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ATPM 4.04
April 1998


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Wishful Thinking

by Edward Goss,

Think Different Misses the Mark

As my wife and I sat enjoying a recent James Taylor live concert, it came to me. Has anyone ever done a really good cover of a James Taylor song? Ok, maybe Linda Ronstadt's "Hey Mister, That's Me Up On The Jukebox." Outside of that fine effort, I could not think of one cover version that I like better than the way JT does 'em live.

My convoluted mind started thinking about Apple Computer (I know it's a stretch, but bear with me). JT is the consummate showman, with a fine back-up band and an energy to his music rarely heard from other artists. He and his band play each song as though it is the first time, not the umpteenth. He obviously wants his fans to have the best time possible at his shows. If you have not seen him live, do so if the opportunity presents itself. You will know what I mean. How does this get me to thoughts of Apple Computer or "Think Different?" Here goes.

Apple has fine people. They make a fine product. We love 'em. We tell our friends to buy 'em. Why? Because they are better than the alternative. No more, no less. They are better than PCs, but how hard is that? Macs still crash too often and have enough incompatibilities to keep excellent sites like MacFixIt <> far too busy.

Although Macs are easy to set-up and use, the average person still should not have to put up with unexpected crashes and inconveniences like corrupted preference files, start-up conflicts, and various incongruities associated with "modern" computing. What people really need is a stable operating system, plug-and-play compatibility, and software to do the task at hand. Is that too much to ask? The advent of System 8.1 and the G3 processor are truly steps in the right direction, but I want Apple to stop thinking different! Thinking different is too easy! Anyone can do that! Think better! Thinking different got us the "Chia Pet" and "Clap-On, Clap-Off." Thinking better got us the Fender Telecaster and the Porsche 911! Which would you rather have?

Apple Computer should focus things important to the average user. The speed race is better left to those who suffer LAGS (Latest and Greatest Syndrome). Should I spend $2000 on a G3 upgrade for my Power Computing PowerCenter Pro 210? Will it help me get my daily work done better? Nope. Do you want your screen to redraw in the blink of an eye, or half-a-blink? Would I recommend the newest line of G3 computers as an answer for all users? No way.

If Apple wishes (there's that word) to increase market share, they should sell computers to people who don't yet own a Mac. How's that? More than 85% of the computers in this world are not Macs. Why not sell to them? We tell people Macs are better, we show people Macs are better, but they don't buy them! Why? They won't be useful at a workplace or school where there are mostly PCs. That's why.

What Apple needs to convince these people are Macs that can integrate into existing PC environments without a hassle. What better way to increase market share than to convert millions of PC users? This will not happen overnight. But imagine people switching to Macs and discovering that they really are better. Not fancier or faster, just a better way to get the job done.

Which brings me to my "Wishful Thinking." Apple Computer of Cupertino California, "Think Better!" Build this computer and watch as the world slowly changes its mind about you and your products. Build this computer and stand back; the world will beat a path to your door.

My (Wishful Thinking) next Mac has a G3 processor (speed is not all that important--266 MHz will do), 64 or more MB of RAM, and a large, ultra-fast hard drive (6 MB) partitioned into two parts. One part contains a stable Mac OS. The other half contains the upcoming Virtual PC 2 (for those who must exist in a Windows world). It should also have a minimum of 4 MB of video RAM (for graphics users), a built-in Zip drive, accommodations for either Mac or PC monitors without an adapter (my Power Center Pro has that, and it's very handy), and built-in Ethernet options (for network users).

Just think of it--all computer users could buy a Mac and use it any way that they wanted! Gradually, people might see that Macs really are better. More software would be written for Macs, more networks would be set up with Macs in mind (because it is easier), and whole offices might convert when the Windows technicians (and they are legion) found out how much easier their job would be helping Mac users!

Apple, please stop "Thinking Different" and be the best, like James Taylor. "Think Better."

Blue AppleWishful Thinking is a space for Mac enthusiasts who know exactly what Apple'sadvertising should be. Did you come up with a great advertising tag line? Haveyou had a Mac campaign stewing in the back of your mind for a year now? Sendyour ideas, or your art, to <>

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Reader Comments (2)

roger frank malloy · June 16, 2001 - 01:01 EST #1
You are right that Apple's "Think Different" compaign misses the mark. However, I'm sorry to say that Apple will never switch to "Think Better". Steve Jobs, demigod of a small group of religious fanatics, relies on the fact that Mac users would rather rally around a meaningless slogan than actually open their eyes to the fact that Apple computers are not better than PCs. In fact, if you give a group of computer novices either a PC or a Mac, and give them a list of tasks to accomplish, those that get the PCs will finish their tasks in less time than those with Macs. However, if your goal is to develop blind religious devotion to a cult figure and his colorful toys then Steve Jobs and his Macs beat out all competitors.

There's no sense in fighting the trend. Join with the masses and "Think Different". (That is, just stop thinking altogether!)

Roberto De León-González · August 4, 2005 - 09:08 EST #2
Macs are better. They are more reliable, need less to be fixed, upgrades are less costly, are more resistant to ham-fisted users... Do I need to go on?

If anyone who can use Macs in their business made the switch from PCs to Macs, they would save in the not-so-long-run, and in the long run, too. Buying and using PCs only seems cheaper, the cost and aggravation of fixing them once they go bad - and they will - is much steeper than that of a Mac. To say it otherwise, when my Mac goes bad, I usually can fix it myself or work around the problem. When a PC goes bad I am tempted to say, paraphrasing Isaac Asimov, "If only that computer had a neck..."

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