You know, Beth, you make some really valid points and it makes me want to go out and try Apple products. When I reflect back on my technology choices, I think it amounts to "dancing with the one that brung you" in that I started out with PCs and as a poor student I could never really afford to go with the more expensive stuff. In Dallas we had what was known as the first Saturday sidewalk sale in downtown and we would get up at the crack of dawn to get the best deals. I bought my first 286 motherboard for $75 there and built my own computer. That was just not being done with Mac boards back then so my natural inclination has always been towards PCs. Macs have such a great following and I have always heard how superior they are especially regarding graphics applications but I just never needed that much power in those areas. Also, it just seemed to me that back in the day there was a lot more software being coded for PCs. Of course all of that has changed but I am still stuck in that old mindset...or at least my pocketbook is. I completely agree with you and have always been a fan of paying more for a quality product but I am also a fan of simplicity and have just not needed to make any changes - I still prefer the feel of a real book in my hands rather than an E-book. Maybe when this lap top dies I'll take another look...
@Nancy: Agreed that Apple has great marketing, but so do a lot of companies and then again, there's a lot of great brands that don't have the same follow-through in terms of blue-chip marketing. I think the bottom line with the devotion to Apple products is the overall user experience when using the technology. It's seamless, it's effortless, and to me, it can't be beat. While many technology products are indeed commodities and thus trapped in the price play, Apple gear provides a wholly different experience and it's not just about feel-good or feel-proud commercials. (That, of course, IMHO)
My wife has an iPad and I have an Android tablet. Side by side the Apple looks sleeker, and has a much better display. Without question, the Apple packaging and appearance is superior to anything else on the market, but that is where Apple has always put most of their engineering effort. I'm tempted to bash the Apple for all the problems we've had with the tablet, but I know that there are followers so loyal that their allegiance borders on religion. We found that the Android tablet is far easier to use and much less restrictive when adding new software or features. All and all, the Android was less quirky, with fewer, "what the heck is it doing?", and "how do I do this?"
The new tablets are great, but I really miss my little Toshiba Pocket PC. The size, power, and feature set was really perfect. I wish that platform had been expanded.
I hear what you're saying, Chuck, but I have to put myself in the Apple fangirl camp. I've been using Apple products since 1999 when I left the corporate world and a dedicated IT group and I feel like they are worth every penny of their higher price tag. They are easy to use, especially for a techno-phobe like me, there are rarely any problems, you don't have to worry about hacking or breaches as much as you do with Windows. To top it off, the designs are elegant--beautiful really. It's akin to driving the nice car. I am not a gadget girl, but even I get excited bringing home my new laptop every four years or a new phone every three years.
Allan, 4G connectivity with 32 GB storage and 250 MB data per month for $50 is amazing. But what would be the price of Fire HD, if it starts something within $199, it's a revolutionary movement from Amazon, which may force Apple and other competitors to slash their pricing policy and to offer bundle of packages along with their Tablet.
Brand loyalty amazes me at times - there must be some really amazing marketing people in the apple corner. A friend is going to Mexico and is taking online classes so I offered to loan him my Toshiba netbook which is great for internet cafes and is so much more portable than his Mac laptop. He refused and is lugging his big and bulky Mac laptop because in his words, "I am loyal to my brand!" I get that with sports teams but not with utility in technology...
The Apple products do have the seamless integration of all items in the App store as well as Itunes which give them a leg up on all competitors. People seem to be willing to pay a little more for the convenience of having the same apps loaded automatically on their ITouch, Ipad, and IPhone every time something is installed.
I agree this is a very strong competitor, Beth. I've always been baffled at the loyalty of Apple-or-bust afficionados toward that company's high-priced products, especially when low-cost competitors like this make their way to the market.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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