Why Apple’s advertising makes me rage

 (apple.com)

(apple.com)

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I’m a Windows guy through and through. Nothing made my blood boil more then when those ignorant, thinly-disguised-as-subtext “I’m a Mac” commercials started airing.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Macs themselves. I even use them from time to time when all other options have been exhausted. Hell, I even own an iPhone.

But it infuriates me that Apple is trying to portray PCs as some sort of inferior system, scrabbling to figure it all out while the slick, cool Mac sits on its pedestal and laughs.

First of all, I submit that proprietary software aside, there is nothing-and I mean nothing-that a Mac can do that a PC can’t.

This sounds like a big claim, but really, it’s nothing new and it probably isn’t a new concept for a lot of people. Again, proprietary software aside, there is no major program that a Mac can run that a PC can’t.

This hits Apple right in the selling point, too, because they claim that Macs are better for design software. What? Why? I have Adobe Master Suite CS4, and it runs perfectly well on my PC. I’m a designer and I’ve used programs like Adobe on both PCs and Macs, and I never saw how the Mac made the program suddenly superior.

If anything, the so-called “simple” design of the Mac makes it actually harder to use any given program. Here’s the biggest flaw: no right-click. It sounds like a petty gripe, I know. But when your major marketing campaign is that design programs work better on your system, how do you justify making it that much harder to access the contextual menus that design programs rely on?

And to head off the criticism, yes, I know that there’s a button on the keyboard that lets you access the right-click menu by holding it down when you click. But nobody with two brain cells to rub together can argue that having two mouse buttons isn’t just more practical at this point.

The only reason to hang on to the single-button design is out of sheer stubbornness. Apple, the two-button design is better-just accept it and stop being petty. Your single-button mouse isn’t better, it’s not simpler and it’s not a brand identifier. It’s just stupid.

Speaking of stupid, Apple also claims that Macs are easier to use than PCs. They’re simple to use, they never crash, and they have no viruses, Apple says. Really?

First of all, “simple to use” is relative. And while I’m sure that relativity was a simple concept for Einstein to wrap his head around, not all of us are Einstein. And while Macs may have a simpler interface (I’ve never noticed a major difference, aside from everything being backwards), it doesn’t take an Einstein to figure out how to use a PC either.

The only reason Macs might be simpler is if the user just isn’t willing to put forth the extra effort to figure out all this right-clicking and left-aligned business. And as far as I’m concerned, Apple can have those customers.

As far as “never crashing” goes, well, call in the MythBusters because we have ourselves an urban legend to crack.

While I’m sure Apple has come a long way from the days where all it took to kill a Mac was dragging the hard drive icon into the recycle bin, they don’t lock up any more or less than PCs do (which, for all of Mac’s smear campaigns against PCs, doesn’t happen all that often either).

Like I already mentioned, I have an iPhone and it’s locked up on me plenty of times. Macs have frozen on me before and so have PCs. It’s something you accept and resolve; it’s not supposed to be a major marketing campaign. Besides, you shouldn’t be allowed to market a product on an unmeasurable statistic. Saying that Macs crash less than PCs isn’t just false, it’s narrow minded.

If you’re looking for a statistic that is measurable, though, you can always look at Apple’s claim that there are almost no viruses for Macs. And you know what? They’re right. But this is for two reasons and neither of them are good.

First, everything that goes on a Mac has to go though Apple. They’re obsessive about it. They don’t like third-party software and they don’t want you messing with the computer yourself, so you are severely limited with what you can do with it. The same is true for the iPhone-some people will even go as far as voiding their warranties to jailbreak their phones, going to all that trouble just to get at a few features that Apple foolishly left out of the design of an otherwise marvelous piece of hardware.

This is one of Apple’s biggest flaws and it’s one of the two main reasons there are so few viruses-almost everything has to go through them. This is great for security but terrible for any sort of third-party design or innovation.

What’s the other reason? Simple-market share. Mac computers do not dominate the market like PCs do. If you’re a hacker or programmer or whatever, do you write your program to be compatible with 80 percent of the potential targets or a mere 20 percent? Those numbers are arbitrary but you certainly get the idea. There are significantly less viruses for the Mac. Why? Because why bother?

While it’s undoubtedly a good thing that Macs don’t have many problems with viruses, it’s really for all the wrong reasons and it’s not something you should flaunt. Besides, PCs don’t get that many viruses either, as long as you’re not doing stupid things like visiting questionable websites and downloading or running everything you see.

So you can see that Apple’s four major selling points for the Mac-simple to use, crashes less often, doesn’t have viruses and are better for designers-are circumstantial at best and at worst, downright false.

Now that we’re done with that, let’s talk about what PCs can do that Macs can’t. Besides right-click.

If the Mac’s greatest flaw is that you can do so little, the PC counters this by giving you an environment where there’s very little you can’t do.

You could argue that this is the PC’s biggest weakness as well as its greatest strength, and you’d probably be right. But for almost every function you can imagine, the PC is and always will be the best and most versatile system.

Yes, I said versatile. What happens if you need to upgrade your PC? Well, lucky thing you have a PC. PC components are cheap and incredibly easy to install yourself. The most it takes is you opening your case, sticking the new part in wherever it goes, maybe install some drivers and then you’re good to go. It’s simple, it’s cheap and it takes maybe 20 minutes.

What do you do if you need to upgrade a Mac? Well, you take it out back and shoot it then buy an entirely new system. Macs, being the polar opposite of PCs in this respect, are not cheap and easy to upgrade and they are a nightmare to fix.

If a component on a PC breaks, you replace the component. If a Mac breaks? Send the whole thing back to the repair center and if they accidentally erase your hard drive, oops, sign here.

As far as software is concerned, PCs can still do everything Macs can do, and then some.

As an experiment, I googled “PC games.” There were about 51 million results. A Google search for “Mac games” on the other hand, turned up only about 4.2 million results.

This should be no surprise. Macs simply aren’t gaming machines; it’s not what they are for although I’m having a hard time figuring out what they are for.

But wait, I hear you say, because I have excellent hearing. Macs can play all the games PCs can, now that Macs are using Intel processors!

Of course you’re right. Good job to Apple for edging in on the gaming market and let’s give them a warm welcome to 1990!

Yes, Macs can play games now, although most modern games still don’t support Apple’s operating systems so technically they have to become PCs first.

When you have to literally become your competition in order to compete, don’t you think that you might have lost the high ground somewhere along the way?

This, more than anything, tells me that for all its elitist advertising, smear campaigns and smug
superiority, Apple is the one scrabbling around trying to get it all right and the PC is the one looking over its shoulder, wondering when the Mac is going to catch up.

So what’s the point in owning a Mac if a PC can do everything they can and then some? To be perfectly honest, I don’t know. As I said, I don’t hate Macs. I simply don’t see any appeal or any practical reason to own one. I do hate the advertising campaigns they’ve engaged in over the last couple of years as they attack every ounce of common sense I have in my body.

The only thing I can conclude from this is that the people who are educated on all of these points and still choose to own a Mac over a PC are elitist snobs riding on the “refined” advertising campaign Apple has established, or people who don’t actually like computers.