Recently we had some feedback from an anonymous correspondant who had read our previous article about Apple Computers (click here to read). In the interests of being completely transparent we have decided to share their thoughts, and our response to them.

 

Obviously you don’t sell Macs!  After reading your column in GHCN it is obvious that you have never used a Mac computer for any length of time.  I am 51 years old starting using Macs in a new job 8 years ago and eventually became a home user 2 years later.  Such a stable operating system in the work place and WOW, my husband at the time had been battling for 2 years trying to drive a PC.  Got a Mac and he was off like a bolt of lightening.  Have also referred a couple of elderly people who could just not master a PC but different story when they bought a Mac.   As for cost, might pay a bit more in the beginning but my desktop is 6 years old and still running like a beauty – a PC would have been long gone, slow & tired and really not much use for anything.  Repairs – don’t know because never had one break down in the 8 years I have been exposed to them.  Mac OS X & Windows 7 – also used both – OSX wins hands down and you forgot to mention how much more secure the Mac is.  Not having to worry about virus scanners etc. Never had a virus in 6 years on my home computer since owning a Mac nor any other costs of purchasing virus scanners.  So maybe I think you didn’t give a very balanced opinion and I feel a bit sad for anyone reading your column who would be biased not to give Mac a go.  I would never own a PC ever again – it would be like going from a “Mercedes” to a “Mini Minor” .


Our Response

Dear Anonymous,

Firstly – thanks for giving us some feedback on our article that was published in the GC News recently. It is always great to know that people are reading it and we thank you for taking the time to respond with your thoughts.

However, we would like to take a moment to correct some of your incorrect assumptions. It was never our intention to say that Apple computers are a bad choice – we are, in fact, Mac users ourselves. I personally have the top of the line MacBook Air – a significant investment at around $1800… such an investment surely gives you an indication that we think Apple computers are great. Within our business, we also have a 13” MacBook Pro (also top of the line), a 27” iMac (used for in-house graphic and web design work), an older MacBook Pro and white MacBook (both retired “workhorses” and now used for testing purposes in our workshop) and also a top of the line Mac Pro desktop system. In addition to all of these, we have PC’s in various incarnations. So we have been using both Apple and PC for years – and we feel that we are well placed to comment on the differences between the two.

 We also have Apple trained technicians on our staff and we regularly service, repair and upgrade Apple computers. We also provide full support to businesses that run both Apple/PC and just Apple environments.

The intention of my article was merely to provide some information that the average Apple salesperson would not likely be sharing to consumers. It is a fact that the new MacBook Pro models with Retina Display (and likely the rest in the future) cannot have their batteries, memory and hard drives changed by home users/repair shops. I am unsure at this point if Apple stores themselves will be offering these services. By implementing these changes into the new models Apple have effectively forced consumers to foresee at the point of purchase, what their future needs might be.  Many of our customers either have a need to upgrade their machines or carry out hardware repairs months/years down the track from their initial purchase.

We recently had a young lady in our shop who owned a Mac that was 1 month past its warranty expiration date. The logic board had failed in it. This is a part that is so unfathomably expensive (around $1300+ for parts only) that it renders the machine ‘not economical to repair’. It becomes more sensible to purchase a new computer. To us, this seems like a senseless contribution to landfill and a complete rort. This situation is not uncommon. We have also obtained quotes for customers to repair the DVD drive in an iMac (around $800) and many other similar situations where the repair cost was obscene when the machine was outside of warranty.

I have also had a woman close to tears in our shop because she had been talked into purchasing a Macbook Pro for her daughter. Her daughter was starting home schooling for the first time and had previously only used PC’s while at school. Their previous computer had been a PC.  They were lost as to how to do the most basic things on a mac, and it cause a lot of stress for them both because the distance education resources were designed purely for a PC and for some of the files they needed to download and access – it was simply not compatible with a mac. We have encountered other people who have just not transitioned well into the Apple environment. Others love it and never look back.

In regards to the security level of a Mac – the current version of Mac OS X operating system isn’t in any significant way more secure than Windows 7. The main reason why Macs have not been attacked more is because there are so few of them compared to PCs. In other words, they simply have not been a very interesting target for virus creators because there is a lot more money to be made from the much larger number of people using PCs.

However, this is changing due to the increase in popularity of Apple computers and as such they are starting to become more of a target for online criminals, hackers and virus creators.

Things are changing at Apple also. The latest release of the OS X operating system (Mountain Lion) actually has an extremely simplified antivirus program built-in. Apple also released this statement: “With virtually no effort on your part, OS X offers a multilayered system of defences against viruses and other malicious applications, or malware”.

Apple recently tempered its security claims on the “Why you’ll love a Mac” Web page. Apple used to say the Mac “isn’t susceptible to the thousands of viruses plaguing Windows-based computers” and that the Mac would protect against malware “with virtually no effort” from users.

Apple no longer makes those claims. Instead, it highlights the Mac OS X’s “built-in defenses,” such as sandboxing. That technique, which has always been in the Mac, restricts the OS services an application can access. While sandboxing is helpful, it is a long way from being bulletproof.

You might like to read the following news articles about some particularly nasty Apple viruses that infected half a million macs:

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/06/widespread-computer-virus-indicates-mac-users-no-longer-safe/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/25/mac-virus-apple_n_1625110.html
http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2012/04/11/apple-writing-software-to-rid-half-million-macs-flashback-virus/

 

The point I am trying to make here is that a Mac is not suitable for every person in every circumstance. Some people do find using O SX much easier than the equivalent Windows operating system. However, others just cannot adapt to the change – it’s all down to personal preference and what suits the individual user. What we like to do is help consumers to understand the difference, in order to assist them in making an educated choice about what might be best for their needs. Whatever their decision, we will continue to provide support and repair services to them in the long run.

 

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