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Whiney Mac Fanboy's Journal: Why is Apple afraid of being PC? 33

Journal by Whiney Mac Fanboy

There is one thing I really don't understand about Apple. From the first advertisements for the Apple ][, Apple was proud to call their PC line ""Personal Computer"s". Apple continued to be proud of their PC heritage, billing the Lisa as a reinvention of the "Personal Computer".

This continued until as recently as 2000, when Apple was quite happy to advertise the powerMac G5 as the World's fastest "Personal Computer" (at least until they were ordered to pull the ads for being "misleading".)

I can understand why Mac users use the term PC. It's because of a sense of being an outsider & the feeling of superiority the term gives the user (I use a mac, it's not a generic item like a "PC"). On the other hand, I think if Apple were the company it portrayed itself as being (great products, from an ethical, honest company), it wouldn't use the term PC (in opposition to mac), as well as the term "Personal Computer" (when it suits).

Ironically (in the Alanis sense), Apple's most blatantly incorrect usage (Mac Guy / PC Guy ads) has come after Apple's shift to a far more generic PC architecture, which makes it possible to run windows on a mac or os x on non-mac hardware (the 'standard' definition for a PC used to be 'a machine capable of running windows').

What does everyone else think? In this new era where it's possible to run OS X on a Dell, or windows on a Mac, is Apple being intellectually dishonest using the term "Personal Computer" when it suits them and PC disparagingly?

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Why is Apple afraid of being PC?

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  • But I have to say you are bang right in pointing out this; they do seem to use the two terms interchangably at their convenience. At the moment they are trying differentiate the 'Mac' from the 'PC', and the Mac owners I know do seem to prefer to use the term 'Mac'. However I don't get the pleasure of working in a Mac environment as much as I'd like nowadays, and when someone calls my iBook a 'PC' or a 'laptop', I sure as hell don't correct them. In fact I take their lead and use their language, because if I
    • Ouch! I feel your pain working in an all MS shop with an ibook - really not much fun at all. My experiences with this sort of thing is that if anything happens (like say the port on the switch you're connected to dies), you're on your own. If the desktop guys, can't use their standard windows tools to diagnose, you're out of luck. *sighs* - not too much fun at all!

      PS I hope your 'Stop the Whine' campaign was effective, although I couldn't care less about the MacBook at the moment as it is but a distant of o
      • ..but I'm in a for a lot more of it, as it was my extreme displeasure to have to put the ibook in for repair today. I have lost my 'AppleCare virginity' - had to sit through the £35 'troubleshooting' session (refunded when, as I predicted, the steps the sexy, husky American woman took me through failed to revive it). She did make no less than three attempts to sell me £199 worth of AppleCare, however whilst I'm not ideologically opposed to it, I just can't afford it. So tomorrow I have to take t
        • I think the fact it is an ibook and not an x86 PC laptop is part of the reason for the SysAdmin's recalcitrance, and the attitude of his .NET buddy only reinforces my perception.

          Couldn't agree more - one of the really great things about the macbooks is you'll be able to set 1gb partition aside just so you can boot windows and show these ignorant $#@!tards that the problem is not the computer, but something in their network (or whatever).

          Thanks for your remarks in this thread btw, it is really nice to see so
          • Perhaps my campaign (as you call it) is a little misguided - but I'm not trying to get the general public to change, just Apple to be a little more consistent.

            What would you propose they call PCs, then? Or their own computers, when they're generically referring to them as "personal computers", which they are, but never as "PCs", which generally means Windows PCs, as I've discussed elsewhere in this article ad nauseum?

            Would it have been better if they had said:

            "Hi, I'm a Mac."

            "Hi, I'm a Windows PC."

            or perhap
            • PC = Personal computer running Windows
              Personal computer != PC


              For the masses:
              A Mac is a Mac. Including Apple machines which may not ever have been named 'Macintosh'.

              A PC is, as far as the mainstream goes, a Personal Computer running Windows, however, I would not, for one moment, attempt to explain your second point to anyone outside of /. , ever. It's just completely unnecessary. In summary, there are two distinct terms you can use in 'the real world' : A 'Mac', if that is what you intend to refer to
              • I think we're all just going to have to disagree on this one :-/

                Looks like noone can really agree on where the line between Mac, PC & Personal Computer! :-D
              • I agree.

                There was a time when "PC" was an initialism for the words "Personal Computer," and people actually thought in those terms. A personal computer ... that's a computer for one person to use (as opposed to computers as shared devices).

                Let's face it: PC doesn't stand for Personal Computer any more than KFC stands for Kentucky Fried Chicken, or SAT stands for Standardized Aptitude Test. They might have begun that way, but now they're just letters, with their own meaning, separate from the actual, origina
                • "PC" means an x86-architecture, commodity-box computer running Microsoft Windows. Full stop.

                  I think thats actually a reasonable definition. Now if only we can get dictionaries to list PC [reference.com] as such, I'll be happy ;-)
          • I never really dealt with that - yes, I was haphazard in calling it that. Sure, I know you didn't start that, I checked it out a while ago. BTW I speak purely figuratively when I say (elsewhere) 'let the baby have his bottle'. I don't literally think you are a baby. And, if you are not completely burning an ironic flame here, then thankyou. Happy to Help.
            • Think of it less as a campaign and more as a way of raising awareness of issues with Macs that are modded to the ground whenever mentioned.

              I understood what you meant with 'let the baby have his bottle' :-)
  • I think you're picking at nits here. "PC" is a useful generic term, derived from "IBM PC", that refers to a certain class of hardware. By default, based on market share it's assumed Windows, but you can specify "PC running Linux" or whatever.

    "Personal Computer" as a word means something more general. And as you point out, it sounds like Mac has shifted away from that term, given that your last example of it was over 5 years ago.

    "PC" and "Mac" are convenient, balanced, easy to say talking points. (And just l
    • I get what you're saying - and I can understand why the general public use the terms (allthough, I find that sort of imprecision mildly annoying)

      My beef is with Apple, for using one term or the other as it suits them.
      • Are there examples of them using "personal computer" within the past five years?

        I'm trying to think if "personal computer" as a concept is still an important linguistic niche.
        It covers desktops, laptops, home, office, etc. But what is a non-personal computer then, these days? Mainframes and the like are encountered so infrequently relative to the "Personal" computer that it doesn't seem like that distinction still needs to be made. Maybe it needs to be made the other direction, to differentiate from other
        • Apple has used "Personal Computer", which is accurate.

          They have not in any recent times and/or as part of any coordinated campaign called any of their computers "PCs".

          There is no disconnect here. Macs are "personal computers", and it's accurate to call them that at a generic level. But since almost everyone on earth understands "PC", when used as an acronym, to mean a computer running the Windows operating system, it's perfectly accurate and reasonable, given the usage, that Apple not refer to their compute
  • To answer your question:

    No, Apple isn't being disingenous; why does it even matter? "PCs" have come to invariably and unequivocally mean "computers running Windows" to almost all normal human beings. I mean, how many times have we heard about the "Mac" vs "PC" dichotomy? Is a "Mac" a "personal computer"? Of course it is. As Apple sometimes refers to it. Does "PC" stand for "personal computer"? Once again, of course. But is a "Mac" a "PC", in the parlance and vernacular people actually use, using the acronym
    • Also, since this is likely the only place you'll respond to me: What is your purpose? You seem to alternate between trolling people who post about things related to Apple, and the feign an almost believable interest in things related to Apple yourself. Which is it? What is your purpose? I'd also be interested in a direct response with regard to why your MO seems to be sitting on slashdot for about half the day, waiting for articles for subscribers to appear, and then crafting a reply that is almost invar
    • Hi Dave, Thanks for your reply - you're one of the most credible & self-consistent mac heads out there - good to see.

      Which is it? What is your purpose?

      To have fun ;-)

      To provide a counterpoint to people (including you), who seem to have no purpose, but sit on slashdot & spin any piece of bad publicity about Apple (Just how often do you get FP on a negative Apple story anyway?)

      Because I enjoy a good train-wreck as much as anyone.

      Because of my fans! (thanks guys, if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't still
    • Now we all now that Apple use "mac" to diffeentiate itself from the crowd and perhaps to appeal to a certain audience. PC is used as a acronym for "windows PC" (apperantly they need no mention of windows in that acronym)

      Now Linux needs a way to differentiate it from the others, afterall you can install Linux on... anything, and answering "mac" or "pc" when someone asks you what the nice xgl effects are just does not cut it.

      Linux is the kernel, it is also used as the name for the OS (don't give me that
      • Hmmmmn,

        Interesting.

        Maybe we should just refer to boxes by the company or OS that runs on them?

        Linux PC, Mac PC, Windows PC?
        • I know I've regularly called my iBook a PC. But then I call my main desktop machine a PC as well (runs Linux). In both cases it seems to confuse Windows users to no end.

          I just see PCs on one side and servers on the other. The CPU or the OS don't make that much of a difference to what they are called.

          But then I've been doing computing for 25 years and I'm no longer interested in converting others to my views. I just use what I find convenient, others can use what they like as long as they don't bother me wit
  • I've noticed Mac fanbois on the Mac discussion sites tend to refer to "Pee-cees" running "Windoze".

    At least Apple hasn't dropped to that level. Yet.

    • *snort*

      Yes, yes they do - hopefully, realising that they're running something that only differs from some other intel boxes because of the software its running will give them food for thought.
      • Yes, yes they do - hopefully, realising that they're running something that only differs from some other intel boxes because of the software its running will give them food for thought.

        Um, the software is the most important part. That's the whole difference to most ordinary people, regardless of whether there's a PowerPC or an Intel CPU inside.

        Everyone has got some derogatory thing (like "peecees") to call some competitive product. Whether it's Mercedes and BMW, Ford and Chevy, vi or emacs, or Macs and PCs.

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