There is just something about this little company in Cupertino that gets everyone going, myself included. Their products are unlike anything else in the market and it is a company that really “gets” user experience.
Our first meeting
My first experience with an Apple was back in elementary school and it was an Apple ][. I can’t say then that I knew or was as nearly impressed with the company or their products. Fast-forward to high school journalism class. A row of baby-Mac’s and a couple Performa’s and I have to say, I was hooked. Even during my high-school years, Windows 3.11 was the cutting edge thing. But these Mac’s were very different.
A year later, I headed to college and ended up in the newspaper office. I ended up spending a good bit of time there, and it ultimately changed my life’s path, but it also let me spend a lot of time getting to know the good and bad of a Mac. And there was bad. Mac OS 8 and 9 were ok, but prone to crashes and data corruption. But, this was around the time Steve Jobs was returning and settling into iCEO position. And Apple was churning out some very interesting hardware at this time. We upgraded from the beige boxes to candy colored iMacs and translucent G4’s.
After my sophomore year, I changed majors to interdisciplanary studies and put together a program of computer science, business and graphic design classes. This really gave me the time to learn on a Mac and fall in love. By this time, I was a Mac quasi-expert. I’d troubleshoot the Mac’s in the office – in the lab – and even for customers of the consulting business where I worked. I even got the reputation of being one of the few Mac tech folks in the Myrtle Beach area.
Along this time, Apple released Mac OS X. I can’t say that I was initially impressed by the big bubblegum look of the operating system, but I was impressed that they had chosen to base it on a BSD kernel and Unix underpinnings. A couple years later, I began transitioning some customers over to OS X version 10.2 and really liking what I was seeing.
After college and a job change, I found myself missing my wonderful Macs. I guess by consulting, I had quieted a desire to have one of my own by working on everyone else’s. And that led me to become a switcher – even before insightful the swither ads… And for me, the transition wasn’t easy, but man I loved my terminal. I was in and out of Linux and Unix machines all day long in my new job and I was carrying my Mac with me everyday.
I was able to find sofware – lots of it much cheaper and better than Windows counterparts – to fill all of my needs on the Mac. And the entire system just worked. It was fantastic. By this time I’d started a web design business on the side and I had used Dreamweaver and Photoshop for the PC, but man, there was no comparison to using them on the Mac.
My wife was also becoming frusterated with her aging Dell laptop, so we decided to buy and iMac for home. She really wanted a desktop and I can’t say how much we love the iMac we bought. Its really a piece of artwork for our office.
After we found out that my wife was pregnant, the iMac took on a whole new set of roles. Sure, we’d use iPhoto and had a nice little library of trips, but since early March of ’06, that library has grown exponentially. And there isn’t anything like iPhoto on the PC (trust me, I’ve tried them all!). Actually, the entire iLife suite is so far ahead of the curve, especially with iMovie, iPhoto and GarageBand.
Meet the iPhone
Of course by 2007, I’m watching every WWDC and MacWorld with baited breath – hanging on the Steve’s every word. Our household already has two Macs, two iPods, Airports and an Apple TV. And then the announcement comes. The holy grail – the iPhone… Rumor mongers had been predicting these and the Steve delivered. But, it was so much more than expected. Everyone kind of thought Apple would produce an iPod with a phone, but they went much further, because after all, they are a computer company (yes, I realize they DROPed the word Computer in their name at the same event!).
The iPhone was completely revolutionary. There wasn’t another touch screen phone on the market when it debuted. The interface is just natural – so natrual that my one and a half year old can use some of the apps. And there is excitement in having something that just works and works well.
I ran out the debut weekend and picked up an 8GB model. Yes, I over paid, but even at the price drop, I wasn’t upset – I was in love with the device. Its something that has never happened with any other phone I’ve owned. The iPod was 1,000 songs in your pocket, but the iPhone is your life, connected from your pocket.
Even as new models come out, I’m so happy with my first generation iPhone. Its dented and dinged well loved at this point… It’s not as fast online as the new models…. But its still a breakthrough product that just continues to amaze me.
Now, I guess I’m leading by example. Everyone around knows my passion for Apple products and they use me as the source to know what’s next or to hear buy now or wait til January. Our friends have experienced the intergrated eco-system that Apple has within our home. There is the ‘it-just-works’ factor of it all and the polish for everything co-existing.
We recently hosted a party at our house and even without me inside, our friends were talking about Apple products, test driving ours, and planning their purchases my wife tells me. Their products are something different and its becoming much more mainstream, but they have a huge leg up on other vendors because they design and create end-to-end solutions. I know that I’ll blog a lot more about Apple as the months go on, but I hope that you can get a sense of my passion for their products and for their company.