Now that Steve has ushered-in this new era for Apple in the form of the Mac Mini, those of us who already know/love/use Apple computers have a duty to fulfill.
So many people will be flocking to this new low-priced Apple, to try it out for the first time. So many people have wanted to make the move, but it’s not been in their finances. So many people have wondered from afar, if Apple computers really are that good.
The short answer: They are that good. OS X is that great. The experience is that simple.
The long answer: While Apple has fantastic products that put competitors (in many different arenas) to shame, it’s not the ultimate answer to every computing problem. “Think Different” was a good slogan, and one people should take heed of when thinking about a Switch.
I’ll explain (before the rest of the Apple Fans stone me). There is no perfect computing environment. The perfect computing experience is defined by what the user is looking for and what they are used to (and how they are able to adapt). Many of the folks looking to get a Mac Mini will be long-time Windows users. If they’re at all set in their ways and not specifically power-type users, they may find themselves unhappy with their Mac Mini purchase. We can prevent that from happening though.
I’ll explain further. A few months back I began an email exchange with a fellow Mac user who was less than pleased with his migration to Apple ( I was trying to help ease the pain and help him transition a little bit). It seems his friends and everyone he talked with sold Apple and OS X as the end-all, be-all of computing. Based on the way he was used to working in Windows, OS X was not what he was expecting. Thus, he was dissapointed with Apple’s products, to say the least.
We need to explain to these potential Apple customers that “Your mileage may vary”. The problem that we as Apple Computer customers may not always remember, is everyone uses their computer differently. Everyone has a mostly set method of working with their operating system. I think that we get so wrapped-up in gushing about this and that that we can do with out Apple and OS X, that we paint the picture of a perfect solution. I think it’s our duty to ensure they understand that there’s a learning-curve. It’s not the end-all, be-all perfect solution they may be imagining.
Buying an Apple Computer – while basically a great move that most people will look back on with a smile – is different from what they’ve been using. If it was the same as Windows and wintel hardware, there wouldn’t be a reason to choose one over the other! Windows and OS X handle things differently. In the case of OS X, it’s generally simpler (better) and cleaner than the alternative. But if the users were used to the old way, adapting to the new way may not be all roses for them.
For most people, it’s the little things too. For instance, many former windows users tend to get frustrated that they can’t resize an app window from any edge/corner. They also get lost easily (at first) when there’s no bar at the bottom of the screen that shows each of their open windows. It just works differently on OS X. There’s Expose and the like to combat these things – but it’s a different way of working that they’ll need to adapt to.
So as your friends and family start asking you about this new Mac Mini, tell them all the cool things they’ve got in store with it. Tell them the cool apps (like Quicksilver, iChat, Desktop Manager, iPhoto, iMovie, etc, etc) that they can look forward to. But don’t forget to tell them to “Think Different”. Otherwise it could be on your head when they are surprised that it doesn’t work just like they’re used to.