… you know the ones, cool Apple guy versus incompetent PC guy.
One of the ads is titled ‘Out of the Box‘. The argument being that, if you have a PC, you have to:
- read the manual
- download lots of drivers and updates
- remove unwanted trial software
All this before you can actually get started. Unlike the Mac, which comes out of the box ready to go…
…or does it?
On Friday (the 13th, maybe I should have been warned), one shiny new MacBook Pro arrived on my door step. This is my first ever Mac. Prior experiences with Macs have been limited to:
- Ripping out an Apple network 10 years ago. I was a network manager at the time and bribed the graphics designers over to PCs by promising they’d get much bigger monitors
- Occasional playing with Macs in Apple stores
- Peeking over the shoulders of Mac users at design-oriented conferences
So, I remove one Apple MacBookPro from its box. Switching it on is not difficult and the set-up automatically starts. Nice user interface (UI) to help you get started. But on to the first problem.
Attempts to connect to wireless (BT hub) network fail miserably – password is not accepted (I check the password by using it on my Nokia phone – has wireless support – and no, it’s not the wrong password). Quick check on the net (via my Sony Vaio) and it seems attaching Mac to wireless BT hubs is a bit of known challenge. Saving me the effort of having to phone support when I’ve barely left the starting blocks, a step-by-step guide shows me how to bypass Apple’s Network Assistant in order to get to the advanced properties and configure the password as a WEP. Joy. Set-up completed.
…but isn’t needing someone’s help a little bit like needing a manual? I didn’t need help in getting my PC (Sony Vaio) or mobile phone (Nokia) to connect to the BT hub.
So, now I’m staring at OS/X trying to figure out how I’m going to live without right-click. (Quite well so far, as it turns out, and loving the 2-finger scroll effect on the mouse pad – it works horizontally as well as vertically.)
I check out the icons on the little bar at the bottom. It probably has a name but I’m still trying to avoid reading the manual. Because that Apple vs PC ad made it clear, manuals are for PCs not Macs.
One of the icons gets me into System Preferences, where I discover Software Update. Hmm, like the sound of that. Knowing what a Windows XP installation is like in terms of needing updates, I’m assuming the Mac probably needs a few too, despite what the advert says…
…wasn’t quite expecting the updates to require downloading 300+ Mbs! Yes, 300Mb of updates that weren’t in the box….
To be fair, despite the hefy size, only 5 files needed to be downloaded (one was 163Mb – the core OS update) and the process was relatively painless. …Well, if you don’t include the forced reboot I had to resort to (i.e. place one finger on the power button and hold for five seconds) when the update got stuck convinced that I had iTunes open. Reading the manual whilst the Mac rebooted in a huff, I now know I could have simply gone into the Apple icon to quit and restart the update process.
One AppleMac, out of the box with a bit of assistance and needing some updates. Not so dissimilar from a PC… so what about the trial software claim? I have a peak in the Applications folder and what should I find? An Office 2004 for MAC trial evaluation 🙂 Hmmm…. somwhat ironic that the one piece of trial software happens to be from Microsoft.
Back to that Apple ad. It claimed the Mac wouldn’t need any drivers, I wouldn’t need a manual and there wouldn’t be any trial software to be removed. I did need the manual, the Mac needed 300Mb worth of updates, and it had a trial version of Office for Mac waiting to be removed (I already own a full copy). Not an entirely accurate picture.
That all said, the Mac is just gorgeous. Don’t get me started on the cute little remote that comes with it, and the backlit keyboard – wish the Vaio had that! So far, it is definitely living up to expectations. And I haven’t been a huge fan of those Apple vs PC ads from the start. Maybe it’s the choice of actors in the UK, the Apple guy comes across as a bit of a smug twat and some of the claims are stretching the truth more than a little bit. Although I do think the US security one is funny. (Update: embedded at the end of this post.)
I’m now a dual Windows-Mac user and it’s going to be interesting to see how the two OSs compare going forward. My existing Sony Vaio TX will continue to be my note-taking and admin client, its 7+hrs of battery life and miniscule size means it still wins on the portability front. The Mac will take over design and media duties and, depending on how we get on with Boot Camp, will be dual-booting Windows to run demos and prototypes.