It Seems ‘Cooler’ to Own a Mac Than a PC

Moving into my mid-twenties and now approaching, sort of, my late twenties (I’m turning 27 this month) I have had these twinges of anxiety, low self-confidence and discomfort upon entering public places with free wifi and pulling out of my backpack a Dell or HP laptop computer. The feeling is as if (this is sort of an embarrassing revelation but I think a good number of people will actually agree) I am in some sort of absurd contest measuring penis size and it has been found that I am one of the smallest, and then I am forced to sit in a public place with these people whose masculinity is undeniably more significant than mine for two to four hours, acting as if I don’t feel, at some basic level, ashamed of who I am.

Yes, it is that bad for PC users. Maybe. But this has not always been the case – at least not for me. I grew up completely on PCs and was educated, basically, to believe that Apples were totally shitty, confusing, and simply didn’t have the functionality of PCs. I remember at certain points in grade school, my classroom would for some bizarre reason have an Apple instead of a PC and the Apple in turn seemed completely ignored, dingy and unusable to the classroom; it felt like a ‘ghetto’ piece of technology planted there for our educational use but so irrelevant that it could have been nothing but an institutional blunder. An unsavvy initiative.

This remained so for me through high school and even through college, despite the fact that the normal adolescent and youth-oriented concept of ‘being cool’ began to play a major part in building a private idea of myself (i.e. ‘figuring out who I was’) and building a persona that would enable me to get the things I wanted from others. If anything – with regards to the technology I carried around – I sincerely believed that having the smallest pieces of technology was the coolest thing that I could do. For example I remember I had this mp3 player that I thought was really, really cool; that I really thought made me cool for having. It was a literal cube, maybe one square inch, and had a nice little LED display. I treated my laptops the same way – I always bought the smallest one possible, and they were always Dells.

Whether or not this personal history reflects a large majority’s personal history, owning a Dell and being culturally advanced/ cool today is, in any capacity, kind of like being sincerely into fashion but buying all your clothes at Walmart (for example). I think in fact that owning anything but a laptop made by Apple has almost reached the point of unseemliness or shameful behavior. I think that one would be dishonest to deny the fact that there is actually, now, this element of cultural capital that goes into making the decision to purchase a Mac as well as brandishing one to the coffee shop at large. That now – aside from function – people our age are actually buying Macs as displays of status. And I think one would also be dishonest to refuse to admit that having a PC is simply not as ‘cool’ as having a Mac. Why?

Because PC’s are cheaper and less aesthetically pleasing, basically. There’s also the fact that to work on a PC today means to be susceptible to viruses. It means to have your computer freeze all the time. It means to have, basically, a piece of machinery that will within two to three years most likely break down and demand replacement. Factory bought PCs, in my experience, have shitty CPU speeds, come with like 40 add-on programs that are basically CPU-sucking advertisements, and when pushed to their limits, have loud fans that turn on and make an embarrassing level of noise in an otherwise ‘chill’ coffee shop. PCs speak to the user in a very literal, language-based… language, and rarely utilize savvy-seeming animations or physical movement to communicate or as commands. The PC is for the brute. It’s layout is all hard-edged squares that often get caught mid-maximize, forcing a restart and eating up all sorts of CPU. And PCs today are much, much cheaper than Macs, and thus lack the status that money/privilege has always been able to buy (and it still, definitely can; see my Walmart metaphor).

Macs on the other hand are fucking expensive. They can now operate without fans entirely and do not alert the entire coffee shop with their huffing and puffing that their user is having some major CPU issues. Macs start up within seconds with ease. They have these little cute, efficient animations for every click, and they put to use a much more intuitive, language-free… language (sorry?) that communicates with more than just its users capacity to converse in English. They don’t freeze, they don’t get viruses, and there’s hardly a forced reboot. Their normal operation is somehow treated as more intricate and reserved for the more savvy. Macs are for the creative, the young, and those who are able to balance themselves on the edge of consumer culture.

And so it seems cooler (please note my use of the word “seems” before spouting an irate, multi-paragraph, butthurt comment defending PCs) to own a Mac than a PC because having a PC has become a symbol of cheapness of character, of an embarrassing lack of creativity, shitty judgment, and most importantly, of low cultural status. Having a Mac has become a symbol of money, creativity, and of what it means to be culturally advanced. Being culturally advanced is what it means to be cool. PCs are ripoffs which fool only the unsavvy masses while Macs are clean, efficient pieces of machinery that last longer and are aesthetically more pleasing for the relatively privileged, educated, and by consequence more attractive. And that’s basically the whole of the argument.

Which team do you want to be on? TC mark

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7HQX3YVVE6AYCEWP6IY5X75D3Q V

    “butthurt”

  • http://twitter.com/rislynsey christopher lynsey
  • http://www.facebook.com/jose.ariel.cuevas José-Ariel Cuevas

    Ah, with Macs, one can be an original person, just like every other wi-fi leech at the café.

  • Jordan

    i just bought a macbook after years of PCs… i had to buy one every 2 years because something always broke beyond repair. and yes, my mac was hella expensive and i saved for a long time to get it, i just hope it's worth the investment. so yeah, i've defected to team mac.

    but a lot of my guy friends are programming majors and staunchly defend PCs. they say that it's a “girl thing” to have a mac, and rolled their eyes when i got one.

  • Guest

    Eric troll, sir. Respect.

  • PERFECTCIRCLES

    We grew up with prehistoric apples in our house (like in the second picture) and then my world changed with a Packard Bell and dial-up internet. Ever since then I was into PCs, up to my first Dell Laptop in 2005. When it began collapsing at the end of 2009, I made the jump to Mac. It's been pretty easy, but I don't feel that much cooler – except in my lap when my computer is atop it.

  • http://twitter.com/zhahira Zhahira

    The only things macs have going for them are the casing and operating system. You plop Leopard onto a fancy HP notebook (have you seen HP notebooks lately?) and you have the exact same computer as a Mac. I thought about defecting to Apple during my last computer-purchasing round, and when I got into the nuts and bolts I realized for the EXACT same parts assembled into a notebook Apple charged twice as much… for no reason.

    • Brandon Scott Gorrell

      hp in my experience has been terrible. there is actually a class action lawsuit against hp (in progress or recently settled) for hp basically scamming a lot of people with horrible customer service and laptops that basically break down just after the warranty has expired. somebody actually created a website called hplies.com (i think it got taken down or something) as a response to how shitty HP has been and how shitty their recent laptops have run.

      i have an hp and it's like the worst thing i've ever had, easily. just after the warranty expired the laptop basically started malfunctioning hard, and at this point i can't rely on it even turning on (after two years). i paid like $900 for the thing.

      i guess i haven't had the experience you've had.

      • Jordan

        i had 2 HPs and they both broke a few months after the warranty expired.

  • http://twitter.com/lukebourassa lukebourassa

    “That now – aside from function – people are age are actually buying Macs as displays of status.”

    our

    • Brandon Scott Gorrell

      thanks for pointing that out

  • Tony

    I own a white HP laptop and on it I have an apple logo sticker with the words “FUCK APPLE” on it. I love it when people mistake it for a mac at first and then they read what it says. >:)

  • http://makalo.org David

    install linux

    • http://tattoosnob.com Julene

      I second that motion.

  • Max

    The 'don't give a shit' team, I definitely agree that a 'mac' is more of a cultural status thing, as with many of Apple products…

  • http://popserial.tumblr.com stephen

    my first thought was “duh”

  • Beth

    Whatever. Use Spotlight for two weeks, then get back to me. Function ftw.

    (The unfortunate side effect of Macs looking cool as shit is that people feel the urge to be the anti-cool. Useful sells. Cool dies.)

  • http://twitter.com/pixelheresy Keith Gibbs

    I came from the exact same sort of background… I was a die-hard PC kid growing up, even more so in 1996-7, when my buddies and I started to discover Linux and open source software.

    However, it started to feel the allure with Mac OS X and even started warming up to the point of gushing with love at even the prior generation of pre-G3/G4 Macs that would only run OS 8-9. My last two years of college [~2002-3], I rebuilt and tricked out an older Mac 8500 [the one with all the A/V ports] and love it, all the while learning OS X and doing development work on an iMac in my office (at my student IT job at the college).

    It mostly is the design/packaging/luxury embellishments [no fan/illuminated metal-key keyboard on the Pros/etc.] in terms of price and sure, that is much of what is attached to the prestige. But it is very true: the UX design and overall quality and stability of the OS is simply amazing. As a programmer/software developer type, it is brilliant: it's a tricked out BSD Unix machine with all sorts of neat bells and whistles. And frankly, if you plop down the money and you are a smart Mac owner, you hork down the extra couple hundred box, extend AppleCare to three years and have the thing looked after. In the last 2-3 machines [not including my wife's several over the last 7-8 years], I was always taken well care of, even to the point of having scuffed up shit that wasn't really broken replaced for free when I got it back, and making use of the “um, the AppleCare is out in another month, Genius Bar Guy. Can you take a look and see if anything needs fixing?” Yeah, brand spanking new keyboard assembly and LCD for free, just because I had them check it out.

    So yeah, you can make something else into a hackintosh, and that does, in terms of cool, get you halfway there, but it is the whole package that makes Mac kind of worth the price if you use it hours and hours every day of your life… well, especially since it makes you look cool [amiright?].

  • Phil Ken Sebben

    Wanna be a wolf in sheep's clothing? Buy a Mac, run Windows 7 on it, and stfu. I'm not gonna be a dick, but PC's vs. Mac's aren't about status symbols, a high-end Windows, or Linux machine will still cost about as much as the Macbook Pro. It's about not knowing how to use a computer. You grew up just the same as I did around PC's. Regardless of the issues that arise with PC's, one key feature is the same key feature in every other mechanical tool; you can take it apart, fix it, and solve the problem. Hardware or software, a PC is meant specifically for the user, it's specifically designed for YOU to customize, for YOU to work on, for YOU to program. On a Mac you have to conform to THEIR OS, and THEIR commands.

    PCs and Macs, are like Jazz and Bossa Nova. Jazz (PC's) is innovative, it's about improvising, you can come in and do your solo, another person will then do theirs, it can have vocals, it can be instrumental, it can have an oboe, it can have a sax, or both, it doesn't matter. It can be in English (and most often it is), or another language, it doesn't matter. Bossa Nova (Mac's), when it's not in English, is sung in a bastardized latin language (sorry any Portuguese speakers, but it really is like drunken Spanish), and takes Jazz concepts to similar, though very different levels in terms of timing, and structure.

    I'm not saying Macs are geared only for Hipsters, because if they were, they'd be useless and Apple would fall apart because Hipsters don't believe in doing anything or specializing in anything, however, Macs are not for the technologically and culturally advanced, THEY are the ones designed for the brute, THEY are then ones designed for the neanderthal. Why? Because all their functions and commands operate in a way that does all the work for you. Their simplicity is what's so appealing. Not a lot of musicians or artists want to sit in front of a PC and figure out algorithms to transcribe their music or digitally create and edit their art, in the most precise way possible to recreate the image or sound in their own minds; they just want to put it on their hard-drive and then play with it. Macs are to Vespa scooters, as PC's are to every motorcycle manufacturer, and those w/Linux are the Britten, Honda CBR, Yamaha, Hayabusa, Ducati, and other speed bikes for their complexity and careful attention to detail.

    Macs are toys for people who want to go online, play around a bit with programs, but don't want to actually learn how to do anything digitally or program. PC's are the all that, and the Frito-Lay Chip factory. It's not a dick contest, and if it is, i'm sorry, but there isn't a dick contest for comparing PBR, and glass of Disaronno or Jack Daniels on the rocks. I'm 6 years younger than you, and my oldest brother is about your age, and my basic knowledge of PC's STILL gives me more confidence than the hacks who parade their Macbook Pro's and Air's but don't know a damn thing to do with it.

    Now enjoy your PC.

    • http://twitter.com/pixelheresy Keith Gibbs

      Professional software developer here. Yeah… Mac are not toys. They are basically a high-end Linux [really BSD Unix] box with a very well designed and tuned OS [with some nice touches]. It is much easier to get what I need done on a Mac [testing servers, connecting to a variety of different Unix/Windows/Mac environments, and hell, Adobe Creative Suite runs nicer on Macs vs. similarly spec'ed PCs].

      Sure, most aren't developers, but it is a real machine.

      It's like a Mercedes vs. a Ford. They all drive on the same road, so in the real word, most people can get by on the cheapest, smallest Ford. A really tricked out expensive Ford may be faster and better than a really slick Mercedes, but seriously, are you going to the race track with it? Is the performance outweigh the overall package/experience for the price? But if you have the means, why the hell not for the nicer experience, the well made/tuned hardware, etc. and go with the Mercedes. Especially if you are the type to spend hours and hours in your car every single day.

      • http://disrespectfultone.blogspot.com/ Daniel Schealler

        Also a developer here (.NET) and I agree with you.

        If I could easily afford to get a top-of-the-line Mac and dual-boot 7 with Visual Studio on it, I would.

        But right now I'd rather spend that money on other things – my PC is ticking along just fine for the moment.

      • http://twitter.com/timepilotaka That's Not My Name

        With CS4 and CS5, I've found Creative Suite actually runs better on Win7 these days. We run both Mac's and PC's at my design/printing firm; CS5 on my Win7 PC (spec'd lower than our 2009 24″ iMacs) runs smoother, with the fewer crashes, and with the most comprehensive printer compatibility. Though, I will readily admit, that could be entirely the fault of the users. Garbage in, garbage out, etc.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

      tl;dr stfu

  • ZaneEatsWorld

    You're about 5 years late to be writing this article, Brandon.

  • ran

    PCs all the way.
    I don't own a single Apple product (yup, I own a Zune, and it's far better, I think), and an HP laptop.
    anyone with a degree of knowledge of computers knows Macs really aren't all that grand.

  • fl

    I sincerely feel that the Mac startup tone is some sort of addiction-trigger. As in, “you are now an Apple drone; obey Steve Jobs.” And this is coming from a Mac user.

  • Brando

    jesus, i thought this argument was over years ago. y'all are beatin a dead horse here.

  • http://twitter.com/timepilotaka That's Not My Name

    Remember back when Macs were only owned by nerds and teachers and we'd stick that rainbow-Apple decal in the back window of our cars and it was like this exclusive little club? Those were the days. I'm a PC now.

  • eddyindigo

    I own a 3-year old HP 8510p. It's reliable, and has only crashed a couple of times. The motherboard did kind of blow up once, though. I'm also a dedicated follower of fashion who buys jeans at Wal-Mart.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

    only thing about macbooks is the battery problem. other than that – it is goodie

  • http://newhandsweepstakes.com/writings/this-is-your-cat-on-drugs/ Brian McElmurry

    I own a PC, it was like $600.oo, and it still works fine. Mac's are very nice though, just out of my budget.

  • Heather

    I think macs are becoming really popular with older people as well. I was at the apple store a few weeks ago and there were so many couples in their sixties buying macs and ipads it was ridiculous. If you look at apple's marketing from the past few years, it isn't geared towards young people as much as it used to be.

  • Adrienne

    I agree with you. I have an HP right now, while I do love my laptop. I hate that I have to download anti-virus software, anti-spyware, anti-malware, anti shit software, anti-this anti-that… Blah blah. I hate that I am so susceptible to virus'!

    I think you are 100% correct, though. I mean, for the basic computer user… Someone who doesn't know all the programming stuff that computers do… Macs are just much nicer machines. I am not saying that I don't know how to use the internet, or software programs, but I don't know what the hell to do with Linux (that's what the husband is for), or how the eff to get the virus' off of my computer.

    I just want something that is going to work for me, not against me.

    I am saving for a Mac… LOL. :)

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