Debunking The “Get a Mac” Ads

posted by on 20th May 2008, at 8:21pm

Hello again my dear friends. I am back temporarily or permanently as a tech writer. I figured I can’t just let the tech articles disappear while we are looking for applications. As I’m sure some of you know I am a Mac user. I still use Windows once a week to edit RSBANDBUpdate! and my Windows machine also serves as the file/print server for my home (I know it should be something more server like). I have not yet officially adopted Vista full time yet as I really don’t feel the need and I do not own a license. Prior to this article I’ve taken some time to take a look at it using my disk that I got when it went to RTM in December 2006. I installed Service Pack 1 and the results were encouraging. Anyways the point of this article is that despite Apple’s scare tactics about Vista it’s not all that bad.

Anyone who has watched TV in the past 2 years will note that Apple has continuously been pushing out new ads trying to convince users to jump ship. Some of them are funny and some are funny with respect to how stupid the reasoning is that Windows is bad. In this article I want to take a look at two of the newest ones: Sad Song and Group.

Rather than trying to explain what Sad Song is I’ll just show you the video:

This being the most recent ad it’s appropriate we’re looking at it first. First point made in this ad is that a ginormous amount of users are leaving Vista for Mac or going back to the classic we all know as XP. Over the past year and a half we’ve heard stories of people switching back to XP after getting Vista. The real point to make here is that the users we are hearing complain are the users who are “Power Users” or seasoned Windows users. Most of the people I know in real life and on the forums who have got Vista with a new computer are perfectly happy with it. Another thing to point out is that we are not seeing a huge amount of backlash from the public because the majority of PC manufactures moved to Vista after it was released. If they were still offering XP and promoting it 2 months before it’s due to be discontinued then we’d have some problems. So far I am the only person who I know of that has recently switched to a Mac, but my reasons are rather complicated. The thing that I am trying to get across is that not as many people are jumping ship as Apple would like you to believe. The second point in this ad is that Vista is “so glitchy.” I know from talking with various people and first hand experience with the original Vista and post-SP1 Vista that it is not glitchy at all. SP1 and various updates before SP1 fixed the majority of performance and hardware issues that were present. This is to be expected with any new operating system. If you have a powerful enough computer (meaning you bought the computer with Vista on it) it’s more than likely powerful enough to handle any gaming or day to day tasks without glitching up. To provide a valid counter example I will admit that the first release of Leopard was a bit problematic. Some of the problems experienced were network based, very obscure bugs when moving files to different volumes, and of course Time Machine issues such as not being able to back up to a network drive. In fact to this day I still have occasional Samba problems on Leopard when transferring files back and forth.

Here’s our next ad, ‘Group’:

The nail this ad is driving into the side of Vista are the supposed bugs of Vista. One of the PC’s states that Vista isn’t working exactly as it should. It would have been nice if they would have stated how it wasn’t working the way it should. Anyways, this goes with the above in saying that most people do not have these major problems with Vista to the point that they can’t get their work done. Next thing you see is that one of the PC’s stands up and starts an infinite loop of saying “Well I’m pleased to say I’ve been error free for nearly a week.” A conventional user who hasn’t used a computer before or someone with a limited amount of knowledge might be scared into thinking that you can get looping error messages with dialogs that will fill your screen. I’ve rarely seen this on Windows and most times it’s because of 3rd party software that has been installed. The true point that is ignored in this ad is that yes, Vista does indeed work. Most problems from the reliability standpoint are caused by unsupported hardware or drivers. Another thing that can cause reliability issues is that the hardware is simply not powerful enough. I know from experience Vista would like a faster CPU when it runs on my system. I have 2GB RAM, an AMD X2 3800+ and I feel safe in calling my Vista experience “adequate.” This is why you want the latest in hardware and at least 2GB RAM, if you can go more all the better.

These ads have been the same for the past 2 years and I don’t see them changing anytime soon. The only time they will change is if somehow Apple gains enough marketshare to become a significant target for spyware and malware authors. One thing I wanted to highlight in this article was that you really can’t take these ads as fact. Though an uneducated viewer might indeed do this and become scared of using Windows and buy a mac. There’s really nothing to worry about with these ads. I hope I have been able to educate you, the reader, and show you that these ads aren’t the truth. With that being said I still believe Mac OS X to be a superior operating system for the home user. Next time you are looking for a computer, if you don’t need to do FPS gaming or have demanding Windows applications that need to be run natively, by all means take a look at the iMac or Mac Mini if you’re on a budget. Even if you have Windows applications or games you need there are solutions for this on OS X, but that’s better left to another article.

If you have any questions about this article, questions about moving to Mac, or suggestions for future articles send me a PM on the forums.

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One Comment

  • Jaden Says:
    20th May 2008, at 8:40pm

    Even my teacher in computer engineering class is convinced that vista is glitch-filled, the way I like to put it. These commercials are targeting unexperienced computer users because they don’t know any better. It’s like brainwashing noobs and taking advantage of them because if you can convince them that macs are better than pcs than they’re guaranteed to get some more sales. I got a normal laptop to start off with as my first, but when I get to university I might switch to a macbook pro. Nice article I’d say.