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Sticking with Apple?

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By rpguillory
April 2, 2003

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I have, as of late, been quite disappointed with both Apple and AAPL. For anyone keeping long-term dollars in AAPL, I don't think I have to make much of an argument that our money might have grown more had we planted it in the backyard and watered it twice a week. And the tripe emitting from Jobs and his Board of Directors for the last few years would have made better fertilizer for our garden than comfort food for we weary AAPL stockholders.

I don't post much so I don't know how many out there are familiar with my story (or who care) but for the first time in probably 10 years, I was seriously considering purchasing a PC as my next computer due to Motorola's relatively poor performance in terms of clock speed and Apple's relatively poor performance in managing Motorola. I would have characterized my leanings as more than 65% in favor of abandoning, at least temporarily, the Macintosh platform but four days ago, I purchased a new dual 1.25 GHz Mac.

I know I'm in the minority but until I can render animations in real time, computers won't be fast enough for me. I was using a 733 MHz Mac purchased exactly two years ago for $3,500 to render After Effects animations with dozens of layers, nested comps, and multiple effects. As the relative distance between Intel's processor speeds and Motorola's swelled, I grew impatient with what had quickly become the Pony Express of computers only to see the PC world become FedEx.

Or at least Airborne Express.
(I'm going to deduct points for their user interface.)

No longer could I sit idly by and watch my computer deliver animations one week after clicking "Start" when my PC brethren were getting theirs delivered over night. Add to this my AAPL holdings which, needless to say, are a tad down from where I purchased them and you have a person ripe for leaving -- even if for all the wrong reasons.

"Why, exactly, am I sticking with Apple?" I asked myself. "What have they done for me lately?" Computers are, after all, a tool. I'm in business to have fun but also to make money and if I can make money faster with a PC, why shouldn't I just buy one?

Because I just can't.

There are things to me equally as important as raw processor speed and one of them is the user experience. I use Windows 98 on almost a daily basis and using it never makes me smile.

The minute I plugged in my new Mac, it made me smile. The way the case looks makes me smile. The way OSX looks makes me smile. The fact that it has true multitasking now makes me smile. The quieter operation -- yes even quieter than my 733 despite the reputation earned by their last release -- makes me smile. The fact that I can just walk into an Apple store and take one home makes me smile. And that my current DVD project's 45-second Main Menu, which took 54 minutes to render on my old 733, now only takes 19 minutes REALLY makes me smile. And I can keep working while it's rendering which only enhances the fact that it's almost 3X faster now.

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A few thoughts about the purchase experience and computer:

I went to the Apple store in Northridge (suburb of L.A.) at 7:30 p.m. and there were six other people shopping. I asked the salesperson if Adobe's software was multiprocessor aware and he said he didn't know. (I was just testing him -- it's marginally aware for some things, more aware for others.) The dual 1.25 comes with 256 MB of RAM standard and this store wanted $250 for another 512 MB chip. That's just ridiculous. How can they possibly justify that price when the same chip can be had for $79.95 from MacWarehouse or MacMall? So, I passed on that upgrade and did it myself the next day. I bought two 512 MB chips from Creative Computers in Santa Monica and had them installed in literally less than 60 seconds.

As I said, this computer is actually quieter than my 733. And the new white keyboard is much crisper than the old black one. I never liked that redesigned keyboard -- the keys were mushy and they stuck frequently -- but this new one is pretty good. Not as good as the Apple Extended Keyboard II of yesteryear but pretty good nonetheless.

All the extra ports are great and it's really fast. Apps pop open right away and so far I'm loving it. Errorcles always said that dual processors made OSX snappier and it's so very true. I still REALLY miss Quickeys but I guess I'll just have to deal with that.

(as a side to the side note: the sales rep said that they couldn't keep the 17" PowerBooks in stock; I, personally, don't see it but I'm glad they're selling)

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They got me. Those Apple weasels got me. I'm both at once thrilled with my new tool and disappointed in myself that I didn't tell them to stick it. The bottom line for me was this: I simply like life better when I'm working on a Mac.

They have another $2,000 of my money and for the next 18 months, I'm sticking with Apple Computer.