08 February 2009

Apple Blinked, Stuttered

Over on the other side today, I once again lavished some praise on Apple for its terrific retail sales and service. But I wouldn't be telling the whole story if I didn't also acknowledge that Apple failed one small test today - something that should have been an easy one.

My wife and I went to the Fifth Avenue store today to take a look at a new machine and, most importantly, get information about running Windows on a Mac. There are, alas, a few programs that my other half uses that work only in Windows ... but she needs another computer and Macs are definitely part of my present and future.

Conceptually, we know that Windows-on-Mac is possible, via Boot Camp or Parallels or other programs. Practically speaking, we wanted to see it in action: what does Windows really look like, how will it work, is there any impact on performance ... ? All obvious questions, most of which can be answered by reading items on Apple's web site - but reading the web site and seeing for one's self, in person, on the computer, is different. Isn't that the whole point of having a retail store, so people can see for themselves, in person?

So, it was a bit of a shame that Apple seems unprepared to address this question in any substantive manner. Not a single computer in the store was running Parallels, and only one - an old laptop - was running Boot Camp. The sales staff was trying hard to be helpful, but their knowledge in this area seemed more limited than we had expected. (Certainly more limited than I expected based on past experience.)

It is probably unrealistic to expect Apple to be able to demonstrate every piece of software it sells, but running Windows isn't every piece of software: it's been a major, if subtle, selling point ever since Macs moved to an Intel-driven computing platform. If someone from Apple ever reads this, I hope they'll take this into account for the future.

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At 5:16 PM, Anonymous Marvin I. Honig said...

My wife and I each have a 20 inch Intel based Imac. Although we like Leopard, we both have programs that require Windows, such as WordPerfect and Quicken for Windows. Boot camp does work well, but it is a pain to have to restart the computer. My wife has VM Fusion, and I have Parallels 4. They both seem to work well. I agree that Apple does a poor job of marketing and explaining Windows on a Mac. Its foolish - the Apple Store in Tampa sells Parallels and Fusion, but not the Windows XP necessary to run them, and they have no one to demonstate the programs. Apple Support can't help either. However, it is probably the best solution for someone who needs to run Windows programs as well as MAC. Although I have used Windows since it first came out (and before that CP/M and even earlier programs, the MACs are elegant, and their phone support is great.


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