I’m just going to come out and say it: I don’t like buying new technology. I will use my all my gadgets – phone, camera, DVD player, laptop – until they are so old and battered they no longer fulfil their function. Only then will I buy something new, and it will be a rash decision based on completely random factors – probably to get it over with as soon as possible because I find the whole process deeply uncomfortable.
I think it’s because these devices feel deeply personal, and like Stewie Griffin likes to say: ‘I don’t like change’. After entering the world of mobile phones with a Nokia (the good old 2310), changing over to a Sony years later meant days of feeling like the world wasn’t quite right. I’m on my third phone in a decade now – it’s an ageing BlackBerry but I’m pretty sure it still smarter than me. The conversion to BlackBerry and the QWERTY keyboard represented weeks of frustration, meaning there is no way I’m getting an iPhone, or any of those fancy Android handsets – I don’t think I will be able to handle the stress.
After the upsetting Handset Change of 2010 I swore not to break in any more technology brands if I could possibly help it. But then my laptop, my trusty old Apple iBook, started to show its age – oh the betrayal – and I found myself having no choice other than to start considering how to replace it. Do I need a Mac? I really don’t – most of my computer work is writing so the answer to that would be a resounding ‘NO’.
A £400 Dell computer would be just fine for my needs, and I knew it. I went to visit a Dell in the shop but soon found myself in need of oxygen. Like driving on the right side of the road, it just felt so wrong. Then I considered the price tag for a new Mac, and struggled to breathe all over again.
In research mode
What happened next was that for the first time ever, I actually started doing some research. Okay, so a lot of this research was done by the Boy, but still – I looked into all the budget laptops I could find to see if there was one out there that I could stand as a replacement to my beautiful, dying iBook. I was almost set on the Dell Vostro until I discovered its abysmal battery life. The Dell Inspiron was an option but the keyboard didn’t feel right. The Toshiba Satellite felt too shiny and plasticy, the Acer range just plain plasticy. And don’t get me started on those laptops with patterns, swirls and colours on them – does anyone actually like that?
I ranted, and the Boy let his exasperation show in PC World, claiming I was being unreasonable. He may well have been right. But in every shop I went to fondle PCs, the Macs were sitting there at the end of the table: luminous, tempting, expensive. Granted, I could find several ‘acceptable’ PCs too – Sony for instance has very pretty things, but at those prices I might as well buy a Mac.
Force of habit
So in the end I caved – the lure of Apple won out. I handed over my money not with a grumble, but with a sense of relief. Reassuringly, the new MacBook is almost the same as the old iBook, except a bit shinier (I’m adjusting to that). It can do some new things too – such as two-finger scrolling which has left me unable to use my netbook (it’s an Advent and I am not impressed).
I could go on about the subtle differences between Macs and PCs, but I think the key issue isn’t really about spec – it’s a feeling. It’s about the smoothness of the user experience, a sleek design, intuitive software and a trusty work tool. Or maybe it’s just habit. Either way, dear reader, I am Apple’s bitch, and it makes me happy.