Mac appeal

So I have an iPhone.  I have an iPad.  And I have a 2010 white unibody MacBook.  Today, I’m talking about the attraction of the MacBook, and specifically the polycarbonate one.  What is it about these things, and most Apple products, that draws us to them so?

I remember that one person observed how people have a passion for their Macs that the observer didn’t see so much for PCs.  People LOVE their Macs.  They don’t seem to have that level of feeling for their PCs.  They tolerate their PCs.  They see their PCs, I would think, as more of an appliance.  They see their Macs as a friend, maybe even a member of the family.  I know, that sounds a bit absurd, but look at the fandom surrounding Mac and Apple stuff.  It may be less than it was a few years ago while Steve Jobs was with us, but I believe it’s still there.

One might think deconstructing this, at least for myself, might diminish the experience.  Kind of like explaining in cold, logical terms, any passion you have.  Hopefully not so in this case.

I think first of all, it’s the design.  It’s not all pointy edges but welcoming curves and straight lines.  They invite you to touch them.  The corners of the hand rest are more curved, so they don’t jab into you.  They look more organic than some other machines.

Then there’s the OS.  It is, at least to me, more intuitive.  Some say the OS, and particularly the App Store, is a walled garden.  This can be frustrating for those who want to play with software that the App Store hasn’t approved, which is perfectly justified and understandable.  For me, I like this garden.  I’ve looked outside, and, due to my unfamiliarity with some of that software, found it’s far too easy to get in trouble with unapproved stuff.  Partially because I’ve been in the AppleVerse for a long time, I find the getting around welcoming, familiar, logical and efficient.  You do what you would logically do to get a result.  True, it’s learned logic, and a Windows or Linux (my second favorite computer OS) aficionado might think some other way is logical, but having used those systems, I still find my Mac OS more logical.  Easier to live with.

That’s one of the key bits:  how easy is the computer to live with.  Errors may happen, sure, but by this time, I know what to do about them.  One of the things I appreciate most about the Mac OS is that when some error does happen, it usually explains what happened and what to do about it in a pop-up window and in mainstream talk–easy to understand terms, having been designed seemingly with the awareness that not everybody using the machine will be a programmer or other tech person.

Updates are simple.  Just download, unpack and enjoy.

The language.  Oh, the language.  The understandability and the thoughtfulness Apple demonstrated in order to communicate with the user effectively.  That may be my favorite part about the OS.  The thoughtfulness.  And it puts things in terms I can understand.

Of course, there’s the caché.  To me, you look cool behind a Mac.  Well, cooler than otherwise.  Just my opinion.  There’s a certain acceptance among the like-minded that I enjoy, though it’s not been really present as it usually seems to be when you have a new Mac product.  So because of that, my model hasn’t got as much caché as something new would.  But I don’t care.  And that’s a key.  This model might not make me look as cool as a newer model, but this is the one I’ve wanted and, thank God, I now have it.

Additionally, build quality.  I had a Lenovo Thinkpad W510 recently for a time recently thanks to my sister’s largesse while I was sans Mac.  Powerful computer.  Good build quality except for consistent case creaks.  Just about all the ports one could want.  And I had both Ubuntu and Windows 7 Professional on it.  Really, a great computer, and I thank God I got to use it while I did.



It just wasn’t a Mac.  It had more horsepower than the Mac.  More flexibility.  But it seemed made for an engineer.  An accountant.  It was more of a utility unit.  Cold and impersonal.  Just the facts.

And that’s what I find with most PCs I encounter:  they are perfectly fine machines.  But they’re just.  Not.  Macs.  I feel the same way about iPads, actually.  Great second machines, and with a lot of usefulness, but if you need a computer, they don’t fill the bill.  I’m thinking of selling my iPad, myself.  It does a lot of what I need, but not all of it.  The MacBook I now have does, thank God.

And finally, the touch.  Everything feels good to the touch.  You want to touch stuff.  Everything is done just about perfectly.  Keys have a solid action, requiring just the right amount of pressure to press.  The trackpad is the perfect combination of smooth without being slippery and grippy enough to enable great precision in where the cursor is going.  This is extremely helpful when working with very fine controls, like when editing a movie and you need to get rid of just one more little squidge of footage in order to get an elusive pop out of your sound.

So several factors:  build quality, ease of use, ease of living, design, caché, precision.

No, I don’t buy or really like everything Apple says or does.  I’m very “meh” on the Apple Watch.  I dunno about the new MacBook–not that interested.  I prefer polycarbonate to aluminum because polycarbonate tends to be warmer to the touch than metal.  Not a disqualifying factor, but something to be aware of.

And I was right:  when it comes to dissecting my love of this Mac, the allure of this thing.  Can’t explain it satisfactorily.  But I remember somebody said that about things you really love:  they’re hard to explain.  Nothing you say quite “gets” it, you know?  Maybe Steve Jobs said it best (though I’m not sure if it was about MacBooks):  It just works.

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