Here in the first of two articles, we'll address the problems that set me up for the switch I never saw coming. In part two next time, we'll come back and look at exactly how Apple was able to make me not only switch, but become the
diehard level-headed fanboy I am today.
Two and a half years ago, I hated Apple. With an undying passion, I pined for the day they would go belly up and Microsoft would buy them out—but something happened. As Apple began to roll out their new MacBook Pros (MBPs), my beloved Alienware laptop bit the big one, and I had a problem: what now?
I've been designing on the Web for over seven years and before that I was putting together my own Window-based computers with my dad and brothers. We always had the latest hardware and the baddest rigs—top of the line video cards, gigs of RAM, 17-inch flat panels. We loved to game on the side, playing anything from Unreal Tournament to Age of Mythology. It was always tons of fun, but it meant tinkering with hardware and continuous maintenance.
I had become accustomed to the nature of a Windows machine. Sure, I could have bought a Dell and simplified things, but I needed that new piece of hardware to satisfy myself. I was knee deep in spare parts and cables, lost to the ritual of Constant Upgrade. I was too busy to acknowledge anything Apple was doing.
That might be an understatement: I didn't care what Apple was doing. For whatever reason, I hated Apple. It could have been the fruit colored iBooks, the boat-anchor iMacs, or the fact that I just loved working on my computer. I can't really say. When the time came for a new laptop for school and my side gigs, I opted for an Alienware Area-51m 7700. Weighing in at 13 pounds, this thing was made to replace just about any desktop. It wasn't a laptop, it was a "portable" desktop PC. It turned out to be the worst purchase of my entire life.
The Alienware would end up dying just a year after I purchased it, but its death was not quick. No, that laptop had a long, slow, painful death over the course of several months. It was pathetic, really. The hard drive failed, the hinges for the display broke, and blue screens and memory dumps became a regular part of my ritual. Alienware's customer support was unhelpful, greedy, and, even worse, outsourced. I had a 13 pound brick in my room. And yet, just as hope was walking out my front door, it came running in through the back, and I was in love.
As Apple was rolling out the new MBPs, the beautifully powerful machines that any Web professional and student would kill to have, I began to take notice of everything else Apple was up to. I had never been in the Apple Store at my local mall, and had never paid attention to the Powerbooks or much other Apple hardware, believing that all Macs should just die. But something was different about both the timing of the MBPs and my Alienware's demise—it was almost too good to be true.
I read the reviews, I heard about the performance, and I scoped out Apple.com for as much information as I could find. Even though I heard that some things were still being ironed out with the switch to Intel, I knew that Apple was the place to buy my new computer and solve all my problems. Nearly overnight, I went from Apple hater to Apple fanboy.
Be sure to check out the second and final part to this article where I'll come back around and explain just how Apple was able to make a fanboy out of me through innovation, customer service, and marketing.