Last week I visited the Apple store. A newly opened one. One could liken it to a mecca for Apple lovers. Now by mecca, I don’t mean to worship any deity, nor can I say I use Apple products religiously. It’s just a place that represents one brand, yet attracts so many people from all walks of life. I was simply drawn in with the rest of the shoppers walking past.
Sure I love Apple. As a brand it represents knowledge, hope, power and innovation. As a product it represents simplicity, quality and perfection. With its stylish design and fluid lines, I felt very welcomed walking in. The experience of the Apple store itself is meant to leave people wanting more. For Apple lovers it’s like visiting a toy store.
Well before my Apple iPhone, I came from humble beginnings. I used a Nokia, Samsung and Motorola before being introduced to one of the greatest revolutionary products the world has ever seen. I’ve devoted many hours to backing, syncing, and restoring my iPhone, setting up iTunes, searching, downloading, organizing and scrolling through various applications while waiting in lunch lines and bus lines. I have made a loving and long-term transition to the iPhone and have remained reluctant to stray with other brands on the market… but one thing I haven’t yet done to round-out my Apple love, is to make the transition from Windows to Mac.
So I walked over the stark white tiles in the brightly lit store, narrowly missing the enthusiastic Apple employee greeting me as I quickly made my way over to check out the sleek Mac laptops. I was hoping to have a quick look then go on my way, but alas he walked over with his mega-watt smile and began his Mac spiel.
Now if you’ve ever watched Zoolander, you might remember the “Man vs Machine” scene where Derek and Hansel look curiously at an old iMac computer like primitive men discovering fire, having been told the files they need are “in” the computer. They then proceed to tip it over, shaking and bashing it in while making frustrated monkey-like noises. Well if you can picture this… that’s me with a Mac.
I can go a little crazy trying to use a Mac. Like many other Windows users, I feel like a clueless baboon trying to do the most basic of tasks. Where the hell is the print button?!… I am forced to search Google forums for easy to follow guides for Mac dummies. The sleek design, the fast and intuitive operating system, it’s all so exciting yet intimidating to the average Windows user, already set in our ways. So I just stood there listening as I was whizzed through a summary of the laptop variations, while I pictured Derek Zoolander hovering in the background, growling at this sophisticated piece of machinery.
So am I just one of many who are yet to make the transition from Windows to Mac? I am told over and over again how much simpler the Mac is compared with Windows. Yes it feels like you need a rocket science degree at first but then apparently it all comes naturally and you become accustomed to using it- just like riding a bike. Perhaps this expensive, sleek looking bike could be comparable to the rough and dirty three-wheeler that is Windows… mine has a tendency to crash and it can be an effort to maintain.
What other brands out there make us feel this way? Perhaps my views are biased but I don’t think there are many. Apple is in a class of its own. The Apple brand has widened the gap between itself and other brands by astronomical proportions. Humans have such an overwhelming desire to satiate our appetites for a little luxury. The bigger, the faster, the sleeker… the better! Steve Jobs knew what people wanted and created this cult-like following of Apple worshippers all over the world.
I still face the idea of transitioning from a Windows to a Mac with trepidation and slight embarrassment for not yet welcoming the whole Apple family into my life. I could stay with my Windows 7 PC. After all, Microsoft is anticipating a release later this year of their latest Operating System upgrade, Windows 8. Supposedly us Windows users will experience a faster start up, fewer CPU processes, less memory lag and an overall better performance than previous Windows versions ever did… but of course Apple being the extraordinary brand that it is, has already kept its customers happy, having ticked all of the above boxes with its own recently released Operating System, Lion.
So standing there next to the Apple employee and his mega-watt smile, surrounded by all of the store’s brand new goodness, I was left contemplating my forthcoming predicament. (It’s such a first world problem isn’t it?) Do I go out and purchase the shiny new Mac hardware and sit there for hours in a mind-numbing game of learning how to use a completely different Operating System? Or do I soldier on with Windows, take a chance and pray that upgrading to Windows 8 later this year will be the cheaper, easier option that will hopefully leave me feeling more tech-savvy than Derek Zoolander?
Looking past the shiny laptops, something else caught my eye… The iPad! I was gone in a flash. There I was… in this new Apple store, a non-religious-Apple-user-cum-iPhone-lover, standing there next to a 12 year old, both of us playing with the display iPads like little kids on the loose in Toys-R-Us. Oh how I forgot all about the laptops.
Perhaps I can ease my worries with an iPad first. Steve will be happy with that.