Consider the Mac For Your Business
By Melvin Ah Ching
Five years ago I wrote an article entitled "Doing Business With a Macintosh." In that article I noted several benefits of running your business with a Macintosh computer. All of the benefits mentioned in that article hold true today. Let's re-examine them.
Ease of Use: From day 1 the Macintosh staked its claim as being the easiest computer on earth to learn and use. While Windows and other graphical user interfaces have caught up with the it, the Mac continues to set the pace for the future of GUI's, most notably with its new Unix based Mac OSX (read that as O.S. 10).
Macs in Two Flavors: Two operating systems dominate the Mac market. There is the familiar "Classic Mac OS", which is signified by OS releases 6 through 9. There are more than 25 million users who work with a version of the Classic Mac OS.
New Macintosh computers sold since last year come bundled with both OS 9 and Apple's new OS X. Mac OSX continues with the traditional look and feel of the original OS, but with a lot of new features built in. Because it is based on Unix, OSX can now claim to be one of the most stable OS's around. It hasn't crashed since I started using it on a regular basis late last year.
Connectivity and Compatibility: The ability to share files between the new and old versions of the Mac OS is seamless. Macs can co-exist in a Windows environment through file sharing, especially if using programs that are built for both platforms, such as Microsoft Office.
Macs can be connected to local area networks using standard networking protocols. Setting an internet connection is a matter of going through a 15 minute process.
Another area where the Mac has excelled is in the ease of connecting peripheral devices. With Mac OSX, most of the software required for connecting digital cameras, printers, scanners and external storage devices are built into the OS itself.
For example, if you have a digital camera, you don't have to install software drivers... all you do is plug the digital camera to the USB port and the Mac OS will see it and automatically start transferring your photos to the hard drive.
Productivity Software: Depending on your business, the most valuable piece of software to have on your Macintosh may very well be the Microsoft Office suite, which for the Macintosh includes MS Word, Excel and Powerpoint. If you choose not to buy into the rather pricey suite, there is an alternative... Appleworks 6.2, which sells for less than $100, can save files to MS Word and Excel formats. It also comes with its own presentation software. This of course is just the basics.
There are thousands of other software titles for the Mac that can help you become productive with your business. Everything from financial management, education, audio and video production to graphic arts, desktop publishing (Macs excel in this area) and website design and management is available for the Mac.
The Mac can also stand duty as a rock solid internet server since it comes with the popular Apache server software.
Security: One of the most compelling reasons to consider a Macintosh is the fact that these computers are immune to most of the computer viruses that wreck havoc in the Windows world. The last major viral outbreak for the Mac occurred in 1998.
Since the user base for the Mac is so small, the people who write viruses have long ago decided to reach the biggest audience possible with their malware... Windows users. Still, that does not mean that Mac users should rest on their laurels. The caveats regarding back-up and owning the latest anti-virus software tools hold true for the Mac user as well as their Windows counterparts.
Hardware: Since Apple controls both the software and hardware end of the Mac experience, there is no shortage of models available to the user. On the low end there is the eMac and sexy new iMac family of computers. Those on the go can choose between the value oriented iBook G3 laptop or the G4 Powerbook. Power users have G4 towers at their disposal. A new Power G4 rack server is also available. All of these Macs are OSX ready out of the box.
If you are considering computerizing your business or upgrading to a more user friendly and stable platform, consider the Macintosh. While they may be somewhat pricey at the get-go, in the long run Macs become more cost efficient as they require less maintenance and attention over their lifespan.
Mel's Macintosh Universe
Copyright 1998-2003 by Melvin Ah Ching Productions.