I’m a PC guy. Really. I spend a lot of time on PCs. I know how they work, how to keep them virus free, running fast, and I know all the shortcut keys so working with PCs is effortless for me.
More importantly they are cheap – my current machine came with a dual-core 2.7 GHz 64-bit CPU, Windows 7, a 1TB hard drive and 4Gb of RAM and cost just $220. No screen, but they did throw in a mouse and a keyboard.
I’ve looked at Apple machines in the past and, while they look great, they just seem too expensive for what you get. As a case in point a Mac Mini (the poor man’s Mac) configured to the above spec comes to $1,147! And actually that is only a 750GB drive.
It just doesn’t seem to make sense. And yet I keep bumping into people who are technically savvy and wouldn’t consider owning anything else. In a conversation this week one such person said “I could never understand why people spent so much money on Apple machines, until I owned one.” and that started me thinking about a similar experience I had with motorcycles.
Case #1 – BMW vs Jap Bikes
Back in the mid-90’s I spent a huge amount of my life riding motorcycles. I commuted into central London every day (80 mile round trip), instructed at the weekends and spent vacations riding to the south of France. A typical year would see me rack up a minimum of 30,000 miles, and often much more.
Initially I bought nothing but Japanese motorcycles. They were lighter, cheaper, faster and more available than BMWs and I really couldn’t understand why anyone would “spend all that money for a badge“. But I found myself replacing my Japanese machines about every 6-9 months because they were just plain worn out and starting to become unreliable.
A work friend convinced me a try a used BMW by pointing out that he had used his trusty R80 for years and had no problems with it at all. In the end I dropped £2,200 on a used K75 with 25,000 miles on it, which was more than I had ever paid for a Japanese machine at any mileage.
At first it felt a little strange to ride because things were not where I expected them to be. The indicators operated completely differently to anything else I had ridden and were downright confusing at first, and then there was the torque reaction from the shaft drive to contend with. But it didn’t take too long for everything to feel completely normal and, dare I say it, even more logical.
I rode that bike everywhere and it was as reliable as a hammer. After 18 months of trouble-free riding I had to sell the bike because I was leaving for the U.S. I had put 50,000 trouble-free miles on it and it still looked great and ran the same as the day I bought it. Selling a Japanese bike with 75,000 miles on it would have been a complete non-starter, and yet I was able to sell my little K75 for £2,000 – only £200 less than I paid for it after all of those miles.
Case #2 – Harley vs The Rest
I know a number of people who swear by Harley Davidson motorcycles and would never consider owning anything else. But most of those people have also never ridden anything else because that would be heresy! I have ridden Harley’s on several occasions. My considered opinion is that they look nice but steer like a cow on roller skates and vibrate enough to make male owners sterile.
So the big question for me is…are Apple computers like BMWs or Harley’s?