back to article Apple US retail sales leap past PC par

Apple took 14 per cent of the US retail computer market last month - 25 per cent if you look at its share in terms of sales revenue - figures from market watcher NPD reveal. This time last year, NPD's numbers show Apple's unit and revenue retail shares were nine per cent and 14 per cent, respectively. Apple shifted 55 per cent …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo


    Quite a few people I know are now switching to Macs... (not airs) because hardware and software are well integrated (ahem)

    But also because Parallels works relatively well and allows Windows Integration in a nice way. People like the Bells and Whistles which come as standard with Macs which dont exist on simple Windows platforms. Multi-finger touch pad functionality seems to be the main hardware advantage; and easier approaches to installing / removing software.

    Does it make Mac better? Not necessarily, but it is refreshingly different, novel and no longer in the realm of niche products. "It just works" - well maybe (maybe not) - but does it with style.

  2. Greg

    People are buying the Air?

    More money than sense, obviously. Fits the Starbucks crowd perfectly, if you ask me.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    'People like the Bells and Whistles which come as standard with Macs which dont exist on simple Windows platforms'

    Because everytime MS try to bundle something with Windows they get slapped with an anti-competitive lawsuit.

  4. Sandra Greer
    Thumb Up

    As recommended by their friends...

    Those of us who are tired of providing free help desk, virus fighting, and reinstalls have been recommending Mac to friends for their spouses etc when a replacement is being considered. We also recommend putting Linux on the old box for the heck of it.

    I got a Mac myself last year for home use. Windows for the job, Linux for hacking, and Mac for normal stuff and music composition. I use the Mac for websites maintenance exactly the way I used Linux.

  5. Ed


    I know so many people who have switched. My parents have been Mac users for years, last year I switched (though I still run Windows with Boot Camp for games). It's ideal for me as I'm doing a computer science course and the department uses Linux a lot - OS X works very well with linux - I can use X11 to SSH into machines at the university easily. Of course, you can do that in Windows, but it's not exactly straightforward.

    I notice quite a number of the lecturers on my course are switching to Macs too, for the same reason. Reliable hardware (for the most part) and the best of Windows and OS X.

    There's really no real reason not to switch now beyond either the price (which is hardly much more) and perhaps the lack of a suitable form factor.

  6. Dan Wilkinson
    Thumb Down

    @ Greg

    The "more money than sense" argument just doesn't stack up. As with most other products in the world, people don't always want the cheapest product available. They want to feel that they are buying the best that they can afford, and to think that they are proud of their purchases.

    If this attitude was widespread in other sectors, no-one would buy BMW or Mercedes etc, because, on the face of it, what are you getting on a 3 series that you aren't getting in a Focus? More MPG? Probably not. Faster? Maybe, but not so as you would particularly notice on your rush hour crawl into work. No, you are paying for 2 things, 1) the increased quality - comfier seats, better design and materials etc, and 2) you are buying into the "superior product one-upmanship" that is prevalent in todays world.

    Who, when going to buy a new telly, is going to go to Tesco and buying an own brand "teknica" TV set that marks you out as a cheapskate when for a little more you could buy a Samsung or LG or Sony that you would be proud to show off to the neighbours... All right this may actually be making you prudent, not cheapskate, but you generally get what you pay for. In reality only people who have no choice but to buy budget, will actually do so.

    As Mr Pratchett would say, it's Sam Vimes boots theory. A rich person may spend $50 on a pair of boots that will last him a lifetime. A poor person may spend $10 on boots that last a year, and crucually STILL HAVE WET FEET...

  7. Anonymous Coward

    More money than sense?

    "More money than sense, obviously"

    Not at all, just like any choice, its about just that choice, why by an expensive car when a cheaper one will do the job just as well. Its all about choice, unfortunately many people find the fact that people prefer to spend some extra money on a Mac abhorrent.

    Many times there is a reason, designers, musicians etc have always chosen a Mac as a rule, my mate who is a designed would have nothing else, I bought one as it was the only laptop at the time (and probably still is) that had dual HDMI and could drive a monitor at 2560x1800.

    I also must admit not having owned one for something like 17 years I've found it 'just works'. For instance bluetooth connectivity to my Nokia phone which I've never been successful with under XP worked in an instant. Only problem I've had is a bulging battery which was replaced without question in a matter of minutes at my local apple store.

    I use Linux exclusively for my business (super reliable, low resource usage), have a Mac as my laptop and XP for my desktop.

    And no I don't hang out in Starbucks.

    I don't quite understand the hatred between the two camps cause (Microsoft/Apple). Odd that all they have to worry about is what some other person they don't know decides to spend their own money on and which operating system they run.

    Long live freedom of choice.

  8. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Up

    @Sandra Greer

    ***"We also recommend putting Linux on the old box for the heck of it."***

    Pretty soon you won't have any choice in the matter. When XP disappears you won't be able to buy Windows (Vista) for anything but the latest hardware.

    Just installed Kubuntu on my old (really old!) Dell Inspiron 7500. Honestly, it is as responsive as my spanking new Latitude running Vista.

    Which just goes to demonstrate what a pile of shitty bloatware Vista really is.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    "You are the weakest Troll. Goodbye"

  10. Jason Clery
    Jobs Horns


    "People like the Bells and Whistles which come as standard with Macs"

    Oddly enough on Windows, the macboys (tm) call this "bloatware", so what you are saying is Macs ship with bloatware

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Do the figures include PC's built by people at home? One thing you can't do with a proprietary system, such as the MAC.

  12. Blueworld

    More money than sense?

    I've always been interested in that phrase........

    Tell me, how do we make the money in the first place, if we are such fools?

    Is it that we go through a really intelligent period and buy cheap stuff and then get progressively more stupid as we get richer? (I don't remember buying second best even when I was a lot less well off). It really does sound counter-intuitive. In my experience rich people rarely throw their money around, they certainly don't buy things that they consider to be poor value for money.

    Maybe you need more money and then you might see the point. Then again my values haven't changed a great deal over the years. I have always bought what I consider to be the best value for money. I have a tiny Sony (never use it even though it's "fully featured") Eee PC (trackpad is too small even for my 7 year old daughter, its cheap but impractical) MacBook Pro (everything works but its a bit heavy to use on the road) and ........ yes you guessed a MacBook Air (I use it all the time at home or on the road, don't miss the DVD or ports because everything I do involves connection to a network, wireless is everywhere (if not I have 3g dongle) I don't watch movies on it, I work!!! bizarrely enough or watch a tv or if I'm on a long flight I use the entertainment system, sleep! or use a PSP because it lasts longer than any laptop I know of..... One USB connection is fine for backing up and they have these really uber-cool new things called a bluetooth mouse, ever heard of them? I think they have been out for a while now......!!!

    Maybe its not that people who buy the MacBook Air have more money than sense, maybe its that they have what they consider to be an appropriate machine for them. I wonder however what motivates a comment like "More money than sense"? Please explain..... because without more to go on, you sound like a total c**k as we in England might politely put it.

    I've been using the MacBook Air for while now and can quite honestly say its been the best laptop experience, that I have had in 15 years of playing around with a large range of tech tat.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Re: RE:Parallels

    "Because everytime MS try to bundle something with Windows they get slapped with an anti-competitive lawsuit."

    True. Can you buy an Apple WITHOUT Safari/Quicktime/etc pre-installed?

  14. Hywel Thomas

    @Anonymous Coward

    "Because everytime MS try to bundle something with Windows they get slapped with an anti-competitive lawsuit."

    That's the price of iniquity for you.

    Apple bundles lots of stuff with hardware, including some third party software. Apple doesn't bundle iLife with the OS. It's up to the box shifters to bundle software with their machines, not for M$ to bundle software with their OS.

  15. Frank Bough

    Bundle Schmundle

    Safari, Mail, iPhoto, iMovie etc can all be deleted by the simple act of dragging them to the trash. No-one ever minded that IE, WMP etc were included with Windows, they were pissed off that you couldn't get rid of them. BLOATWARE is another thing entirely - that's the NAV that you get one month free on that then nags about definition updates until the end of time, Windows is the champ of bloatware.

  16. Matt Bradley
    Gates Horns

    The reason is obvious

    Come on guys. The reason for this is obvious, surely: it's VISTA. It's certainly got me thinking twice about a Mac, when I'd practically ruled that option out after XP arrived.

    MS have now made it abundantly obvious to anybody with a pair of eyes that they are just tacking more and more useless chrome onto a >10 year old operating system codebase, and they're not showing any signs of ever dumping that codebase and coming up with something better. They are in backward compatibility hell, and they've finally painted themselves into a corner.

    Now, thanks to parallels, you can keep a copy of XP safely sandboxed where it can do you no harm; occasionally open XP when you need to convert a .docx to .odf format, or whatever, then carry on with your UNIX derived Mac OS 10.

    As an aside @Dan Wilkinson

    "Sam Vimes boots theory" - I suspect that TP has read "The Road to Wigan Pier" by Orwell, if not, then Sam Vimes has...

    Where are you Webster Phreaky? We could all do with a good laugh, I'm sure. I'm a bit worried that you might have had some kind of rage overload when you saw this story, and may have already been sectioned before you got to your keyboard. It'd be nice to hear from you, just so we know you are ok!

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Not as expensive as you might think

    I bought my PowerMac G5 2.5 years ago off the Apple refurb store and it cost me £1249. I've stuck another £50 worth of RAM in it since then, apart from which I've not touched it.

    Grubbing through eBay I can see that it is still worth about £800, so I make that about £500 in depreciation for 2.5 years of computing. That seems like a very reasonable ownership proposition to me.

    Where's Webster by the way? I need someone to explain why I'm a retard fanboi Kool-Aid drinker, because I just can't see it.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    @ The reason is obvious

    I'm not defending MS but you say >10 years old (as though that's ancient for an OS) but OSX is just as old if not older, released in 2001 by Apple but based on an OS that is years older. Even Linux (of which i am a fan) has been around since approx 1991.

    Check facts or state relevant ones please ;-)

  20. Graham Anderson
    Jobs Halo

    MacBook Air naysayers - get over it

    It is obvious from reading various forums, that there is a large body of people who just don't understand why anyone would want to shell out on a MacBook Air.

    It has no optical drive! Only one USB! No user serviceable battery! No ethernet! I can get cheaper elsewhere, etc...

    I, however, know plenty of people for whom the MBA makes perfect sense, and who don't care about the sins of omission listed above.

    I'm part of a small IT/management consultancy, and I'm the responsible adult when it comes to making IT purchases for the group. All my colleagues want a laptop that is as light as can be. The majority of them have baby Sony Vaios and while they like the portability, they all hate the small screen real estate and the crappy keyboard (ah, the older Sony Vaios had nice keyboards...)

    These people connect via wifi and have Vodafone 3G USB dongles for where there is no wifi. They don't install a lot of software from CD/DVD (I make sure they're too scared to!), plus for when they do there is the drive sharey thing bundled with MBA. We have networked printers. As far as I know, they don't watch DVDs on trains using their laptop. They think that laptops are just for doing MS Office and email on.

    And they don't notice/care about the price difference. They don't care about the price difference between a Merc and a Ford Focus, why should they care about the difference between a Toshiba and a MacBook Air?

    When it next comes around to laptop shopping in my company, my colleagues will probably be looking at the MBA and the new Lenovo X300 (or its equivalents). As a Mac user, I can show them how they can do everything they do now using either the Mac version of MS Office, or using Parallels/Boot Camp. They have a choice.

    So, to all those people who say that anyone who buys a MBA has more money than sense, I say "does exactly what I want it to, thanks very much". Apple are quite good at finding out what the market really wants, you know.

    Finally, let's not forget, the iPod Shuffle would never sell because it had no display, no FM receiver and too few buttons.

  21. marc

    having wored in retail

    I can tell you, many times did I serve someone so stupid and unintelligent, only to help them out to the car and see it's a 50grand BMW X5, the funniest Chelsea tractor. How on earth did they get so rich? More to the point why did they blow so much cash on such a horrible looking car? Dumb luck or rich families I guess.

    So yes, rich != clever.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    Apple have dug a big hole for themselves. They have targeted all their products at the 'premium' market. Also their largest user base is the US, whose inhabitants are well know for falling over themselves to get a hyped up shiny products over a less shiny more functional one, hence the appalling state of the mobile phones over there.

    All well and good with a strong economy, but is is estimated that EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN is $160k in debt. The economy is collapsing, the $ is worth nothing and soon reality is going to creep into the conciousness of even the most die hard 'buy everything on credit' lot as the lenders start putting the pressure on to get their money back.

    First thing to be taken off the shopping list in this scenario is ALWAYS 'premium' products and even the fed reserve cutting interest rates again is not going to stop the huge market crunch that is just showing at the top of the hill, but gaining momentum as it rolls down.

  23. John W. Naylor, Jr., P.E.

    Underlying Causes

    Speaking as one who doesn't own any Apple products (no iPod, no iPhone, no MAcs), but exposed to them just about every day.....

    People often make choices on "coolness value" rather than business sense. The guy in the hotel lobby thumb typing on his Treo / Crackberry for 30 minutes is sitting there wondering just how cool everyone who passes by thinks he is while the more productive person just spent 10 minutes in the hotel's business center accomplishing just as much with a full size KB and screen ..... in 1/3 rd the time.

    As for the "hate" that is mentioned, why do people hate the iPhone ? Too many people have their identities tied to their gadgets. They buy the latest and greatest smartphone every 6 months, popping their old ones on ebay at $300 losses so they can show it to everyone and get people to pay attention to them for a few seconds. Then when they get cut off by the objects of their "look at me" presentation with "Oh, my wife has an iPhone" and are summarily dismissed it's an ego blow.

    As for the MS gets slapped w/ a lawsuit thing, you're not getting the point. I know of no one who actually ever objected to stuff being pre-installed on their machines....well it is an inconvenience but it can be undone. I didn't mind when NT4 SP's (so much) installed IE because I could go to add / remove programs and rid myself of the overhead by uninstalling it. That wasn't good enough for MS back then so their modus operendi became "Install it and then don't let people remove it". They took it further by even making it so that if you deleted iexplore.exe manually, it "comes right back". That is the difference between Apple and MS and why peeps don't get upset at Apple for pre-installing.

    It seemed that MS was getting the hint after the disaster that is Vista with their supposed MiniWin approach to Windows 7 but we will just have to wait and see if it's actually happens or is all bluster.

  24. Chad H.
    Thumb Down

    @ Re Naysayers

    No you cant, but it simple enough to remove as its not "intergrated" into the OS... Unlike the Jarlsberg Software Monopoly, Apple doesnt see the web as a core function of the OS.

  25. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Microsoft 'bundles'

    "Because everytime MS try to bundle something with Windows they get slapped with an anti-competitive lawsuit."

    Wrong, Microsoft don't bundle things like Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player, they integrate it into the OS and make sure some critical service requires it.

    Apple sells products like iLife separately and it can be uninstalled.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    RE: MacBook Air naysayers - get over it

    Agreed almost entirely. I've got a Thinkpad X32, no optical drives and only 2 USB ports - of which I use 1. Haven't changed the battery for it in 3 years and would in honesty be paying through the nose for it anyway - MBA does the same it's just not eaily user-replaceable (but, like the iPod, entirely possible).

    Only thing I chortled at was "As far as I know, they don't watch DVDs on trains using their laptop. They think that laptops are just for doing MS Office and email on." I assume they're using Vaio's without DVD drives so just don't know that they could? :-)

  27. Matt Bradley
    Gates Horns

    @ @ The reason is obvious

    Granted, *nix is older than Windoze NT by a couple of decades, but let's be realistic here: XP was always stated to have been built directly off NT, so no huge leaps there (apart from some GUI stuff), and Vista is so very obviously just a reskinning of the same old code: what happened to our Longhorn database filesystem, eh?

    On the other hand, MacOS 10 was a HUGE leap from Mac OS 9 (albeit based upon BSD, which has an even older legacy), and the GUI component is *so* much better that any other *nix desktop, that you'd be hard presed to argue that Apple haven't invested huge amounts of time and code into MacOS 10.

    I really thought that MS had dealt Apple a killing blow with XP: it was such a huge improvement over 98, and at the time it looked really good: stable, secure, and not completely ugly, for a change. Then comes Vista, which looks a bit like XP only SLOOOOOOWER, requiring you to stump up loads of extra dosh for hardware, and knowing full well that about half your software isn't going to work properly.

    Or, I could just go and buy a Mac - same problem: I still have to buy expensive hardware, and half my software won't work.

    But here's the thing: Which would I rather be running after incurring all this expense: Leopard or Vista? That's not such an easy question to answer any more, especially not now MacOS has proper virtualisation.

  28. Duncan

    does it come in pink?

    people are driven by marketing that is Apple's strongest area not hardware and certainly not software.

    Their hardware is generally pc bits bundled together oftern with poor cooling and power provisions and a rather oversized price tag, software is a clunky bsd oh sorry osx i forgot.

    overpriced yes slightly backward software eh yes (be honest) well marketed yes (I like their style), now if only they could bring out a pink version and get it on the set of neighbours I'd bloodly well buy one. winning solution. if only us consumers would give up thinking alltogher and just let apple take care of us.

    i must have a death wish dissing MAC, call it easter madness

  29. Dave
    Gates Halo

    It just works.....except if its peripherals

    All those people convincing their friends and relatives move to macs, do you consider the problems when they want to buy a new printer? An external drive? A webcam?

    I know that with my rubbish archaic OS (lovely XP) I can walk into any computer shop, pick up any item and know that it has a 99% chance of working with my machine (Would have been 100% but i did have the misfortune of being presented with an Amacom external dvd writer once)

    I know that if I want to watch the latest and greatest film trailers on the Apple site I can, even on my 2k machine as Quicktime is updated for those systems....yet someone with OS X 10.2 cant, they have to upgrade their OS first.

    As for the build and quality? I have seen machines from Time that have better quality components inside them....if im spending £1400 on a machine I dont want a bloody GeForce 6200LE as my graphics card (ok not current spec, but its what all the G5's we have here were shipped with) a card/gpu so poor and flaky they halved it's capabilities just to get it working? Not what I would expect in a premium system.

    They say macs have their uses .... but i for the life of me cant think of one that a pc with XP cant do just as well....if not better.....and cheaper.....with much more choice.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ The reason is obvious

    "XP was always stated to have been built directly off NT"

    which was a good OS and still would be if MS would of bitten the bullet and stuck to the plan. Making developers stick to guidelines and not writing software with 9x in mind that would only run as admin. This is where they went wrong the windows kernel is still serviceable code look how well 2k3 boxes run when not subjected to any old rubbish apps, they needed to make a clean break rather than focus so hard on backwards compatibility. A bit like Apple did when they ditched the 'awful' OS9 for OSX.

    I think this is where it will head with Windows 7.

    In the mean time lets hope Apple and Linux gain some ground MS always raise their game when under pressure, i don't anticipate an MS free world for a looooong time but i welcome some diversity in the market.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    @Dave - comparing Apple with Time?

    "As for the build and quality? I have seen machines from Time that have better quality components inside them"

    Oh, that's why Time went bankrupt then - they obviously spent too much on ultra-high quality parts and didn't charge their customers enough.

    And I thought it was only Steve Jobs who had a Reality Distortion Field.

  32. Chris iverson

    proud to build and to pirate

    Ahhhh yes, its been awhile since I've seen a good Mac vs. PC vs. *nix vs. Macnix vs. hardware...........

    It is about choice. Macs do look nice and PC's are more 'functional' i guess. My issue is that being an American and living in California is that the Mac people are so pompous and uptight that I want to drag them into the street and watch a bus hit them. I needed to get out of my house and went to a coffee shop with my Compaq running Slackware and proceeded to do browse the web and blah blah blah. I pulled it out and I could feel the scorn coming from the mac users literally starring at me while it booted and thats when I started ignoring them and put some headphones and proceeded to catch up on dear old El Reg.

    Also isn't in every movie portraying some insane conformist utopian world, aren't the colors always white or stainless steel or concrete?

  33. herman Silver badge

    Asus Eee PC

    Well, Asus sells about as many Eeeps as Apple sells Macbooks - so the Windoze market share is down to 72%???

  34. Jason Clery

    @Frank Bough

    "that's the NAV that you get one month free on that then nags about definition updates until the end of time, Windows is the champ of bloatware."

    Except MS doesn't ship that. Go and buy a retail OS disk and see. Its the box supplier that bundles the crap. Complain to Michael Dell

  35. Thomas

    Microsoft's next move...

    Surely Microsoft's way of digging themselves out of the 9x compatibility mire is .NET managed code and the Singularity research OS? That at least shows that they are spending money investigating how to progress beyond the NT kernel + a million hacks to support badly written applications of the past.

  36. David Glasgow
    Paris Hilton

    C'mon, where's the SPLEEN?

    Is it just me, or is the platform OS invective lacking the usual level stupidity/bile/ignorance/vilification and SHOUTING?

    Really, this isn't what I have come to expect. Is the war meandering to a close?

    (Paris because she has a spleen. I assume)


  37. Dave
    Gates Halo

    @evil graham

    One point out of my entire rant you can pick at? I must be getting better .... as for the reason Time going out of business? That was down to massively reducing margin on the hardware hoping to make it up on warranty sales.....which they couldnt. And their really crappy support didnt help either.

    One point I forgot to mention....Frank Bough ..... NAV isnt Windows, its put on there by the system builder, same with all the other crap that you mac owners call bloatware.

  38. Hywel Thomas

    It works ... even with peripherals !

    "All those people convincing their friends and relatives move to macs, do you consider the problems when they want to buy a new printer? An external drive? A webcam?"

    Ah. That would be FUD. Unintentional, maybe, but FUD nontheless.

    If there's a printer that doesn't work with OS-X, honestly, it's at the arse end of the market, or there's one next to it in PCWorld/Comet/Wherever that works.

    I have 2 Lacie drives (USB/FW400/FW800), 1 Maxtor (FW400/USB), 3 Western digital(USB). I've had 2 cheap enclosures (one firewire, 3.5" drives, one USB 2.5"). I never even considered that these might not work, and didn't get a nasty surprise.

    Not ALL peripherals will work, granted, but it's simply not a problem to find something that does. Generally (but not always), installation is simple. The instructions for my bluetooth dongle, for example, ran to 12 pages for XP. For OS-X, it pretty much just said, "err, plug it in".

    I've never had to install a driver for a camera. The drivers for my printers were installed automatically.

    The majority (excepting the mini and the pro) of macs come with a webcam built-in, so when picking a machine, this should be considered. If they got a mini and then wanted to add a webcam, these people who I've selfishly plonked onto the Mac (to reduce my unpaid support calls), well they're going to call me and say "I want to get a webcam thingy. Can you get me one ?", and I'll say "Yes", spend 10 minutes looking for something suitable, and find a few user reviews to say they're OK, and then just get it.

    The one you missed was software of course, but I don't simply say "Oh. You should get a Mac", I ask what they want first. The chances are that if they're asking me advice, they don't need Autocad. If they want it to train for cycling, and they cycle computer only does XP (this was true about 3 years ago, not sure about now), then I wouldn't necessarily recomnmend a Mac. If they wanted to gather live match stats in order to take their side to a Grand Slam, I'd have to recommend a Mac.

    So it's not black and white. Specialist use needs particular care. For geneeral use, really, any drawbacks in software choice is usually made up for in software quality (less shit); other drawbacks (iPlayer oly streams to a browser), is a small price to pay for the _current_ position vis security. There's no need to run anti-virus software etc at the moment (but we know we probably will have to at some point).

    And no, they're not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. My anectodal experience tells me that I get a lot less hassle supporting a Mac than a PC.

  39. Ivan Headache

    @ Dave & A Chris

    That Amacom DV burner - is that the same one I just supplied for one of my Mac customers, the drive that just worked by the mere fact of plugging it in? Probably not.

    And "Macs do look nice and PC's are more 'functional' i guess." What on earth does that mean?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle



    >All those people convincing their friends and relatives move to macs,

    >do you consider the problems when they want to buy a new printer?

    >An external drive? A webcam?

    Have you actually been in any computer shops in the past five years - or looked in any computer magazines? It would appear not.

    Any HP, Canon, Epson, [insert common printer manufacturer here] etc. printer you're likely to find in your average PC shop will work with a Mac - often without installing any drivers.

    Any FireWire or USB external drive will work with a Mac. Again, without any drivers. Just plug in and use.

    Webcams? I use the Microsoft XBox 360 USB camera with my Mac. Just plugged it in and it works perfectly. No drivers again. And anyway, all current iMacs and Mac laptops have a webcam built-in, so if they bought the most popular Macs they wouldn't need to buy a separate webcam.

  41. Dave


    For all the people you support to ask you what they should buy and then ask you to source it I have only 1 question. Where do you get the drugs you have them on? Almost every tech I know has the the constant problem of "I just bought this for my comp....make it work"


    This was in the early days of external drives and I dont think Steve, Bill and Linus together could get the piece of crap working. So bad whichever pc it was plugged into wouldnt boot....even the Linux kit :|

    As for Macs looking nice? Think again :D

  42. ratfox

    Why I changed

    I just ordered my first Apple (MacBook Pro) after using PC all my life. Why?

    I was in a bind. My current 4-years-old Dell is showing signs of instability, and it is probably better not to wait until it will finally crashes. I wish I could have stayed with XP. But apparently, no one will sell me a computer with it, except the slowest kind.

    Aaaand Vista... You know... SP1 wasn't out yet... I tried, I really did. I went to look at the "benefits" on the Dell web site. They talked about Media Center, Parental Controls, Integrated Search and of course the cool interface... And I couldn't bring myself to think I actually wanted any of them. Really. On XP, I even use the classical 98 theme rather than the blue green XP one, because I like it better.

    On the same page, I discovered by the way this insane statement of Dell that Basic Windows Vista Experience is "Great for booting the Operating System, without running applications or games". I know it's old news, but I hadn't seen it.

    Anyway, since I couldn't have XP on a fast machine, I had to learn to use a new OS anyway, which basically put OSX and Vista on the same level.

    Therefore, I am now waiting for my first Apple. I'm not sure I will enjoy it, but I can only hope for the best...

  43. Mike

    OS ages

    If you want to snark about how old "Unix" is (and thus by extension that Mac OS X is "just a bunch of crufty old code", you might want to look at the provenance of Win-NT (which I presume most will acknowledge forms the base of XP, W2k3, and Vista). Most folks who care know it is based on (philosophically, and a large number of developers) VMS. A few know that VMS was based on RSX, which pre-dates Unix in any form.

    But that's all silly. MSFT had to back-pedal on some of the nicer (micro-kernel-ish) bits of RSX/VMS, just as Apple did with Mach in coming up with OS X. Each also added some more modern improvements. Until someone makes a <$100 laptop with 2048x1600 OLED display and 12-hour battery-life, running a nicely intuitive GUI but based on Multics with Orange-book security, weighing <1kilo, and capable of running Windows apps like Autocad in a VM, seamlessly integrated, of course, ... there will be a market for more than one sort of computer. And you and I might not want exactly the same sort. Meh.

  44. Frank Bough

    @Jason Clery

    "Except MS doesn't ship that. Go and buy a retail OS disk and see. Its the box supplier that bundles the crap. Complain to Michael Dell"

    Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn't sell computers, so I'm stuck with what I can buy from Dell et al or what I build myself. To be fair, I did say "Windows is the champ of bloatware" where I should have written "Windows PCs are the champs of bloatware" so mea culpa.

  45. Ryan Stewart

    this place loves to post misleading stats.

    Its great that apple is doing well in the storefronted retail market in the US but this masks the reality that the vast majority of the sales arent through branded storefronts but through third parties or online. With Dell going back to online (mostly) only and ditching the kiosks and stores it leaves really Sony as the major retail player and their machines are usually not mainstream.

    Include all sales of computers and apple still sits well below 10% in the us and at about 2% of the world.

    And as for a good percentage of the air being used by businessmen? Well, one half of 1% is still only .5%. The air is not mainstream.

  46. Anonymous Coward

    re: C'mon, where's the SPLEEN?

    Oh, alright then, if you insist...


    Feel better now? (I do, actually)

  47. This post has been deleted by its author

  48. Anonymous Coward

    @Dave - call that a rant?

    Sorry, I was fooled by the general lack of invective and, er, spleen. If it's a rant you want then you should pop round and listen to the massed chorus of an office full of developers swearing at Windows after a 10 hour day.

    Personally I bought a Mac because I like Unix and I like the UI and I wanted something to escape to when I go home.

    You made a couple of points, one about peripherals which is mostly not true. I have one thing in my house which doesn't work and that's an ancient Intel QX3 play microscope, but then again that didn't work with XP for ages until Intel eventually decided to support it. Strangely, I now have a whole bunch of stuff that doesn't work with Vista so this is not a uniquely Apple problem.

    Occasionally you find peripherals that work better on Macs. Multi-format memory card readers are a good example, they can often go drive-letter-tastic in Windows but behave really nicely on a Mac. Come to think of it, drive letters in the 21st century? Bwahahaha.

    Your other point was about the paucity of graphics cards on a vanilla Mac. It's true that you don't get the latest whizz-bang 500 watt cryogenically cooled beast by default, but guess what - you don't usually have to, because you aren't running Vista Aero. For some strange reason, Apple engineers seem to have cracked the incredibly tricky software problem of "making something look a bit transparent" without you needing to buy the latest Nvidia Turbo Nutter Bastard and staying up all night overclocking it.

    Obviously you are going to need a spanky big graphics card if you want to play games on your desktop, but I don't. I got fed up with downloading patches, adding RAM, buying a new graphics card etc. years ago so now we have Playstations, Wiis, PSPs and stuff. Modern PC gaming is a money pit that makes owning a Mac look positively cheap, so I don't think you've got grounds for complaint there either.

    So really, your rant is only half way there. You got as far as getting all the facts wrong and missing the point, but you didn't do the rabid hate-filled bile and insult. Check out Webster Phreaky if you really want to see how it's done.

  49. Dan Wilkinson


    .5%, and people can still get this wound up about it? I haven't even seen one yet...

    All this posturing about what OS is based on what, and how old it's origins are etc is tedious to the extreme, as I base my opinion of whether software is good or not based on if it achieves at what it was procured for. Don't see anyone bitching about Apache being based on ancient free code, it's still happily serving half the internet...

    I wouldn't call myself a convert, although I got my first Mac recently. There's good and bad in it. But I have managed to replace every program I used under Windows with Mac OS versions quite happily, with the exception of some digital mapping software, and all my peripherals work with the exception of my Garmin unit, as used by said Windows mapping software anyway...

    I use Mac OS, Windows, Solaris and AIX daily, and can find fault with all of them if asked.

  50. Hywel Thomas


    Well it's not a lot of people for a start. I don't believe they're on drugs or drinking kool aid. My support consists not of getting things to work - it's explaining how to do simple things that they want to do. It's more occasional teacher than tech. In tech mode (say upgrading the OS, making sure their core apps still work), I'll just sort it out for them. Some are probably still happily on 10.2, but it still works for them, so there's no problem.

    I haven't really had the problem of 'make it work'. Probably because the software that makes it to market is generally of a high standard. I did have one friend ask me about all the software that came with his camera. There were something like 8 CDs with all sorts of cheap crap for making greeting cards and CD labels and morphing that were 'free' with the camera. All of it was Win 98 or XP. All of it was software than anyone, no matter their OS preference, would throw away without even breaking the cellophnane.

    I asked him what he wanted to do, which was get the phots off the camera, into the computer, and printed. So I plugged the camera in (it was a fairly shitty generic thing), iPhoto hauled in the pics and he could print from there. Just worked.

    Now I've possibly been lucky in that none of these people have wanted to do anything particular sophisticated. They have the software the machine shipped with, plus maybe NeoOffice.

    I did kind of fail with my father, but really just becasue he wasn't interested. He sent a few mails, had a look at a few sites, then stopped using it. Not because there was a problem, he just didn't see the point, which is fair enough.

    I've also suggested to a couple of people that they switch, lending a machine to one friend for a couple of weeks, and getting it back 8 months later when he actually got around to buying one for himself. His father has since switched too, and a mutual friend, who spent years trying to get video to work reliably on windows finally gave up recently and got an iMac for the job (though he's still using windows for other stuff, as far as I know).

    I'm not advocating that everyone should switch, or that Apple are wonderful - some things are plainly unpleasant. Just that if you are a far too regularly unpaid tech support to friends and family, getting them to switch (even if you have abolutely no intention of doing so yourself), can give you back some free time.

  51. Gordon Crawford


    95 yuk {I stuck with dos}

    98 second edition works even on 166mhz systems

    xp home ,worst upgrade i did ,all for a new agp vid[going back 98se]

    redhat 9 ,slow on a 5oo system

    ubuntu , not working on anything I have yet

    pclinux , hay it loaded ,[bye bye ms][except 98se]

    use what works,[ and that you can get drivers for] I have had troubles with EVERY os. from drivers to customer services trying to support their sales people claims . If ms people are going to claim price of apple to thier ms systems , then they should be using a free linux . My niece is using an Apple at college and hears complaints all the time from vista users.[ not xp tho ]. Me , I do not like xp or 95 or ME , but love 98SE. to each his own..

  52. Ben
    Paris Hilton

    Re: More money than sense?

    "I've always been interested in that phrase........

    Tell me, how do we make the money in the first place, if we are such fools?"

    Paris because...well, it's obvious to everyone except her, right?;-)

  53. Greg


    "You are the weakest Troll. Goodbye"

    Oh I dunno. Judging by the "@Greg" posts I'm currently grinning my way through, it wasn't that crap. :-)

    The MacBook Air fails because the Eee PC and similar devices exist for a fraction of the price. Nuff said, end of, game over.

  54. Greg

    @Dan Wilkinson

    Big quote coming up here....


    The "more money than sense" argument just doesn't stack up. As with most other products in the world, people don't always want the cheapest product available. They want to feel that they are buying the best that they can afford, and to think that they are proud of their purchases.

    If this attitude was widespread in other sectors, no-one would buy BMW or Mercedes etc, because, on the face of it, what are you getting on a 3 series that you aren't getting in a Focus? More MPG? Probably not. Faster? Maybe, but not so as you would particularly notice on your rush hour crawl into work. No, you are paying for 2 things, 1) the increased quality - comfier seats, better design and materials etc, and 2) you are buying into the "superior product one-upmanship" that is prevalent in todays world.


    Hate to tell you this, Dan....but for me, what you've just written is the very *definition* of more money than sense. his elitist attitude (not necessarily yours) keeps Starbucks et al in business, and to me it's simply shallow and pointless. It's a pity that attitude is so prevalent, but there you go.

    I *do* drive a small car, and I buy stuff that's good value for money, rather than being the big name brand. Note that I never said "cheap," simply "good value for money." I will pay a stinking fortune for a computer or phone if, technically, it's brilliant. If someone asked me to pay the same amount of money for something that was simply fashionable so that I could wave it around at people in a vain attempt to get vain respect, I'd tell them to stick said device up their arse. I paid good money for my Athena, and I'd pay the same for an Eee, but would I pay 6 times that amount for a device that does the same or even less, simply because it's the one on the TV ads? Not on your life, mate.

    And when I fill up my car for 15 nicker, tax and insure it for tiny amounts of money, and then hit 50mpg going in and out of the city, I take a quiet moment to chuckle at the Beamer driver sat behind me, because with the vast amounts of money he's spent on his car, I've done and bought far more interesting things.

  55. Ivan Headache

    @ greg & @ Hywel


    "The MacBook Air fails because the Eee PC and similar devices exist for a fraction of the price. Nuff said, end of, game over."

    And the MBA sells - and obviously very well - I don't call that 'fails"

    I have to admit that in my recent travels I have only seen 1 MBA in the wild - but so far I have not seen a single Eee.


    You mentioned something I'd forgotten - Cameras - quite often when I go to sort someone out it's because they've loaded all those CDs. Once I've removed as much as I can find and get the thing set back to iPhoto they are staggered by how simple the whole thing is. I've had a couple of cameras lately though that haven't worked just by plugging in so I've just made sure they have a card reader and the problem has been solved.

  56. tempemeaty

    MS's move to UDC sells...........................Apples.

    Microsoft moving to the UDC (User Data Collection) model for it's OS and software is killing the PC market and doing more to sell Apple products than ever before. Good job MS! ^o^

  57. Rick Leeming

    gah! fanboys!

    Why the arguments? We know all OSen suck. Doesn't matter if it's Windows, OSX, Linux, Unix or even BeOs. They are all a pain in the arse.

    Windows 98SE is actually perfectly acceptable for the majority of users out there. While most of us here are pretty tech-savvy, the average user doesn't care. They just want to turn the computer on, browse the web, shop and do their e-mails. Latest and Greatest doesn't come into it. Though to be fair, Macs aren't good value for money, even in a dim light if you squint. The newest laptop I bought (HP G6031EA, AMD TK-53, 2Gb RAM, GeForce Go6100) does everything I want of it, and then quite a bit more. It boots XP64 and 64Bit OpenSUSE. It "Just Works" once I got rid of the horribly bloated POS that is Vista.

    My desktop box is a home built AMD 6000+, 4Gb and an X1950XT. Decent spec for what I use it for (Mainly Browsing and some gaming). Again this boots XP64 and OpenSUSE. The Reason i mention those is that at both points in time I took a serious look at Macs as a possible option. Both times I've had to conceed that for what each of these machines cost me I wouldn't have been able to get a Mac, and still have the same grunt. The Lappy was £375, the desktop was £550 all in. I wouldn't have been able to get the MacPro that would have been essential to actually play games on (once I had installed Windows alongside OSX). price/performance on Macs is a great big fail, and some of us really do work things out like that. Hell, I wouldn't have been able to get a MacBook pro to get away from the horrible Intel graphics chips on the MacBook either, even when you take the combined price of the machines into account.

    Macs don't always "Just Work" either. They are just as bad as PCs for perferal hardware compatability. I picked up a cheap Samsung laser printer a few years back, and it refused to be recognised by either my G3 when I bought it, or my mate's Macbook about a month back. They are less prone to hardware conflicts and annoying driver issues essentially because Apple have such a tight level of control over the hardware, but they do still suffer with external devices.

    Before I get accused of being a "Mac Hater" i'm not. Until recently I was still using a G3 that was sat under my desk, but after many years faithful service it finally let The Magic Smoke escape, and it's gone to the great recycler in the sky. I used Macs from System 6 onwards, running through various machines including a Powerbook 100, early Powerbook Duos (Now THAT was a snazzy idea), Quadra 630 DOS (shiny P90 card If my memory serves), PowerMac 6500 and eventually the rather awesome and uber reliable G3 (by way of a few other machines as well, including a few Power Computer servers we had at a place I was working). I've also pretty much always had a Windows/Linux box as well because of games, and software availability.

    Now please, quit the bickering, it's like being in a playground.

    ouchies, i just wrote an essay, nightshift is getting to me I think.

  58. Carniphage
    Jobs Halo

    Here's the reason....

    ...Buy a PC - and and someone has pooed in the box.

    It's not just Vista.

    Every beige box sold is filled to-the-brim with third-party crippleware.

    Each and every one of these programs loads itself into the system and leaves its hooks in deep. They nag you to buy them. And you know, deep down that when something goes wrong, one of these pieces of crap is to blame.

    They'll be a half-functional virus checker that slows the system to a crawl.

    There'll be some fancy 5.1 sound driver, that has to proclaim itself at every boot with a fancy splash screen.

    And there'll be a half-dozen others. Crammed in by the box-shifter because the software companies have paid for them to be there. Sometimes they don't even work together.

    Half of them don't even follow Windows user-interface rules. And if you want to hose them out, good luck.

    It could be hours before you get on the internet, and when you do, each of them will want to start downloading updates.

    Who would want this? How did the PC market get into such a state where respect for the customer counts for nothing?

    The reason Apple is doing well is because it respects paying customers enough to not shit in the box.


  59. Mage Silver badge

    Re: The reason is obvious


    Vista is terrible.

    Linux and OS X are based on a 32 year old OS and XP/Vista based on a nearly 20 year old OS.

    The Gold plated Bloat problem. It's bad on Linux & OS X, but just not as broken yet.

    However as Linux tries hard to be be more Windows like, it gets worse and as MAC OS tries to be cool it gets sillier. Did the last non-UNIX based Mac OS die with OS 9?

    Apple does well due to cool Marketing and the bad performance of others. Not because of usability, price or reliability.

    If people boycotted Chinese products over Dafur, Tibet & etc, not many US tech gadgets and no Apple ones would be bought.

  60. Nameless Faceless Computer User
    Gates Horns

    re: Parallels

    I switched from PC to Mac after over 20 years of faithful following. I wish I could say the Mac doesn't have flaws and quirks. Yet, I've only spend about 1 hour a year fixing mac fonts, file permissions, and cranky printer drivers whereas Windoh's has destroyed entire weekends.

    Parallels demotes Windows to an application loader, where it should be - quietly sitting in the background where it can do no harm. If Windows gives the Blue Screen Of Death, I can restore it with a few mouse clicks and 15 minutes of backup recovery. Sweet.

    The AirBook is flawed in that features were removed to make it thin and lightweight.

  61. Graham Anderson

    re: Toyota vs Lexus

    Darryl - my point is more that to a significant section of the market, the cash money price differential is not so big that it will stop them buying the machine they want, rather than the Dell compromise.

    People who have to lug around their computer up and down the country to meetings, given the choice, are likely to plump for the machine that is not going to turn them in to Quasimodo. Hence the popularity of the small form factor Vaios and their ilk. In particular, all the female execs I have worked with have always lusted after the Vaios and the small Toshibas because of the small weight. But with these machines the tradeoff is in screen size - escape the tyranny of backache only to end up with eye strain squinting at a tiny screen.

    With MBA, you get the light weight, and a full size screen and keyboard. The tradeoff is that some of the connectivity options are not there - which as I've already pointed out, a chunk of people do not in practice use.

    Will cost-conscious corporate IT departments flock to the MBA as a buffer against employee claims of back pain caused by lugging 2 kilos of Dell around in a badly designed freebie laptop bag? No. But someone who is self employed now has a choice as to whether or not they pay the extra few hundreds of pounds in order to get a balanced compromise laptop. Where the Lenovo X300 has gone before, I'm sure other Wintel manufacturers will follow - which can only be good for all of us.

  62. heystoopid
    Paris Hilton


    Hmmm there be lies , damned lies and statistics !

    Meanwhile back in the real world of sales of real computers , those branded with the official Apple logo barely sell one in twenty five new machines with it's lifted not so original BSD Unix/Linux at the core of it's OS !

    Choices , it would appear all those evil p2p dudes and terrorists the very same ones that RIAA/MPAA want to kill very dead , are in reality spreading both the Apple OS far and wide for free with both "Bootcamp" and "Parallels" allowing all the knowledgeable Intel clone machine customers to play around with it , very much like a cat playing with a mouse so as to speak !

    This 21st century false propaganda truly flies very high indeed !

    PH knows a lot about false propaganda one suspects !

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