To all the people pearl-clutching over Mac’s ad campaigns against PC, I put forward this thought experiment. Given the large number of people making this complaint, and given the large number of people who own Q-Ray bracelets, is it reasonable to assume that there is a sub-group of people who think Apple is being unfair in their advertising who own Q-Ray bracelets? Think about it. I’m not excusing current blatantly manipulative standards in advertising, but I just wanted to point out the absurdity of singling out Mac as the evil-doer on this one. That’s the business. Deal with it.
That being said, I do agree with the criticism that Mac is currently running the risk of eliticizing itself. For one thing, they have yet to offer an inexpensive MacBook akin to the Dell or Acer, for example, notebooks that run for about 400$ — basic systems that are affordable to students, a major computer-buying demographic, and will introduce Macs to a new generation of consumers.
I like Mac products. They’re pretty and, except for a few hiccups, run pretty well. But they are damned expensive. Also, they come out with a new model of everything they make every year (or so it feels like) which 1) alienates early adopters and 2) creates a sense of doubt in consumers: “I could buy this iPod, but they’ll come out with something better next year” — 1 year later — “I could buy this iPod, but they’ll come out with something better next year”. I’m not sure to what extent either of these things impact sales currently, but they are running a risk.
Mac did something right. They created a slick, easy-to-use product without the most complained-about pitfalls of PCs. But if Microsoft ever gets its act together with a decent OS in a pretty package, Mac is in trouble because if they lose that advantage all they are left with is a machine that costs up to 4 times what a consumer can get a fairly decent PC for. Not to mention Mac still has the obvious disadvantage that most (around here at least) game stores don’t sell Mac versions and some game developers still don’t release a Mac version at all. Mac is still not a gamer’s machine, so gamers who like what Mac has to offer have to either put up with the lack of games or buy a PC as well. It’s much harder to do the latter while Macs are so expensive and it’s much more annoying to do the former.
Anyway, the recent E3 conference coverage sort of brought these thoughts into my mind so I thought I’d ramble on for a bit. I’m sort of annoyed with the way computer companies sort of have us by the balls. A new company can’t really break through because there are so many issues with compatibility and the current giants don’t have to change much because we essentially have to buy one or the other. But if Mac doesn’t want to lose people that aren’t elitist hipsters to PC, they might want to reconsider some things.