Walter S. Mossberg answers readers’ tech questions for The Wall Street Journal in a feature called “Mossberg’s Mailbox.” Here’s one from yesterday:
Reader’s Question: We plan to buy a new computer running the XP version of Windows, not Vista. We are afraid to take the step to the Mac since we are in our 70s, and are just average on the computer. We rely on our children for help when we get into a jam, and they have no experience with a Mac. Would you recommend we venture into Mac land, fear and all?
Mossberg: No. While I believe Apple’s hardware is very good, and the Mac operating system is better than either version of Windows, I also believe that average users whose operating system works well for them, and who can buy new hardware that runs the same system, shouldn’t feel pressure to change. That’s especially true when they have a ready source of support.
MacDailyNews Take: A Mac would be “new hardware that runs the same system,” Windows, while also letting new-to-Mac users acclimate themselves to the vastly superior Mac OS X. It’s beyond us why Uncle Walt fails to clearly point out that buying a Mac — and only a Mac — gives users the capability to run any OS and application they desire.
Logic dictates that the correct advice for these people is:
You are planning to buy a new computer anyway, so buy a Mac. Run your familiar Windows XP and you’ll also have the Mac’s better-designed hardware and the capacity to learn the superior Mac OS X and Mac-only apps at your own pace. Buying any other PC would be a mistake as you would be needlessly limiting yourselves, regardless of your age, ability, or confidence.
More info about slumming it with Windows natively on your Mac via Mac OS X’s built-in Boot Camp can be found here. More info about fast virtualization on your Mac (have Windows side-by side with Mac OS X — it’s like Roseanne Barr standing next to Heidi Klum) via Parallels Desktop for Mac here and/or VMWare’s Fusion here.
Mossberg continues: However, that course of action will become more difficult this summer, when Microsoft plans to stop licensing Windows XP to computer makers for preloading on new machines. That will make Vista the only version of Windows available to new computer buyers. Buying a new Vista PC does require users to learn new techniques and to cope with hardware and software incompatibilities.
MacDailyNews Take: So, by this summer, according to Mossberg, even old, average, and fearful people should buy Apple Macs. As we’ve always said: Macintosh. Because life’s too short.
Mossberg answers more questions in his full feature here.