The headlines blasted the news earlier this week: MAC SALES SURGE! APPLE VAULTS TO THIRD PLACE IN COMPUTER SALES!
So, what does Apple have now, an 8% share of the computer market?
The computer world is a funny place. In most product categories, the users of the dominant brand are the snobs, while the users of “Brand X” are looked upon as outcasts. Think
Yankees Red Sox and Starbucks patrons. But in the computer world, MacIntosh users think anyone who uses the dominant Windows operating system creates inferior media applications, drives a covered wagon, eats without utensils, steal purses from old ladies, and should have their citizenship revoked. Ouch!
You might have guessed that I have a Windows-based PC. If not, now you know. I’ve come out of the Windows closet! But, but, but, Professor Curran…you teach audio and video and digital photography and animation and illustration…digital media thingies! How can you use a PC instead of a Mac? How can you look yourself in the mirror every morning?
Honestly, I catch a ton of crap about this all the time. Colleagues at other universities seem to think that my career path will be stymied and that my students will be doomed to a life behind the grill at White Castle because we don’t use Macs. I really don’t think that my request for promotion to full professor in a few years will hang on what OS I use, and my talented students will work as producers in media companies.
The weird thing is that I don’t really hate Macs. I used them in graduate school in the mid-90s. If UC-Clermont had them, I would be OK with that. But we are a PC shop. The college has a great volume deal with Dell, and it allows us to put a generous amount of powerful state-of-the-art machines in all of our computer labs. Macs are just too pricey, especially in these times of academic budget shortfalls. Most of our non-media programs insist on PCs because of proprietary software they use that is PC-only. Our IT department is PC-trained. On so on. Some colleges require their students to own Macs, but most of our students cannot afford that.
So here I am “stuck” inside a Mac media world with a PC. What, me worry? No way. We use the Adobe CS3 Suites, which are also used on Macs. The only real hangup is that we can’t use the video program Final Cut Pro, which is not made for PCs. You’d think they’d realize the market for this! But we do use Premiere, which allows for sophisticated video production.
So with one exception, my students can work in the same media programs doing the same tasks a Mac user can do. It comes down to talent and a good work ethic. If a student has an impressive portfolio, that will count more toward landing the job. They can learn how to use a Mac in a matter of hours at one of those “crash courses” that computer training firms offer,or just grab a book and learn it themselves. So it’s not really an issue, or at least it shouldn’t be.
Macs are not perfect, as witnessed by this analysis. As is the case with everything, there are plusses and minuses to any operating system.
The computer is simply a means to get you where you need to go. The inner talent of the developer is what separates the wheat from the chaff.
One final note: Mac users never give me legitimate reasons to use a Mac, other than to state that it’s what used in the design world. Sorry, not good enough.