Mac Scope

Left Behind, the New Computer Game

Stephen Van Esch - 2002.05.01

It's a game we play - you, me, and Apple.

Every once in a while, we all have to upgrade or replace our computers. Apple products are consistently great and always a good buy, but timing is the issue.

I recently plunked down hard saved money for a TiBook and a fire sale original iMac. While an iBook would have been a prefect solution, the screen resolution was simply too low for the kind of work I do. So, as Apple intended it, I went for the Porsche of computers. No regrets there.

The iMac was the last lonely hold out at a local electronics store that was no longer selling Macs. Lost, forlorn, and just plain cute, I bought it for my wife. The boot up time of her Quadra was doing an excellent approximation of an ice sheet moving forward, and, because she will be returning to school in September, a new machine was in order.

So, for three fleeting months, I was ahead of the curve and she was on the trailing edge. Nothing wrong with that.

Then, of course, there's the "If I had known...."

If I had known that a new TiBook was coming out with an even higher resolution screen, I would have struggled along with my aging clone for a few months longer. If I had known that an education-only The eMac17" CRT eMac was going to be release, I would have waited. The eMac could even have been purchased legitimately, considering my wife will be a full time student in the near future.

Of course, this isn't the first time that I said, "If I had known," nor will it be the last. My PowerPC clone was bought at a fire sale price one month before the G3 was introduced at a lower price.

Don't get me wrong. I love my TiBook. It's ability to drive a second monitor (another requirement that forced me up the computer chain), great screen, and good horsepower make it a perfect machine for me. The same goes for the iMac. For the price we paid, the iMac is a massive improvement that didn't break the bank - very much worth every penny.

You have to wonder, though, if Apple weren't so darn secretive (which is a good thing from the marketing perspective) if they would make a bit more money. For example, the iMac I bought was a really great deal, but Apple didn't make any money off it. However, I would definitely have plunked down more money for the eMac. Apple's loss there.

Of course, this argument has surely been made many times before. And I'm sure that if I had waited three months and bought a new TiBook and eMac, I'd be writing this same column in six months time.

You can't blame Apple for making droolworthy products, and the price of playing the computer game is quickly being left behind.

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Stephen Van Esch is the founder and president of the E-learning Foundry, an online training resource for Mac users. Steve loves the Mac and is doubly bilingual, since he's also fluent in Windows and French.

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