Mac Scope

Is the G5 Enough to Entice Switchers?

Stephen Van Esch - 2003.06.25

No doubt you've heard that Apple has announced new, powerful desktop computers that are sure to give Windows machines a run for their money.

While fighting the Megahertz Myth has been an arduous (if worthy) battle, any sane Mac user will admit that it was a rearguard action. It will be much more fun to flat out claim that there is no speed difference between Mac and Wintel setups without giving an overview of clock speed and CISC vs. RISC chip architectures.

Apple has stripped away yet another big problem people seemed to have with buying a Mac. Now that the perceived performance gap has been closed, Apple should finally start building up some market share.

Or will they?

It's hard to say what kind of impact the G5 will have on switchers.

For those making the switch, there may be other factors that will always hold them back from Macs. There are layers of objections that people will make before making a decision to switch to something new. Apple has done a good job eliminating many of the qualms of the average switcher. Software bundles, attractive form factor, integration of software and hardware, and stability are only a few of the things that switchers will gain when they make the switch.

Add "speedy hardware" into the equation, and things can only look sweeter.

However, Apple may have trouble with a few other obstacles in the way of switchers. Take software investment, for example. Replacing an existing library of software can be an expensive proposition. Unless Apple is incorporating some fancy Windows emulator in their next revision of OS X, buying new software will remain a very real obstacle for switchers.

The G5 will, however, make it easier for new users to get in on the Mac action. Heck, you'd almost be crazy not to buy a Mac considering how far ahead of Windows "Longhorn" OS X will be. Think of it: "Features coming to Windows in 2004 are available today on the Mac." Catchy.

This might be particularly effective in a corporate setting. IT spending is tight, and many companies will be looking to save money on their next upgrade. Convincing these companies that going Apple will not only save money on IT costs but also bring features they won't get with Windows for at least a year or two and you might have a corporate switch or two on your hands.

Pure speculation there, of course, considering that company would need to shell out for all new hardware - but we can dream, can't we?

To recap, the G5 may do little to convince more switchers, but it should have an impact on those in the computer market for the first time.

Fingers crossed.

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Stephen Van Esch is the founder and president of the E-learning Foundry, an online training resource for Mac users. Steve loves the Mac and is doubly bilingual, since he's also fluent in Windows and French.

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