Last Friday my daughter ordered a new MacBook for me through one of Apple's many specialized programs. I ordered a 2 Ghz system with extra ram and a 120 gig hard drive.
Less than seven days after ordering the system, I'm typing this post on the new computer. One of my friends who still worked at Apple called me this morning just after 9 am to see if I had received the system. I was actually at the door signing for it.
FedEx tracking had this listed as the first step in the journey.
Jun 27, 2006 7:09 PM Picked up SUZHOU CN
The package made stops in Shanghai, Anchorage, and Indianapolis before arriving at my door in Roanoke, Va at 9:11 am this morning. That is an amazing coordination of resources, and it was only my first pleasant surprise. Even the packaging amazes me. The box is smaller and better designed than any I have seen. Of course not many folks care about packaging.
The next surprise came when I went to migrate everything from my 15" Aluminum Powerbook. I bought my dual G5 in December 2004, and I couldn't get the migration software to work so I was prepared for failure this time. Much to my surprise, I plugged the two systems together, and in around two hours, everything from my nearly full hard drive got moved over without a hitch. I just went downstairs to my office to work and came back once to check on the migration.
So far the only thing out of the ordinary that I've had to do is change the time which for some reason didn't want to synchronize. I set it manually once, then flipped it back to automatic and everything is now fine.
I've tried Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Excel. I did not find Photoshop noticeably slower, but I use Photoshop for very basic things. MS Excel after the first launch seems faster than it did on my 1 Ghz Aluminum PB. Mail and iPhoto both seem faster. Nisus Writer and Camino are also quicker.
All in all, I'm very pleased. This system is less expensive than either the Aluminum PB I bought in August 2004 or the Dell Latitude D610 that I bought in September 2005. In my mind that makes it a great value.
My Apple friend sent me a link to this story just before noon. The MSNBC article, "MacBook world's best laptop?" by Gary Krakow has this to say.
Quite frankly, this notebook computer is the best I’ve ever used.
At this point I would have to agree. I just purchased and downloaded the Parallels software this evening so I will install Windows XP SP2 tomorrow and get my WebCEO and accounting software running on it.
It occurs to me how different this purchase was than my first computer purchase in August 1982. That system, an Apple II+, was purchased through a reseller. There were lots of third party things added including an Epson printer and software such Apple Writer II and dbMaster. Eventually we added a keyboard enhancer to allow us to see upper and lower case on the green screen. Then came more memory for Visicalc. (I still have an almost new copy) By that time I was actually working for the reseller.
This afternoon I talked to a couple of Apple resellers that I know. Both understood why I didn't order my system through them. It was basically pricing. I still believe Apple resellers can add tremendous value for those customers who aren't as comfortable with computers. I'm just not one of them.
I've said this a couple of times before and I really believe it. The key to Apple getting out of the small market share rut is to figure out how to get beyond their BMW-Volvo market. Apple needs to embrace blue collar America. I think good resellers could be the key to success in this market because this isn't Apple's normal world.
Of course Apple has to stop shooting the resellers in the foot. Apple resellers need to be able to make money without Apple pulling the rug out from under them.
While there are Apple stores in many major metro areas, the closest to us is nearly three hours away. We have a small Apple reseller here, but it's pretty hard for them to compete with Apple. Of course even the Apple stores couldn't deliver what I wanted. They only had systems with 80 gig drives.
Perhaps the technology of custom manufacturing has made computer resellers irrelevant except for service. Of course when I asked one of my reseller friends if they could get the ribbon cables for laptop screens so I could get my PB G4 fixed, he told me that they could no longer order that from Apple. My only choice would be to ship my system to Apple.
He went on to say that he tells people that the only reason they keep selling Apple computers is so that they can have the great toys for themselves. They of course have to make their money in other ways.
I look forward to writing more about my impressions of life on my MacBook Duocore system. I think I'm going to have fun. It's too bad more folks don't understand how good Macs can be.