The start of Intel-based Macs and how that impacts me today…

Several of the Apple blogs are running stories about the first Intel-based processors than ran Mac OS. At the time, the processor used by Mac computers were Power PC processors. Many Windows users would never had considered a Mac at the time because of the Power PC processor, just as we would also avoid AMD processors. It wouldn’t have mattered if the processor was a superior product; many Windows users were (and are) Intel-only sort of people.

When Apple went Intel, it also brought a lot of credibility to the product line. Granted, the chip itself may be no better than any other chip, but Intel has made itself synonymous with quality. If you are a Windows user, you can still install Bootcamp and run Windows, natively, on an Intel-based Mac. Had Apple still had the Power PC processor in 2008, I doubt I would have bought my first Mac.

In the 1990s, my school district made the decision to go all Windows. We’re still living with that decision, and we’re still running Windows XP. It is easy to understand why the district made that decision…the 1990s were the dark ages of Apple. Apple wasn’t making good products at the time. I know a number of districts that made the same decision. The problem is that Apple has changed–a lot–and so has Windows. Who makes the superior computer today? Perhaps there is no definitive answer, but to automatically dismiss Mac computers “because we don’t support Mac” is pretty shortsighted.

It hasn’t been officially announced, but our district has started a paradigm shift in computing. It started with various iPods, then iPads. This past spring, it became known that there was a goal to buy a new computer for every teacher in the district. As we are a new school, we have some of the newest computers in the district; many teachers were working with computers that were seven years old and older. Our district has apparently decided to go with MacBook Pros for the faculty, and they are waiting for the WWDC announcement tomorrow before moving ahead with the purchase. The school board has to finally approve the purchase.

I have a late 2008 Aluminum MacBook (this model was later changed in name to the 13″ MacBook Pro) which still runs more reliably than any of the computers we have in our school. I’m sold on Apple’s quality–at least of their current products (this could always change, but I hope it doesn’t). I know about the Apple tax (which is around $200 over a Windows computer with specs as close as possible), but I also know about the lower cost of updates and that the “tax” becomes negligible after an education discount and years of use.

Just think…if this former Apple employee had not migrated Mac OS to Intel computers, I would never have bought a Mac (this is probably true for many owners) and our district would have never considered MacBooks for teachers.



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