You know how some people call bulk warehouses (like Sam's or Costco) $100 Stores, because it's impossible to leave them without having purchased at least $100 worth of merchandise? Well, on Monday I learned that the Apple Store, which I have long feared even setting foot in because of the unnerving, glowing, cultish aura around it, is my $3000 Store.
I know. I know. She who has long derided the entire Mac mentality is now the proud owner of a 3.06GHz, 4GB of RAM, 24" display iMac. And loving every pixel of it.
But I've used iPods without issue in the past, and I've been thoroughly pleased with my iPhone this year as well. In fact, that's what brought us into the intimidating Apple Store in the first place--centurion73's iPhone was acting up. We walked into the store, made an appointment to speak with a tech an hour later, took care of some shopping around the mall, and went back for the appointment. They poked and prodded it for a few minutes, and handed him a brand-new phone with all his data copied over, at no charge, no questions asked.
In the few minutes it took for that transaction, I checked out the specs on the iMacs. My Sony Vaio, which has already caused me no shortage of headaches in just the year I'd had it, was hobbling along now with corroded innards courtesy an unpleasant exchange between it, our dog's tail, and a full glass of water. This after having to replace the hard drive on it twice already because something was screwy with its RAID0 config.
I've been using laptops as desktop replacements for as long as I've had my own computer, and frankly I'm getting sick of them. In order to house all the power I need to get by with just a laptop that can handle the various resource-intensive programs I need (Photoshop, WoW with 8 billion add-ons, and my own horribly bloated, inefficient coding projects) then every laptop I've owned has been as close to unportable as a portable machine can be. Throw on the snakebed of wires needed for mice and other peripherals as well as battery packs to sustain the beasts and I resemble Houdini performing an escape from padlocked chains--a contortionist act that invariably results in spilled water (the Vaio), white wine (the latest Dell, mid-first Nefarian kill), and Red Bull (the preceding Dell, mid-Compilers project completion).
Jason bought me an assortment of sippycups this week to aid with the liquidity issues, but seeing as how any time I go coffee-shopping or traveling I prefer to work old-school, relying only on notebooks and iPhones anyway, I was looking for an actual desktop machine. No more scorching hot processors leaving permanent burn marks on my thighs (yes, I really have this). No more hunching over screens to throw out my back. And for god's sake, it'd be nice to have an actual number pad just for once that doesn't require yet another cord to trip me.
So I started pricing desktops, especially all-in-ones, but lord, they were a lot of clams for not a lot of processing power. I looked at towers but the best I could come up with was an HP with 2.8GHz and 4GB on Vista for--shudder--$3200. I hated Vista on the Vaio because I had to strip away all of its redeeming features just to be able to run the damn thing without stuttering.
But the specs I saw on the top-of-the-line iMac were... surprising, to say the least, especially relative to the price tag. I never expected Macs to be comparable in price to PCs but there it was. And knowing that for the same RAM requirements I'd be running an OS that required far less processing power, freeing up a lot more space for my apps, was very tempting. But then there was that whole "using a Mac" business to get past.
We hunted down the least... well... Mac-looking clerk in the store and started grilling him. Can I still do this, use this? Yes, and you can do it this way and that. I hate giving up autonomy for the way my files are stored, and it seems like Macs take control for you. Well, you can change these settings and still have the control you want. What about these programs I love, this functionality? All was revealed. Our clerk admitted that he understood exactly what stigma we had against Macs and Mac users, and that it was his goal for us to leave the store with our minds changed. And two and a half hours later we left the store completely changed in our opinions. We came back two hours later and bought my iMac and accompanying software, peripherals, and service plans.
And now Dad has bought an iMac AND Air of his own after seeing mine in action.
It's taken a bit of adjustment, but the flexibility and functionality I have now is amazing. I never, ever thought I'd be using a Mac, and I don't think I'd be nearly as happy with one prior to now, but the current state of Macs and the integration of every single product and item they make really makes it ideal for me. I love that I can sync up my data across the board for any program I use, for both my desktop and my phone and perhaps one day a tiny laptop as well. My programs just sing on the thing. Jason just sits and drools at my screen and says that he wants one, too.
But don't worry--I've thrown away every apple sticker they've given me (I think like 6 at this point). I'm not going to be lusting after Steve Jobs anytime soon. I'm just happy to finally have the computing experience I've always wanted; I just never imagined it would come from a Mac.