Well, a pretty bad week has come to an end, but with one upbeat note.
I now own one of the fastest and most flexible personal computers in the world.
It's a dual dual-core Xeon Mac Pro, which a friend helped procure for me, since I've been hit so hard financially between moving and Hardware Disasters #1 and #2 that I needed a new computer. Not only that, since I directly depend on a computer for my income stream, not having one for 1-2 weeks would not just set me back X amount, but would actually prevent me from even starting to make it back.
Those who read my previous couple posts will understand why the next logical step is a professional Tower of Power, so once I had weighed the options and made the decision – with the credit card help of my Super Friend – we went to Myeongdong and walked out the door with it. It's not many times that you get to walk into the Apple Store and say "Wrap up one Mac Pro, please," so I savored the moment. We were big pimping.
I am one happy camper, let me tell you. I have accepted my troubles of the recent week, and am getting back to work, with a redoubled effort to get ahead with my new projects while keeping myself financially afloat. At least those efforts won't be hampered by a lack of computing power.
And I will be installing Windoze next week. Oh, the horror! But, like poking a bruise or picking a scab – who can resist? And this way, I'll be able to my Korean Internet banking from home and finally sign up for the NateOn chatting service (if foregners can do such a thing). It's going to be like sleeping with the enemy for REALS, but – hey – Mac and Windoze are friends, now, right?
I'm still a true believer, though – an old-school Mac freedom fighter. I still remember the days of the Power Computing sticker and the brief experiment in Mac clones – people actually thought Microsoft could be on the attack. Unrealistic, yes – but a pirate's dream.
But when Steve Jobs came back to Apple in 1997, he started by nixing the clones, restarting the entire Mac line with the candy-colored new "iBook" and "iMac" lines, armed with the powerful and pretty OS X, and then came iPods, Pixar's move to Disney and Jobs' move to the board of directors, and now, Apple's move to Intel chips.
Now, you can combine the strengths of both platforms – the ubiquitous-yet notoriously hack and virus-vulnerable Windoze OS will be best viewed (from next year's release of Leopard) inside the Mac OS's elegant, virus-free, and truly secure system. It's the best of both worlds – you gotta have Windoze in this world, but you don't have to worry about security if you run it in a window inside Mac OS X.
Or you can boot in either, which is the state it's in only for the next few months. In any case, why would you buy some generic Windows-compatible machine when you could get the equivalent of TWO computers for pretty much the same money?
Does anyone really think Apple won't double its market share next year? I mean now, you could choose to buy an Apple PURELY for the looks and just run Windoze, if you were a truly unenlightened philistine. You could get a Macbook for the pretty design and just run Mac when you hooked up your iPod.
A disgusting thought, but hey – they'd still have bought a Mac. This may be one of the best – out of many – ideas that Steve Jobs has ever had. And the industry's already talking about why smaller computer manufacturers like Dell should be shaking in their boots. Microsoft should be happy – for now – because it will still be selling copies of Windoze. But what happens over the next several years when people who have been slowly getting weaned on the elegantly superior OS X start asking the questions, "Do I really need to set up my network in Windows and pull my hair out every week? Why not just do it in an afternoon and not worry about it after that?"
Jobs has done the opposite of Bill Gates' brilliiant move in doing the unnthinkable – licensing software to go with the machines that everyone thought would be where the real profits were. Now, Jobs has remade the machine to run the two major softwares, and just might be able to start making in debt in the luddite conventional wisdom that the world's operating system is Windoze, no matter what you think about it.
To me, the true test and sign of change is Korea, which has always been Mac-unfriendly and infected with this false notion that the Mac system is actually "harder" than Windoze and only "specialists" and "media people" can even touch it. There's still this idea that Macs are inordinately expensive (they used to generally be twice to three times as expensive as equivalent computers in Korea, since Apple's proprietary hardware and software were always imported and there was no official Apple representation/distribution in Korea) and a sign of being a computer literati.
I still like that last assumption, since it's true. Hehe. Anyway, now the iPod has become an item of want here in Korea, and I think that once the word gets out that Macs run Windoze, Koreans could – in theory – get them.
Advice to Apple – knowing how things are marketed and sold here – if Apple had a commercial campaign here along the same lines as their casual, yet witty campaigns have been going, they'd hit a home run in Korea. Here's the pitch:
A pretty, perky agassi using an iPod, which everyone wants. A business dude trying to look cool by using his white Mac on a subway. She sits down next to him, because they're the Mac tribe, part of the same Apple family. You think she's just another "doenjang girl", with silly, superficial sensibilities. We get into her POV, and we find out she's listening to a ESL podcast. We get in his POV, and we see he's running Windoze. End with the line, "Abandon old assumptions. Get a Mac."
Or whatever gets the point across that 1) cool-looking Mac laptops are now as cheap as any Korean computer, 2) that same computer will run Windows, so yes, you can do your Internet banking and go to Daum cafes, 3) Mac actually handles multiple languages better than Windoze (and has since forever, actually, but that's another conversation), 4) Macs are more secure and no OS X viruses exist to date, 5) iPods gain so much more functionality (ICal, iPhoto, and other stuff works with them) than just iTunes when used with a Mac), and that "Macs and Windoze" just "go better together."
A campaign that gets those points across, combined with Macs' already-existent COOL POWER and BRAND-NAME POWER (as objects thought to be really expensive and inaccessible), would be unleashed if you just told the Korean consumer that Macs were two-computers-in-one, cool, and cheap.
All the time, when pulling out my white iBook, when people would get me talking about Mac, they would always say "I could never afford one." When I say that my old iBook was 1,700,000 won, or NOW, that the new Macbook that runs Windoze is around 1,200,000 won – they are always floored.
Or they say, "It's too hard" (which always started my eyes rolling) and "I'd have to learn the computer all over again." Then I swivel my Mac around and let them fiddle with it, noting that the only major difference is with the collapse, minimize, and expand buttons being cute red, yellow, and green (traffic light – hello!? – what's hard?!) and on the left side of the window instead of the right. Then I show them little neat finger tricks like Exposé or the powerful search tool Spotlight – and people always "ooh" and "aah."
Windoze Vista will be introducing features that are pretty much copies of the previous two things, much as the cute and fuzzy Window XP was a straight copy of the Mac OS X's cartoony and cute "Cocoa" style. But when Leopard comes out in early 2007, VIsta will be waaay too little, too late, much like the Playstation 3 is going to be a stillborn horror story. But – they're both coming anyway, although I think the PS3's demise will be much more sudden, apparent, and embarrassing.
I think Apple's rise – and Windows not "demise", but...hmm..."fade from the spotlight" – will be more gradual and not as obvious. But one day, perhaps 3 to 5 years from now, people will be sitting around and realize – "Whoa – when did Apple become the new rising sun around here?" in terms of not just mindshare, but marketshare as well.
The day is coming – that holy day – when I will be able to do my Korean Internet banking in OS X.
I feel a tear welling up.