Up until 1999 I didn't own a computer, and I never really gave much thought to buying one.
Then in the early part of that year, Apple did something that made me sit up and take notice and make me interested in buying one....they came out with one in purple!
Unlike other smarter people that would shop for a computer based on something that was actually important, the fact that it came in purple was the most compelling reason I would have had for owning any sort of computer at all, at that point in time. And Apple was the only one to tease me with my favorite color.
But I procrastinated about it for about 8 months...just long enough for my dad to decide to give me his old P1 with his OEM Bundle From Hell™ (he downloaded everything
he could find on Tucows and installed it all
It had issues...lots of them, and instead of enjoying a life of "it just works", I was forced to learn a whole lot more than I had anticipated, with all the troubleshooting that had to be done "out-of-the-box". (this isn't a bash against PC's in general, remember that it was a used
computer set up by someone that overloaded it worse than any OEM does with a new PC)
I could have been a stupid "happy Mac user" but because my father enticed me with something that appealed to me even more than purple (free!), I was instead forced to learn and tinker with things that most Windows users don't even know exists. That machine, by its very nature, forced me to become a power user....fast. It became a challenge, a competition between me and a machine, and I was determined to win.
For the last 24 hours I have been contemplating what the last 10 years of my life would have been like if I had bought that iMac. Would I be the computer nut I am today? Would I even be coding?
I was a whole different person with a completely different way of thinking, and Apple knew that. "Think Different" isn't a command, it's their target consumer. For a long time they have been very good at making pretty things that appeals to clueless people. I am not saying that all Apple users are clueless, just saying that you are pretty clueless if you consider "pretty" to be the most important or only reason to buy something, and a lot of Apple's customers do think that way. I know because I once thought that way, I almost bought a purple iMac!
Then they hold on to you by using fear to keep you, convincing you that you are happy and don't want to change that by wandering off into the scary world of the unknown. The famous Mac vs PC ads serve a dual purpose: to convince Windows users that they would rather have a Mac than deal with "scary Vista", and to convince Mac owners to stick with their product and not try anything new unless its an Apple product. It's a form of brainwashing. "Stay Clueless" should be their company motto.
Today, the most compelling reasons I have for choosing something else over an Apple product all comes down to choice and freedom. I like being free to choose from many options, and unless Apple decides to give me that, I'll continue to stay away from their products.
I want to choose my hardware, my software, and everything else...not allow a company to tell me what to use, where I can shop, what I am allowed to buy, who I can code for, etc.