Before last March, I had always looked forward to returning home from Harvard. Good food, family, and plenty of sleep are plentiful at home while examinations, homework, and exhausting meetings are in short supply. As luck would have it, however, I returned home over spring break to a tragedy.
My parents were using Macs.
Prior to this incident, I had always thought of my parents as reasonable, level-headed Midwesterners. They saved their spare change for rainy days, didn’t get too incensed about politics, and even helped our neighbors out with the two-foot dumps of snow that make surviving Minnesotan winters a Herculean feat. They were far too sensible to fall for deceitful scams and Ponzi schemes–or so I had thought.
The biggest problem I have with the Macintosh isn’t its prohibitive price tag, nor is it the lack of fun-filled interactive virtual reality simulations (also known as “games”). No, my biggest issue is that Macs are a fad, plain and simple.
First off, as far as hardware goes, Macs simply aren’t good computers. Even with the recent switch to Intel processors (the “brain” of the computer for the less technically inclined), Macs lag far behind their Windows or Linux counterparts in terms of simple power. Standardized computer graphics tests have shown that the Mac Pro is outperformed tenfold by equivalently priced Windows machines .
At the same time, they cost much more than their superior counterparts—the new Mac Pro can cost up to $2,500. A similarly performing Dell machine costs less than half as much. [see correction below]
Another supposed advantage of the Macintosh is the reliability of its operating system and the accompanying software. But this reputation is entirely undeserved. Even the new iMac, supposedly a powerhouse machine immune to problems, recently caused Apple’s customer help website to grind to a halt with more than 240 complaints on one page alone.
On the practical front, the new Macbook is not only formidably heavy—at 6.8 pounds, it’s nearly as hefty as an AK-47 assault rifle—but also suffers from poor construction. Over the past few months, Lenovo, Asus, and many other laptop manufacturers have made durability their top concern. By contrast, Apple’s Macbooks, much like their organic counterparts, can’t survive a fall of even just a few inches. [see correction below]
So if the Mac isn’t a good computer, what is it?
It is, to put it simply, a glorified toy. The Mac appeals to the technologically illiterate and the aesthetes who value form over function. Apple’s design is admittedly quite good, but pretty colors cannot make up for the total lack of computing power.
Advertisements for the Macintosh emphasize its convenience for musicians, artists, web designers, writers, and other creative, alternative types. This makes the hefty price tag doubly tragic, since these demographics are hardly the type than can afford to throw money down the Apple drain.
The Macintosh computer is the emasculated plaything of the effete, limp-wristed parlor liberals who have too much money and too little sense. Hopefully, when reality hits, it will go the way of POG caps, Beanie Babies, and Pokémon. Sure, it’s cute. It is, after all, just a very expensive paperweight.
Eugene Kim ’10, a Crimson editorial comper, is in Kirkland House.
CORRECTION: Wednesday’s comment “Bad Apples” said that the new Macbook is 6.8 pounds. While this is the weight for the 17-inch Macbook Pro, other models weigh considerably less. Furthermore, although some benchmarks do show that a similarly performing Dell costs half as much as the most expensive Mac, this is not as regular of a result as the article suggests. The Crimson regrets the error.