Over the last 24 months or so I’ve noticed a trend in some of my clients toward using more Apple devices. Considering the business market and Apple’s continuing penetration I guess I should have seen it coming. I have lots of users with iPhones now and while that’s annoying (because they didn’t ask me before buying them) the more disturbing issue is that they’re insisting on having Macs on their desks – to run Windows.
What’s up with this? Why are clients buying Apples to run Windows? They’re more expensive to buy. They’re definitely more expensive to support on a business network. I guess they’re more concerned with being trendy than being productive?
A friend of mine is looking for a new computer and getting advice from everyone under the sun. She’s a long time Windows user and is seriously considering purchasing a Mac. I did some research on Google using the keywords “Apple Windows Comparison“, “Mac Versus Windows” and the like. I found mostly Apple propaganda and enthusiasts and very little in the way of real-world business evaluations of the two.
So, here are some of the considerations I came up with:
- The Mac is very different than Windows. You do everything in new ways and will need to learn how to use a computer all over again.
- If you’ve never touched a computer before, learning to use a Mac may be easier than using Windows. If you’ve used Windows before its not.
- If you exchange files and interact mostly with people that use Windows, your life will be easier if you use Windows also.
- Macs don’t always run the same programs Windows does. If you have computer software you’ve been using in Windows, the Mac may or may not have a version of it. If it does, you’ll likely have to pay again for the Mac version.
- I can’t help you with a Mac, so if you get one make sure you have a Mac expert you can call. If the local Apple store offers that for free (or more likely for a charge) then that might help. If you don’t have a local Mac store then you’ll be calling their tech support.
- Macs are definitely trendier than Windows computers. (Is this really a good reason to buy a computer?)
- Macs are better for people who do graphic design and for musicians that use computers in their art. (Not so much any more, but still somewhat true…)
So, understanding that I’m going to need to deal with supporting Macs and iPhones, one of my techs is now running Windows on a Mac and using an iPhone to connect to our corporate Exchange server. I’m not happy about un-standardizing our environment, but as a service provider we always tend to be test beds anyway I guess.
By the way… iPhones cost $150/mo compared with a PDA phone (HTC Diamond Pro or Palm Pre) at Sprint for $100/mo for comparable unlimited minute/data plans. That’s another topic I think. Are iPhones really worth an additional $600/mo per year?
Okay, so I have to chime in on Windows 7. I know its been done to death, but I can’t help myself. I have no doubt that this is the operating system Microsoft should have delivered instead of Vista. Don’t get me wrong, Vista is a step in the right direction, but Windows 7 brings the ideas Microsoft only half delivered in Vista up to par.
So, what do I like about Windows 7? I like how it feels. Maybe I’m just finally getting used to navigating in the Vista interface, but it seems to me that things are more intuitively placed in many instances. There is a lot of counter-intuitive placement in Vista that’s still broken in 7 though.
I think what I like best about Windows 7 is the speed. I upgraded my aging Thinkpad T61p with Windows 7 from Vista and it’s definitely faster than it used to be… even with spotty beta driver support from Lenovo and other vendors. Yes, I get some driver errors, but I think even so, it’s more stable than Vista was on my laptop too. The peppy start up is very nice. Slow laptops especially will benefit from the shorter startup times.
So, with Windows 7 coming on October 22nd, I’m advising all my clients to hold off on new PC purchases if possible. We’re going to walk the bleeding edge so we can access some of the new Server 2008 R2 features. Several of my clients are interested in branch cache. I could set them up now with DFSR, but I think BranchCache is a more elegant solution. Many of my customers are interested in accessing their files remotely without starting a VPN client. Combined with RPC over HTTPS (Outlook Anywhere), I think Direct Access has the potential to be a major productivity enhancer.
Finally, I’m excited about a new Microsoft desktop O/S. I haven’t had to learn much new on the desktop side since, well… 2002 or so… when XP was released. I think the Windows 7 evolution (not a revolution though) is going to be good for the industry and good for users both. I’ve seen projections that few businesses are planning to upgrade (still), but with the way that consumers are leading businesses to new technology today (uh, iPhone anyone?) I have a feeling that we’ll be seeing more Windows 7 than some of the analysts think, and sooner.