How Do You Like Them Apples?

If you know me personally, or follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I like my Apples, not just Royal Gala but the electronic flavour too. I first came into contact with the computer variety back in the early nineties during a high school work placement in a local advertising agency (the now defunct Longcastle, Preston). That first Apple was the classic Macintosh IIci which boasted a whopping 128MB RAM, mind boggling 80MB HD and it was beige!

You read that right, way before the current, sleek, brushed aluminium enclosures, even before the fresh, fruity flavoured original iMac, Apples were big beige boxes, much like their Windows PC counterparts.

So why am I an Apple user then? Mainly because back then, and even to this day, Apple computers are the de facto standard in the pre-press industry. Having studied graphic design for five years to degree standard, then worked as a junior designer and pre-press production artist, before founding Quentin James Design in 1998, there really was no option but to use and embrace Apple computers.

New adopters will point to other factors that influenced their choice of fruit. Some will talk about greater security and the virus free eco-system that the Apple platform currently offers. Others will have been drawn in thanks to the ‘Halo Effect’ after purchasing a single, smaller, stand alone device, such as an iPod. Some more recent converts will simply have chosen Apple products, as they are undeniably fashionable.

So why stick with the Apple eco-system? Well, for me, it all just works – seamlessly. Sure I have the odd hiccup or problem from time to time, but having owned and used Apple computers virtually every single day since mid 1996, I can count the serious failures I’ve encountered on one hand.

In fact, I count just two failures. Firstly the Apple 1710AV monitor that came with my first Power Mac 7600 way back in 1996. The solution – buy another 1710AV with a different fault then ‘cut and shut’ the good bits together! More recently, my venerable iBook G3 developed a motherboard problem, common to that generation iBook. Leave the failing laptop in a cold room overnight, and enjoy a hour or two of unbroken usage the next day. Don’t, and the iBook would suffer a total failure soon after startup – strange but sadly true. The solution on that occasion was to sell the iBook for parts and treat myself to a shiny new Powerbook G4. Ignoring one other ‘accident’ involving a laptop on a table, a trailing power lead and boisterous Tibetan terrier named Huxley and my fifteen years of personal and professional use has been virtually hassle free.

Among the many, many Apple computers I’ve used regularly during the last fifteen years, I’ve been lucky enough to own and treasure the following examples:

  • Power Macintosh 7600
  • Power Mac G4 (Sawtooth)
  • Powerbook G3 (Lombard)
  • iBook G3
  • PowerMac G5 (Q77)
  • Powerbook G4
  • iMac 27” Core i7
  • MacBook Air (M96)

These last two models are my current crop. The 27” iMac is my daily driver and the MacBook Air, which I’m writing this blog post on, is my sporty little weekend number. But Apple don’t just design, manufacture and sell computers anymore. In fact they dropped ‘Computer’ from their name to simply become Apple inc.

Superbly Designed Apple MacBook Air

The beautifully designed Apple MacBook Air.

Probably the best device/gadget I’ve ever owned, Apple or otherwise, is my iPhone (3GS). It’s a phone that syncs with my iMac, it’s also an iPod, a pocket computer, a gateway to the internet, a camera, it takes video, is a Sat-Nav and is massively, limitlessly, expandable thanks to the Apple App Store – it’s just about perfect.

So will I always be an Apple guy? I became a full time Apple user in 1996 during what was arguably Apple’s darkest hour. The products weren’t fashionable, reliable or affordable. Two years later, their founder and would-be savior, Steve Jobs returned and has since steered the company to become one of the world’s most valuable companies. They have, and continue to design and produce, some of the most iconic products in world, which are at the cutting edge of design and technology.

The fashion aspect doesn’t bother me, as I became a user when they were beige. The higher price point doesn’t bother me either, as I’m prepared to pay extra for a quality product. So, I suppose as long as their products continue to just ‘work’ straight out of the box, I’ll almost certainly be an Apple guy.

Footnote – I wrote this blog post before I had listened to episode 364 of the MacCast podcast (31/08/2011), where host Adam Christianson (@MacCast) asks eleven esteemed guests “Why are you an Apple User?” Why not listen to the podcast and find out why I’m not alone in being a long-time, committed Apple user.