posted by Nico Nabholz on Wed 23rd Apr 2003 17:54 UTC
IconVery few IT-companies get as much fanatic anticipation from their customers as Apple does. Lots of words have been written about that, including cheers, rants and advice as to what Apple should do next to make the Macintosh experience even nicer for its fans. Whether it's about product pricing, quality or all in all product range, Apple polarizes its users and those who wish they were. It would be foolish for me to take the same approach as anybody else and give Apple some piece of advice. So that's actually what I'm going to do now.

Editorial Notice: All opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of

The story begins about one and a half years ago. I had read a lot about all this - I had seen the fan-pages, read the critical comments about Apple's product politics, about Apple soon filing for bankrupcy and heard the voices of those who would fight for Apple if they had to. And of course about those few who would rather stop using computers than "switching" to the Mac. But I didn't care. After just having bought a brand new, lightning fast PC running Windows XP I wanted to jump right into the cold water and use a Mac myself for some time. So I bought a 12" iBook, which I was going to sell on ebay soon after without a big financial loss. Two weeks later I handed the box with the XP-machine to its new owner and have been a happy guy ever since. I also added an iPod, a G4-iMac and a new iBook to my portfolio.


I'm kind of a nerd. I like new stuff, I like different stuff. When I see a new machine, I like going to a store and touch it, feel the keyboard's grip, open the lid and smell the scent of a fresh computer. I find slim notebook computers to be really sexy and owning one is a need in my life. What I don't like is that my personal hardware computing experience depends 100% on one company: Apple. Whatever they do, I have to like it. While there is a lot of OS X software from different companies out there, all the hardware comes from Cupertino.

So I say: that's what keeps a lot of people from switching. They're human beings, most of them are used to the big advantage of the free market world: freedom of choice. They don't want to give that up. And they're right! I would like to have more choice - even if it was just to have it. Today Powerbooks may be the nicest laptops one can find but tomorrow I might feel like getting an IBM Thinkpad. Or a Toshiba. Or whatever I feel like!

So what do I want? Here's my very own advice to Steve Jobs and I feel kind of stupid writing this. So many people have done this and I always thought: "get over it, he knows better anyway". But I still want to give that advice: bring OS X and all the cool Apple applications to a broader range of hardware! You can do it using "Marklar", the supposedly existing OS X port to the Intel platform and thus all other 98% of the computers in the world.

But as Apple has repeatedly pointed out, the future is portable. So alternatively I'd get IBM, Toshiba and as many other portable hardware vendors as possible to sell their machines in a PowerPC version with OS X pre-installed. IBM makes iSeries notebooks, it can't be that hard to make PowerPC notebooks. Widen the choice! The more, the better! You can still sell the coolest laptops around but then people can actually chose to get "an Apple".

Apple's uniqueness, for me, comes from software quality. When you use it, you notice those many little aspects that have been carefully thought about. I love that! When you use Windows, you notice consistency - consistently hard to use, buggy and bloated programs. Apple has a chance of getting big in the worldwide computer market as many people are willing to pay more for quality software. But only if they have the choice of hardware that they simply don't want to give up.

While I don't really think Mr. Jobs will read this, I felt I had to say this. This story was custom built for and is meant as a "YARP": Yet Another Rant Provoker. Hit it!

About the author:
Nico has been using computers as a semi-nerd for nearly 15 years. His pilgrimage led him from MS-DOS over Windows 3 to 95, OS/2, Windows NT to XP, BeOS and Linux to Mac OS X where he's stuck right now, happier than ever. Nico is an IT manager in Bavaria, Europe.

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