30 Days With a Macbook Air
Until 30 days ago, I had never used a Macintosh for more than a few minutes to do a specific task. So when I had a chance, I gave up my Lenovo Yoga for the Macbook Air for 30 days.
My experience started out with me feeling a little lost because I use a ton of shortcut keys in Windows. After a few days, I had managed to learn the most useful shortcut keys, and they turned out to be pretty similar. Pleasantly, I was super-impressed by the speed of the machine.
After my first week, I had learned enough to be comfortable and was able to be productive. Yet, I found many nuances about how the operating system worked compared to Windows. All very minor things, but they caused me moments of frustration while I had to retrain myself.
By the third week, I became officially frustrated. Everyone had told me that I would love the Mac if I just gave it 30 days to get used to it, so I began to worry that things were going the other way. Then it occurred to me, sometimes things get worse before they get better.
During the final week, I hated using the Mac and could not wait to return it and get my Lenovo Yoga back. As with most relationships, “It’s not you, it’s me,” is what I would say to the Mac. It has a great operating system, but it’s not for me—just like Windows is not for most of my Mac friends.
Here are the key things I learned about using a Mac, some of which really surprised me.
- Microsoft Office on the Macintosh is like using an old version of software which lacks important features that you need. I could list 50+ negatives on this topic alone.
- Other popular software applications are lacking features as well.
- The Mac can and does crash. I used a Lenovo USB port hub and my Mac crashed constantly until I figured out the USB was the cause.
- As a heavy keyboard shortcut user, shortcut keys are more difficult to use. I’m sure this is debatable, but was extremely true for me.
- Mac users don’t have a “delete” key, they have a backspace key. Well, it says delete but it deletes backwards instead of forward like “delete” works on Windows. In fairness, they have both on the external keyboard but not on the built in keyboard.
- Macbooks do not have home, end, page-up, page-down keys either.
Most everything you can do on windows can be done on Mac (and vice versa), but there are many nuances that take getting used to.
- You can’t lock your Macbook with a shortcut key (I use this frequently around the office to keep people from messing with my computer!).
- The trackpad “gestures” features are awesome (some of them work on my Yoga and more are coming in Windows 10).
- I missed my touch screen even though I rarely use it.
- (This list could be much longer if I wanted to get into specific details)
- Most Mac users aren’t snobs, but the ones that are snobs are really snobby … the snobs are the people that blame problems on “third-party” software or hardware, and think you are stupid for using anything but pure Apple.
The bottom line
There are good reasons to use the Mac, but if you spend a significant portion of your day in Microsoft Office, it is likely not a good choice for you. Even my colleagues and friends who use a Mac admit to hating Microsoft Office (some still prefer it over the Apple alternative). I suppose this is why designers do so well with the Mac, as their software (much like Office for Windows) was designed for the Mac.
I personally found no truth to most of the reasons I had heard to buy a Mac. It was not significantly faster than a properly configured Windows machine (a solid state drive is Windows' best friend). It was not more intuitive than Windows. Time did not matter. There turned out to be nothing that made me want the Mac.
Thus, I believe which operating system you choose depends more on the software you use. Of course, it is a very personal decision and for many of my colleagues they prefer their Mac despite using Office. Unless you have a strong reason to love the Mac, the cost and learning curve are significant barriers to adoption.
On a final note, Apple’s product placement strategy in schools is brilliant, as I imagine if I had used Apple for the last 30 years, this blog would be written from the other perspective.
E Dale Denham Author's page Dale is a business leader who is best known for providing business-focused I.T. leadership. He believes technology is not limited to increasing efficiency, but is essential to driving revenue. Dale strongly believes having great people is the critical ingredient to success no matter how great your technology might be.Known to many in the promotional products industry as a leading technologist, Dale is using his mix of business and technology to help drive the industry forward. One of the leaders and founders of the PromoStandards effort, Dale and others are working hard to address industry inefficiencies. Dale also is a board member of PPAI through 2018.Follow Dale on Twitter @daledenham or connect with him on LinkedIn via http://www.linkedin.com/in/daledenham.