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Tim Cook, Apples CEO since the sadly premature death of Steve Jobs.

I’m an apple fan and I have been for a few years now too, ever since in preparation for going to university my father decided to get me a laptop and walked me into Leicester’s Apple store to check out some MacBook Pros and there and then I was initiated into the growing crowd of people tossing aside their aging PCs and picking up shiny new Apple products under the leadership of the ever charismatic Steve Jobs. Before then I never even had an iPod, but how things change, here I am writing on my MacBook Pro, my iPhone nestled neatly in my left hand pocket and even my grandmother owns an iPad. All of this is whilst my old Windows desktop sits cobwebbed and disused in the corner, rarely powered up and often cursed for its many failures whenever I do bother to resurrect it.

 

Apple, why so many love you.

In short, Apple products are some of the sexiest out there. Nothing comes close to looking quite at sleek and modern as their range and their design base in Cupertino, California is renowned for it – they are the only design team that godfather of design Dieter Rams’s feels truly follows his 10 Commandments For Good Design.  With impeccable build quality and use of perceived high quality materials such as machined aluminum in the iMac and MacBook Pro and gorilla glass with stainless steel in the iPhone 4s, it simply stops you being able to look at those flimsy plastic sheet laptops the same way ever again.

But there’s more to it than that, though their price points are immovably high, Apple goods are always a high end product a veritable ‘Rolls Royce’ of tech, sure you can get the same for cheaper elsewhere, but no one does it quite like they do. They are a name you know you are going to deliver and from this they have amassed a certain stereotypical following of Starbucks going hipsters and black polo neck architects, even through growing to have roughly twice the cash and power of Microsoft and being friendly enough that your grandparents actually want them (free lessons in store are likely a big player here) they have managed not to lose that John Wayne maverick counterculture chic – something that any big name brand would kill for.

Now this brand image seems self maintaining too as the Disabled Services Allowance in universities actually offer free 15” MacBook Pros to students who are classed as disabled and are on a computer heavy course. I know a good number of design students who went straight to the campus center to book a dyslexia test for this very reason and because of this, many Students have shiny new MBP and Apples image couldn’t look more youthful and trendy.

So, quel est le problème?

Well Apple has always been ‘the kid that doesn’t like to play with others’, it’s a bit cult-y in that respect, if your going to go by the way of  the Apple then expect to be leant on to go the whole hog. For the privilege of connecting to an external display that’s not the Apple Cinema Display your most likely going to want a £21 adapter and now that the higher end MacBook Pros come without a disk drive to minimize profile, rather than buying a £15 one from your nearest shop, you should buy their own for a whopping £61, you want to upgrade your RAM? No can do with this new model. Spares and repairs? Thankfully they offer 3 year AppleCare to students at £45 (rather than standard £200) as within 2 years my MBP has had a replacement screen (wasn’t sealed properly so dust got inside) and a replacement logicboad – each would of cost around £300 to replace had I not had the AppleCare, so points to them on that.

Vizio’s All in one PC. Beautiful no?

Apple have enjoyed being the best looking and working stuff that’s big on the market, but trends always have the danger of passing prematurely and Apples competitors are catching on to what people want and adapting quickly with new tech such as Visio’s beautiful first foray into computing and Dells new ultrabook that already looks just as beautiful as anything drawn up in Cupertino with similar price and specs to the MBP but with useful additions such as SSD drive, Gorilla Glass display and Carbon fibre bodywork as well as being 14% smaller in volume than the MacBook air.

In conclusion: Watch this space carefully.

As its going, Apple are in danger of losing their dominance to the new big hitters if they continue holding steady rather than pushing forward again (Siri? Within a month other smartphone makers had their own that was just as good, if not better for those of us living outside of the US) but they will never quite fade away after establishing such a rockstar reputation.

For style and reliability but high cost: Apple.
Top spec gaming: Stick with your custom Windows desktop.
Performance and customisation: Custom PC with Windows or Linux.
If your like my Dad and don’t want to fear a laptop slowing to a halt after a year: Apple (with care).

Its August time when traditionally Apples iPhone announcement keynote is due in preparation for a release in September, but will there be one? Will it be the long awaited iPhone 5, and will it be back to pushing the boundaries with all new and impressive tech? Or another device somewhat coasting on reputation like the 4s? Competitors like Samsung have already released their high end gear earlier this year which might tell us that they know something we don’t.

So you tell me; are you a still a fan of Apple, a PC heavy or stranded in between?