Whether Tis Nobler to be Cool

My work horse ThinkPad is getting old and ever-more prone to crash at inopportune moments. It is like an old friend in failing health. You pray for its recovery but know where things are headed. In fact, there should be an assisted living facility for ThinkPads that still can function well most of the time but require assistance with cooking and cleaning. Anyways, I was sitting with three Mac fanboys last week and my IBM locked up four times. Needless to say, I endured much towel snapping and derision.

It used to be easy. Just buy another laptop. The only question was which brand of Windows laptop; Dell, Toshiba, Sony, Lenovo; these days they all work and cost about the same. It's around $650-$900 for a nice 16”, wide-screen Windows laptop, depending on processor speed, RAM, and graphics card.

But there is now a disturbance in the force. My boomer friends are buying MacBook Pros.  Is the Mac user experience that much better than a Windows laptop? Is it a less risky and less costly cool-brand association than buying a Harley? Not to get off track, but if your orthodontist has a Harley now, does the Harley brand really convey cool, rebel status anymore? Owning a Mac used to convey similar rebel status, more elegant for sure, but you were not a lemming dutifully taking your soma.

What owning a Mac says about you today is less clear. You could be a designer or a recent addition to the party like my boomer friends; you could have arrived on a Mac via the iPod gateway drug. The point is that you got there and you paid a premium to get there. A MacBook Pro with specs nearly the same as my new wide-screen Lenovo Y550 costs more than twice as much. I am not cool enough to pay that premium, particularly since my banker friend has lowered the cool to cost ratio.

I still want a Mac some day when my ship comes in. Kind of like I want the Audi A5 and a regulation basketball court in my backyard. The Mac interface looks cool, but I don’t spend a lot of time at my local Apple “Re-education Center” test driving Macs for the same reason I don’t test drive an Audi A5. I don’t want to endure the ride home in my Jetta. Mr. Jobs, regrettably, I am a PC (for now) and the $750 TrashBook Pro was my idea.

1 comment:

KnowledgeShift said...

I agree there seems to be limit for the "cost of coolness" whether it's iphones, the latest app, kindle etc. I think there are many of us still feeling the ripple effect from last year's economic crisis to second guess how much we are willing to pay for cool.