Simon Willison discusses Conferences with Macs and makes a point that iChat, Rendezvous, SubEthaEdit, EtherPEG and some other apps are turning the Mac laptops into the ultimate geek-conference-weapon of choice.
While I agree with him wholeheartedly, he also makes a very interesting point about how he remembers “hearing Mac owners complain of being treated like second-class citizens” and how he doesn’t feel like that today.
I think it was true that Mac users were second-class citizens in the past, and I blame that mainly on Apple’s approach to the marketplace. The way Apple over-priced their products just because they “looked nicer” was completely surreal but nowadays I think Mac laptops are really an almost unbeatable proposition on a feature-by-feature comparison with wintel-based laptops.
The introduction of Mac OS X also gave rise to a whole new wave of power-users who love the Unix OS (with all that’s good about it -I won’t keep beating on a dead horse here) but like to have a really nice and functional UI. And yes, gnome is almost there, but it has been almost there for quite a while now and OS X is already there for a long time and is really infinitely better right now, so deal with it!
Also, what I feel mostly today from the non-Mac crowd whenever I go to a conference or meeting with my iBook is a mix of curiosity and/or envy.
People are either curious because they like (or violently dislike, some things never change ;) ) the design of the laptop or because they heard something about those Mac-thingies and would like to know it better; and then they are jealous because all the Mac-heads there are having a good old time using everything that Simon talks about and then some.
It improves productivity, gives me great liberty to roam-around (I have -and absolutely love- the 12’ version), gives me seamless access to whatever wireless networks are available and has a bunch of really cool applications which aren’t available (for the most part) on other platforms and even if they are, are not nearly as widely used and so are not nearly as useful.
I used to bring my wintel-laptpo to meetings and feel that it was useful. Now I bring my iBook and find it indispensable!
But then again, I’m in love with my Mac, so take it as you wish… :)