Opening the eyes of a PC user
I originally wrote this a few years ago (in June 2005) for an old blog I used to have, and I just stumbled upon this again today. I am going to re-post it here in its entirety, because it still holds true today. In fact, it is even MORE true today.
I spent the entire day training my friend Jessica on her brand new iBook G4. Jessica just switched from the PC to the Mac after a lifetime of using PC (and after much urging from me). And I gotta tell ya, it was as incredible for me as it was for her — to see the Macintosh through somebody’s eyes who had NEVER seen it before was just amazing.
You know, lifelong Mac users such as myself really don’t know how much anguish PC users go through — they are all having such abusive relationships with their machines and they don’t even realize that it doesn’t have to be that way. Jessica was having so many crashes & freezes & viruses, she always had to struggle with drivers whenever using new hardware (hell, just figuring out the confusing array of downloaded files was enough to drive her crazy), she was always challenged with resizing photos before emailing them to people with small mailboxes, she always said that she had “bad luck” around computers. She & her officemates had always spent weeks trying to come up with a good-looking publication in Microsoft Publisher. They had always tortured themselves to make good-looking PowerPoint presentations but then dreaded the fact that they would have to configure the projector & the system preferences for hours in the hopes that they could actually display their presentations on the big screen.
Within the first hour of using her new Mac, Jessica realized that her life was about to dramatically change for the better.
She practically cried when we plugged in her digital camera and iPhoto automatically recognized her camera & imported all of her photos — WITHOUT ANY DRIVERS. She couldn’t believe it when she created a presentation in Keynote in less than 5 minutes that looked a zillion times better than anything to come out of PowerPoint. She plugged it into a projector, and it just WORKED. She couldn’t believe that her machine slept automatically when she closed the lid, that it woke INSTANTLY from sleep when she opened the lid… couldn’t even believe that Apple spent enough care & time to have the little power connector change colors to let you know whether your battery was charged or not.
She couldn’t believe how she started a professional newsletter in less than 3 seconds in Pages, and how it was all integrated with her iPhoto collection, and how she could just drag-and-drop images wherever she wanted and the text just flowed around it. She created her own hardbound coffee table book in iPhoto in 2 minutes, too.
She couldn’t understand how Apple includes the wonderful iLife for free with all new Macs. iLife is a suite of award-winning creativity programs that all work seamlessly with one another on the Mac. It would cost a fortune to cobble together something similar on the PC, and it would never work as seamlessly on the PC.
She was shocked that PDF creation is built into Mac OS X for FREE — with no need to purchase the very expensive Adobe Acrobat Professional. That’s right, you can create a PDF file from any Mac program for free — it’s all built into the operating system. Likewise, you don’t have to download the bulky & slow Adobe Reader just to open a PDF file. Again, PDF viewing & manipulation is built directly into the Mac operating system.
We signed her up for a .mac account (this is now known as MobileMe), and when she published a website of all of her photos in less than 1 minute, she was awestruck. When her address book & bookmarks synchronized to Apple’s website, she was in heaven. She understood the importance of iDisk immediately, and said that she could now throw away her JumpDrive.
And Exposé just blew her away: with one simple keyboard command or one simple mouse movement, she could conveniently see all of her open windows shrink down to little thumbnails on her screen. She could also use Expose to show her the desktop at any given time.
She flipped out when she saw Dashboard and started downloading more widgets immediately (and couldn’t believe that they just auto-installed themselves without any intervention on her part), and she couldn’t believe that Apple’s Spotlight search feature instantly updated itself as soon as she received a new email from someone.
She was thrilled that all of her Microsoft Word & Microsoft Excel & Microsoft Powerpoint & Adobe Photoshop files that she had created on her PC worked seamlessly on the Mac. I had assured her that they would work perfectly, since those files are completely cross-platform (i.e. they work exactly the same on both Mac & Windows). You can send almost all files (not just the ones listed above) back & forth between Macs and PCs all the time.
And she appreciated all the little touches that Windows users never get on their side of the fence — the fact that Apple’s Mail icon simply shows you the number of new emails that you’ve got waiting for you, or the fact that you can just drag-and-drop attachments onto the icon and an email is automatically composed for you. And that you can automatically resize photos smaller right from within Mail! Or the fact that Apple’s menu bar shows you the status of your battery life at a glance, and that you can tell your battery’s status even when the machine is turned off. Or the fact that you can control the volume & the screen brightness right from the keyboard!
And I didn’t even have time to show her how the new Dictionary is integrated into the entire system, how Fast User Switching would enable multiple people to share her machine (each with their own personalized experience), or how Apple makes backups simple with their automated Backup software.
All of this, and she’ll never have any crashes, freezes, viruses, error messages, nothing.
It was one of the most amazing, magical days I have ever experienced… and I have been doing this a really long time.
Steve Jobs has really done something absolutely amazing here. Just truly magical. Just totally inspirational & beautiful. Why ANYBODY would EVER use a PC is beyond me.
And to think that it’s only getting better as each day passes.
I hadn’t spoken with Jessica in a while, so I just checked in with her yesterday and asked her if she is still a happy Mac user. I should’ve known better, because I noticed that she was actively using Apple’s MobileMe to publish web galleries of her photos. This was her reply:
“Yes, of course I am still a Mac user! Most of the family is addicted to them thanks to you and me…but mostly thanks to you.”
Aww… what a sweetheart. 🙂
And by the way, today there are over 550 more software & hardware innovations that Apple has added to their Macs (such as backlit keyboards, multi-touch trackpads, 2-finger scrolling, built-in webcams and built-in videochatting, magnetic power cords for laptops so if you trip on the cord your laptop doesn’t go crashing to the floor, keyboard control of iTunes, Time Machine backups, QuickLook, Spaces, the Sudden Motion Sensor, a media browser in all open dialog boxes, and much more), so the innovations listed above almost seem quaint by today’s standards. The most recent 300 software innovations are listed here.
In fact, the greatest innovation of all may have been Apple’s switch to the Intel processor in 2006. What this means is that ALL WINDOWS USERS are now WELCOME to join the Mac family, because — if you so desire — you can now run Windows on your Mac at 100% full speed. So if you use a specific Windows-only application or play a Windows-only game that you just can’t live without, never fear. You can run ALL of your Windows programs on a Mac as well. The Mac is the only computer that lets you run Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X all on the same machine. More details here: http://www.apple.com/getamac/
I love that Apple keeps raising the bar of technology, and truly cares about making life easier & more fun for all of us.
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