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How would you sell a friend on a Mac?


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19 replies to this topic

#1 of 20 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted September 18 2007 - 11:09 AM

I'd like to do a "Should you buy a Mac?" speech for my Toastmasters club. I'd like your help on this: what are the best selling points and also the biggest drawbacks to using a Mac over a Windows PC? My audience is 'normal' folks--people who use computers at home and work but don't become emotionally involved in them, like (ahem) some of us :b So I could use ideas geared toward the mainstream user. Thanks!

#2 of 20 OFFLINE   Carl Johnson

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Posted September 18 2007 - 11:56 AM

I wouldn't approach the presentation as a sales pitch. Start with an open ended question asking the audience what kind of features that they would want in a new computer, and let the options speak for themselves. If you need to run specific software then your choices are limited. If you're looking for the cheapest equipment that will allow you to surf the internet then that limits your choices too, but you get what you pay for. Then you could compare and contrast a reasonably equipped PC with a Mac. Even after using security features available on a PC like AdAware, Spy Sweeper, a firewall, and an anti virus program the odds of having your system compromised are less on the Mac.

#3 of 20 OFFLINE   Rod J

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Posted September 18 2007 - 12:03 PM

have them try to uninstall the pre-installed AOL from a windows pc after using it once and try to get their network/modem connections to work as if AOL had never been there (hint have the original system restore disc ready)

#4 of 20 OFFLINE   Mike Heenan

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Posted September 18 2007 - 01:29 PM

Biggest drawback of a Mac so far is the price. One good thing to emphasize is the lack of viruses on Macs, and that the OS is more stable. Also mention (for the laptops at least) the backlighting on the keyboard, I at first thought it was a "meh" feature but is actually really cool and helpful. Also the Macs are definitely more stylish than any PC's I've seen, so that may appeal to some people.

#5 of 20 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted September 18 2007 - 02:01 PM

Thanks for the helpful comments. (and I agree, the lit keyboard is great. I miss it when using my external keyboard.) I'll clarify: I'm not going for a "sales" pitch. I want to give a 10 min presentation on how a Mac is great choice today, but be fair to its drawbacks, like price or limited software. I'll use the comments here to help find the best talking points for a broad audience.

#6 of 20 OFFLINE   Aaron Reynolds

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Posted September 18 2007 - 02:56 PM

As Uncle Walt says, the answer to "should I buy a Mac or a PC" is "buy the computer that does both".

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#7 of 20 OFFLINE   Christ Reynolds

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Posted September 19 2007 - 12:35 AM

This should only include games, because everything else runs in VMware Fusion. Even Boot Camp will run XP natively, so games aren't an issue, unless you don't want to reboot. In truth, the Windows PC has limited software, because the Mac can run Windows and Mac software, Windows is limited.

Not all Macs are more expensive, despite the popular claim. Spec out a Mac Pro and a similar Dell. You might be surprised at the results.

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And then when I feel so stuffed I can't eat anymore, I just use the restroom! And then I CAN eat more!

#8 of 20 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted September 19 2007 - 06:16 AM

I've compared prices. I'm convinced high-end is competively priced, mid- and low-end is expensive, but it's hard to quantify "cool" and "style". Posted Image

I actively use Parallels and BootCamp, and I don't view them as a good good long-term solution. If your essential computing needs require a Windows-only app, go with a Windows machine. (And I really want a good finance program to quit Parallels / MS Money.) Gaming is limited with BootCamp: Mac video cards are mediocre (at best).

This limitation also also includes creative software (ironically), as such as hobbyist image editing and possibly web-design. And, alas, hardware like mice and keyboards.

I agree, though, that the converse partially holds: I don't know of a Windows creative suite equal in price and quality to iLife. And for a developer, I believe the Mac gives XCode free compared to buying Visual Whatever from MS.

I don't want to be unduly negative, but a Mac recommendation (from me) must be balanced by an overview of its faults. It's not all sweetness and light. It's a complex system like any OS, and it crashes with the best (worst?) of them. And there are other real drawbacks that should be explained, unless I just want to be an ignorant / sleazy salesman.

#9 of 20 OFFLINE   Christ Reynolds

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Posted September 20 2007 - 03:27 PM

Which software do you know of that is available for Windows but not for OS X? CJ
And then when I feel so stuffed I can't eat anymore, I just use the restroom! And then I CAN eat more!

#10 of 20 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted September 21 2007 - 01:05 AM

Macs come with video cards that are middling for gaming. For a casual gamer like me, this is fine. But for an avid gamer, a hobbyist gamer, there are much better and cheaper options in the Windows world.

There is a software gap in mid-range image editors; this is evidenced by the recent launch of Acorn, Pixelmator and some third app I've heard of. There's a lack of a good, robust, well-supported, ~$50 image editor akin to PhotoImpact or PaintShopPro. PhotoImpact was a robust pixel-based image editor that managed all graphics as individual objects; text could be edited after initial creation. (No demo of Elements to try. Seashore inadequate. Gimp is torture. Haven't tried Acorn. Pixelmator is yet unavailable.)

There is also niche professional software that is CPU-intensive and Windows only. I won't bother listing apps, but there are programs I and coworkers use that are Windows only, or whose Mac versions are inferior. I also include people who use MS Office with complex Excel macros or VBA-created programs. If your job relies on these, going Mac could be less satisfying.

From your and others' comments, I'm working with this approach:

* No better time to switch to a Mac with mature OS X, Windows compatibility, and great hardware options

* Don't bother if you're a cheapskate (<$400 for a PC) or hardcore gamer. Think carefully if you do niche engineering or financial work.

* Security! So much easier on a Mac

* Price is good for high-end, reasonable for mid-range

* Ease and pleasure of use: Expose, iLife creative suite, Dock, approach to use data organization, multiple user accounts for the family, .Mac

* Aesthetics: attractive hardware. clear product lines make shopping easier. good stores with reasonably informed salespeople.

* Downsides: some limitations in choice of peripherals (e.g. Logitech mice) and some software options are more limited (low-end graphics software).

#11 of 20 OFFLINE   Christ Reynolds

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Posted September 21 2007 - 11:50 AM

I agree gaming may be limited, but it has nothing to do with Boot Camp, which is what you originally stated. Any gaming limitation is purely hardware, since Macs can run Windows natively. CJ
And then when I feel so stuffed I can't eat anymore, I just use the restroom! And then I CAN eat more!

#12 of 20 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted September 22 2007 - 03:17 PM

For the record I run Lightroom, PS CS3, Half Life 2, Everquest and a variety of other non trivial uses of 2D/3D on a Macbook. <-- Note the period this is NOT a MBPro!

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#13 of 20 OFFLINE   Eric M Jones

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Posted September 24 2007 - 04:52 AM

I think aesthetics are a huge factor. Folks are always stunned when they see the mini at my house and they realize that it is truly a "real" computer. They're always left scratching their heads asking why do I have the huge, ugly, beige box that has to be hidden under my desk? I also get a similar reaction to my iMac with reactions like, "that's the whole computer?" "where's all of the wires?" -EJ
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#14 of 20 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted September 24 2007 - 05:15 AM

Eric, thanks for the comment. I want to play up the aesthetics in part of my presentation. Sam, not to belabor the point, but Half Life 2 is 3 years old. I know Macs, especially intel Macs, can play games. But for the serious gamer -- the friend I had in high school who bought high-end systems from Falcon NW or Alienware solely to play the newest games at highest resolutions -- Mac is not a good choice. They simply don't have upper-mid and high-end graphics cards. For casual gamers like you and me playing older games or newer ones at reduced quality settings, it's fine. But for the person who buys a PC to game, Mac is probably not the right choice. Is security an issue for people? Was that a selling point for the Mac, the lack of viruses, etc? I'm not sure if "normal" people really think about that or view it as selling point.

#15 of 20 OFFLINE   Christ Reynolds

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Posted September 24 2007 - 05:40 PM

I would argue the number of people dropping $3k on a dedicated gaming machine is dwarfed by the number of people who would settle for slower performance of a Mac video card. About Half-Life 2, it may have come out nearly 3 years ago, but Episode One came out a little over a year ago, and Episode Two has yet to be released. It's not simply a '3 year old game', it is constantly being updated. To me, it looks as stunning as any game I've seen, before or since. I agree that Macs are behind other PCs in gaming ability, but I wouldn't call it a limitation. I'd just never buy a Mac FOR gaming. A gamer that must have the latest and greatest $500 graphics card will be disappointed with Macs. Most others would be happy with the performance. CJ
And then when I feel so stuffed I can't eat anymore, I just use the restroom! And then I CAN eat more!

#16 of 20 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted October 14 2007 - 09:22 AM

Here's the presentation I created using Keynote for my Toastmasters club. I gave the presentation live in the club. Here, I exported the slideshow as video and merged my audio into it.

(Should you) Buy a Mac?

Alas, Keynote replaces some of the cooler transitions with simple "appear" when exporting to video.

Also, anyone know if GarageBand can help reduce audio noise? I don't know audio tools, so didn't try to filter out the background hiss from the audio.

#17 of 20 OFFLINE   BrianShort

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Posted October 14 2007 - 01:52 PM

Firstly, nice presentation Dave! It's still loading for me, but I'll watch it all in a few minutes.
I'm really impressed with what Keynote can do. MS will have to really play catch up with PowerPoint, IMO. I think I first became aware of Keynote after watching An Inconvenient Truth and wondering what presentation software Al Gore was using. It looked so slick that I didn't think it could be PowerPoint, so I Googled it to find out. He also used a place called Duarte Design to put the program together for him. They do a lot of work for many computer companies.
I honestly think now that Keynote is one of the reasons I personally want a Mac, along with Final Cut Express, and OS X obviously.

I would sell a friend on a Mac by telling them to visit an Apple store! I got a chance to visit one this week while in Orlando, and they are fantastic. Not too many places where you really get to try the products hands on. I played around with several of the systems as I'm planning on a new laptop early next year (probably a MacBook Pro!). I was impressed to see that several computers in the store (all of the MBPs, iMacs, and Mac Pros anyway), even had software like Final Cut Studio and Shake installed, free to be played with.

I also found I really want an iPhone after actually getting to touch one Posted Image

I hope I can just hold out until January when hopefully some new MBPs come out.

#18 of 20 OFFLINE   Aaron Reynolds

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Posted October 17 2007 - 02:26 AM

There are some basic tools in the Podcasting options for noise removal, Dave -- click on your dialogue track and click on the "i" button, then select "Podcasting" and try out the different options (like Male Narrator Noisy). There's an option in Keynote if you want to make a video version to record your narration and clicks so you don't have to go merge it later -- it's in the Inspector, in the document tab, under "Audio". I love Keynote '08. LOVE it.

#19 of 20 OFFLINE   ErichH

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Posted October 17 2007 - 04:34 AM

Other than `You can't get it for 399 at Office Depot' this is the best pitch. There will be many who don't see the point of getting past AOL on a cheap PC. Life is short

#20 of 20 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted October 17 2007 - 08:06 AM

I'll check out the noise removal features Posted Image

I don't think I can use the narrative recording for this specific purpose: I gave this presentation live with Keynote two weeks ago and video recorded my presentation; I extracted the audio track from the movie clip. I then exported a new Keynote video of the slide show, based on the timings from my live performance, and merged in the audio from that live presentation. (Does that make sense? Original Audio + New Keynote Video == final result).

I could have recorded a new audio track and been done super easy. But I wanted to use my original speech.




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