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Monday, June 4, 2007


This article came out today in KnowHow, The Telegraph. This article is a pretty basic outline of the Mac, which is largely unknown in the Indian market.

Are you one of those guys on the lookout for a hot piece to play on your lap, or as you are lazing in bed? Unlike what you are looking for, a less loaded question should be: looking for a new laptop?
Oh, you have heard of a Mac, but don’t really know much about it, right? One has heard of compatibility problems, so why bother, right, guru?
All over the world, the Mac has a cult following that swears by it, and that fiercely fights the vast ‘Win-doze’ majority. Over the years, the Apple product has increased its customer base greatly, not least because of the iPod revolution brought in by Steve Jobs, the iconic Apple founder. However, Microsoft is no electronic rabbit, and has launched a new operating system called Vista, though people say it merely highlights how good the Mac operating system (OS in short), the Tiger, has been for years.

What are you looking for in your quest for a precious laptop? Of course, a bulk of you will have got a Windows-based PC manufactured by Dell, Toshiba, Compaq or Sony from your company as a corporate, electronic dog collar. For those of you who can decide for yourself, here is a shameless, though altruistic, pitch for the Mac.
Let us first get over the basic issue of why I say ‘Get a Mac’:
* No crashes: the Unix-based OS in the Mac is rock-steady. It just keeps working on and on.
* No viruses: too good to believe, unless you try it. Windows folks deal with 114,000 of them bugs!
* Esthetics: so stylish that every movie (Swades comes to mind) that shows a notebook shows the classic bitten apple glowing from the back of the bezel. It looks too cool to resist!
* Awesome multimedia experience: take it from an absolute e-diot, in those days when I was using a PC, I couldn’t ever edit any surgical video: it was too complex for me, and so I spent thousands of rupees to get a pro to edit a surgery, ruining Sundays, before I could make it presentable in a conference. You know, with an eight minute deadline for a video presentation of an operation that may have lasted four hours, one needs to be up there near Bill Gates to do the job. Or so I thought. Till I bought a Mac. My multimedia gurus kept calling me for business, but no, thanks, dada! I had become a multimedia guru myself, with the intuitive editing and DVD making system in iMovie, the Mac program for this purpose. This is one of the programs constituting the iLife suite of applications that make for the definitive multimedia experience of the Mac.
iLife consists of apps like iDVD, iTunes, iPhoto, iWeb, etc., that seamlessly integrate to allow you to do things that much easily. Everything in a Mac seems to be just a drag-and-drop away. Once you try the experience, even the Vista seems far away.
* One more plug for the multimedia edge of the Mac: you never seem to need to install or configure any driver. For example, plug in your Cybershot or your Casio digital camera or whatever you have, and iPhoto will take up your pics instantly, without you having to dig out the CD that came in the box of your camera to install.
* With a high-res screen, an in-built iSight web camera and a user-friendly interface, the Mac is easy, one-click stuff for those of you keen on making your own websites, blogs, and video-chatting.
* Know an iPod? Know iTunes?? You know how a Mac works, then! Simple.
Okay, so what exactly do Windows folk do better? The answer is: belong to the majority, the herd, and suffer in common with the virus-ridden world. The PC also integrates better in the corporate world. Additionally, the price of a Windows-based notebook may be cheaper than a MacBook.
The Mac is presently running on an OS called the Tiger. Come June, the newer version, called the Leopard, will be ready for launch. Vista, popularly called a Tiger ‘me-too’ product, will look more aged with the launch of the Leopard, if history is to be believed.

As a no-maintenance, no-hang, no-jhamela system, the Mac is a sure winner. The only bitch is that it is slightly heavy on the pocket. After all, as Mac-addicts joke, it is all for a good cause: the Steve Jobs Benevolent Fund! However, if you look at the good PC laptops, like the Sony Vaio, the costs range from less than a lakh to two lakhs!
Oh, and no, the compatibility issues are no longer relevant, with a wide variety of open source software that allows you to use PC applications. I think the most common Windows application that is universally used is the MS Office. Well, the Mac can do MS Office. Word doc, Excel file, PowerPoint presentation (though if you try Keynote, you will puke at the thought of PowerPoint), the Mac does it all.
The MacBook comes in two basic forms. The newer one is called the MacBook Pro, which is the higher end version. The older one, which I have happily used for a few years, is the MacBook. The basic model (Intel Core-Two Duo processor with more than 2 GHz processor speed, a 200GB hard disc, and up to 2 GB RAM) memory, costs around 60 to 80 big ones (INR), while the MacBook Pro, loaded even heavier, costs between Rs. 118,000 to 163,000 a piece. Of course you get all the bells and whistles, including Wi-Fi 802.11n connectivity, Bluetooth, etc., allowing you to join open wireless networks in coffee shops, hotels and airports without any hassles. The MagSafe power cord adaptor is a typically cool-drool Apple brainwave: the power cord connects to the laptop magnetically, and gets pulled off automatically if you trip over it by chance, saving your machine from crashing down. Simple and awesome. With a standard 8x double-layer burning Super-Drive, it burns DVDs faster than previous models. As they say, the bang-to-buck ratio is higher in a Mac.
As far as the OS is concerned, if you are still the hidebound conservative sort, you can use Windows (XP or Vista) parallel with the native Tiger OS X.
Don’t jump the gun, though, because I expect new Mac notebooks to be launched this June. For all you know, this may come armed with things like touch screens and other irresistible stuff other companies can only dream about. Your new computing experience is set to be quite im-Mac-ulate!


Rajdeep said...

Hi Ramana,
How do we get one in India? The Apple site does not list any Indian reseller

B. Ramana said...

SMS 'Apple' to 098805-27753.
Or write a check out in my name for 10,000 USD, and I will personally deliver it to you.
Whichever is easier.
Seriously, if you fail to contact them, I will give you more details.