Macs: Computers for Everyone

by Steven Leigh Nov 13, 2007

Do you remember when Macs were seen as computers for beginners? I do. There was a time when the simplicity of Macs made them a good recommendation for those who were not the most tech-savvy. Seniors or children who didn’t have a lot of experience with computers would supposedly do well with a Mac. Most classrooms that had a computer had a Mac. 

The problem is I never really thought Macs were much easier to use than Windows, at least from a beginner’s perspective. In fact, I still don’t. Oh sure, they’re more intuitive. If you have file A and want to have program B do something to it, most likely you can just drag it right over to the icon for program B and you’ll be done in one or two steps. But that kind of intuitiveness requires a certain level of sophistication too. It still requires you to think like a computer just a little bit.

Then you have the little quirks that probably don’t make any sense to a beginner at all. This is true on both platforms. In Windows, you used to shut down by clicking the “Start” button. On a Mac, you used to eject a disk by dragging it to the trash. Many people, myself included, expected that action to delete the contents of the disk, not to eject it. All of that being said, I still think Macs are a good platform for beginners. It’s not any more difficult to learn than Windows and at least there are few security concerns, which is often a problem for beginners who don’t have the experience to know what to stay away from.

Besides the beginners, there was another group who always gravitated toward the Mac: artists. This was partly due to the aesthetic design, but also the available software. For a long time the only place to do video editing, for example, was on a Mac. The only place to do serious audio editing was on a Mac. Windows has caught up in this area for the most part, but Macs are so entrenched in the creative world that you are an outsider if you use a PC. Ironically, these two segments have merged slightly since the release of iLife. Now, a beginner is often drawn to the Mac for its ability to easily and quickly help them do creative projects that they normally wouldn’t take the time to learn and do. A beginner can take their photos and make a photo book in less than an hour, or write a simple song in Garageband.

But there is another group of users becoming prevalent on the Mac platform: power users. I don’t mean power Mac users, I mean power computer users. You see, I love computers, all computers.  I love tweaking settings in Windows. I love playing around with Linux. I think that Macs are the best computing platform out there, but mostly I just love using a computer. I’m not alone.  More and more programmers, designers, and even IT people are starting to use Macs, because a Mac is the ultimate computer.  Here you have the ability to run Windows and Linux, and virtually any operating system you could want, along with OS X, and you have Unix built right in. Many power users like me have grown tired of the security vulnerabilities of Windows. We don’t want to have to run antivirus software that bogs down the system. We don’t want to have to wipe the hard drive and reinstall the OS once a year to get it back up to speed. We just want a clean, enjoyable computing experience, and it doesn’t hurt that Macs are the most beautiful-looking computers out there. We love computers, after all. The thing to realize is that if Macs are popular with the power users, Apple is obviously doing something right. These are people who know a great computer when they see one.

Furthermore, this brings up an important point: Macs are everywhere. They’re hitting virtually every segment of the market. They are no longer a computer for outsiders or those who “Think Different.” They are the computer for your grandmother, the computer for your daughter, and the computer for Linux geeks. In fact, there is only one group of people I can imagine NOT recommending Macs to: stubborn Windows fanboys.



  • I couldn’t agree more.  I’m an IT professional.  I have been supporting Windows PCs for at least 10 years.  I remember the days of DOS, CGA monitors, 300 baud modems and BBS’s.  I bought my first Mac (MacBook) for personal use earlier this year.  It’s now my primary computer and I’ll never go back to using a PC at home.  Apple must be doing something right.  smile

    hstnprepboy had this to say on Nov 13, 2007 Posts: 1
  • One little caveat:  Macs are for everyone as long as they can afford pay the entry fee, currently set at a minimum of $600 for the woefully underpowered and sans keyboard/mouse Mac mini.  But otherwise, I agree.

    I’d also add that Leopard goes a long way toward finally surpassing Windows in my view.  I’ve long argued that they are both good solid operating systems.  And I still think so.  But Leopard’s Time Machine and new networking features, while not perfect, are really something special.  Networking should always be so easy.  And Time Machine finally makes backup a no brainer (although it does require an extra HDD which adds to the Mac’s TCO).

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Nov 15, 2007 Posts: 2220
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