This is also true, but the margin is decreasing as each day goes by. Over 1300 new applications have been released, announced or promised since the release of the first iMac alone. Even though you don't walk into CompUSA and see tiers of Mac stuff (yet), there are mail-order catalogues (MacWarehouse, MacZone, MacMall) full of more applications than you could ever use. Any industry standard is available on the Mac, too—gee, MS Office is one of the most popular software suites in both worlds, and Office 98 is Mac only!

Reason 4: Macs Are Proprietary; I Need Compatibility

This used to be true, but not any more. If you buy a new Mac or iMac, you'll be able to emulate Windows (in fact, any OS that runs on the PC architecture) quite handily. Quickly, even. And it'll be just like having a PC in front of you; the hardware will be mapped, speakers will work, your mouse and keyboard will work perfectly. All for about $160 for Connectix's VirtualPC 2, and that includes Windows98 and three bundled games.

Reason 5: Macs are Slower

Of course, we all know this is not true, don't we? The G3 clocks at about twice the speed of the PII, and with the extra built-in L2 cache you can purchase, that margin increases. But that's just integer tests; during Jobs' keynote they did head-to-head Photoshop tests with a 25Mb multi-layered image, the main one of a scene from Disney's Mu Lan. The Power Mac 400MHz G3 won hands-down against a Pentium 450MHz, the fastest model in existance. And on game frame rates, too. The new G3 Macs (not the iMacs) come equipped with a RAGE VR 128 graphics card that gets up to 66 frames per second, as opposed to the $200 VooDoo II which gets 50. Now how's that for slower, eh? Don't take my word, go to ZDNet and download the keynote yourself with RealVideo. The Photoshop battle is about 11 minutes in, and the game is more in the middle.

So next time you're faced with questions (or statements) like that from someone you know, someone you like a little bit or, perish the thought, someone you love, you'll know exactly how to respond. Stay tuned, more on how to peacefully sway minds coming up in the following weeks.

Amy Hoy, Editor in Chief
the Daily iMac