Apple really wants you to believe that they matter as a computer company. Every time they make a product announcement, the tech industry buzzes with discussion. All they have to do is announce a press conference, and the pundits come alive with wild speculation about what Apple is up to.
In the current episode of This Week in Tech, Leo and the gang spend 6 minutes talking about Apple’s delay of the new version of the Mac OS and how that’s related to the iPhone, a product that doesn’t even exist yet. Just about every week, they spend a significant amount of time talking about Apple, speculating about its business strategy, and commenting on its various products.
I occasionally listen to podcasts of the Kojo Nnamdi Show. Every Tuesday, they focus on technology. Inevitably, they balance coverage between Windows and the Macintosh. They treat the two platforms like political parties — they have to give equal time to each.
In the education world, we see the same thing. Every time we talk about a resource or application, someone asks, “does it work on the Mac?” or “is there a Mac version of this?” I attended a talk given by Rhonda Anderson last week. She’s one of the founders of Creative Memories, and she was talking about memory preservation. After mentioning their Memory Manager software, someone from the audience piped up. “When is there going to be a Mac version?” Never. She wasn’t quite that blunt about it, but that was the gist of the response.
Here’s the dirty little secret Apple doesn’t want you to know: almost nobody uses Macs. The Macintosh user community is a very small, but very vocal, minority. Apple is outstanding at marketing. They have always done a great job of creating hype around their products. There’s no other way they could get a million people to sign up to buy a $500 phone that nobody’s ever seen, especially when the cell phone companies will give you a phone for free. They’re marketing geniuses.
Here are some numbers. I installed Firestats on my blog a couple months ago. Of the visitors to my blog, 2.1% are Mac users. Keep in mind that most of my readers are working in the field of education, one of Apple’s traditional strongholds.
Maybe my blog doesn’t get enough traffic to provide a useful sample. Let’s take a look at my web server in general. This server hosts all of our district’s web pages, all of our staff web pages, our e-learning platform, and all of our blogs. I have logs from the period of March 25 – April 18, a period of 24 days. During that time, we logged 2.7 million hits on our site (more than 100,000 per day). Of those, 2.4 million (89%) were from Windows machines. The Mac clients made up 2.7%.In fact, we received more hits from Google’s indexer bots (2.8%) than we did from Macs.
Just for a bit of perspective, Ralph Nader took 2.8% of the popular vote in the 2000 US presidential election. Macs are less relevent to the computing community than he is to the political one.
So what does this mean? If you’re Mac user, recognize that you’re in the minority. There is no “Mac side of things” and “Windows side of things” anymore. There’s the Windows side, and the Windows side, and maybe the Mac edge. Don’t expect the software developers to write for both platforms — it doesn’t make economic sense for them to do that. Don’t assume that professional development is going to be platform agnostic. It really doesn’t need to be anymore. You’re a foreigner in this land. We welcome you, but please understand that you’re going to have to adapt to the environment. It’s not going to adapt to you anymore.