Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Apples, iPhones and Business

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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. If you exchange files and interact mostly with people that use Windows, your life will be easier if you use Windows also.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Macs are definitely trendier than Windows computers. (Is this really a good reason to buy a computer?)
  7. 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?


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