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I've been an Apple Mac user since high school, using them even as I struggled through business classes on clunky PCs. As an adult, I used them in college. I have since purchased five Mac laptops and an iMac, and while I'm not a graphic artist, I've pounded on them most days of my life for years and years. I lived through the dark time when Apple licensed its OS to the clone makers, and a couple of times here and there, particularly as my budget plummeted, I reconsidered whether I should hang onto the Mac way or throw in the towel.
Same here, owned Macs as soon as I could afford them, around 1996, and ever since then.
I want to say something though: I never identified with those who derived some sort of rebel identity from their use of a non-mainstream platform.
I used Macs for one reason only: They were the better product. The software was better, the hardware was better, and the attention to detail that Apple put into everything, the amount of thought and care that goes into a product, is what made them different. Nobody else did that, and to this day, nobody else is doing that, certainly not any other huge corporation.
Apple today is the same thing, only bigger.
What's baffling to me is that all those companies that are now trying to copy Apple - it comes with the success - they all focus on copying the designs, the marketing - but none of them seem to realize that what they should be copying is Apple's obsessive will to improve its products. They should be copying the love and care that everyone at Apple puts into their products.
This is what makes the so-called "cult" which expresses itself with an incredible customer satisfaction rate, and a very high brand loyalty score. Repeat customers. High end car makers do this to some extent as well, and people fall in love with their cars. In tech, only Apple seems to have figured it out.
Interesting story, almost reflects my experience! The first time I touched a Mac was in 1987, the next time was in 1993, and I have had a Mac ever since. I can remember arguing with various Windows users about the ease of use of the Mac, and being the lone voice in the empty wheat field...hmm, whose the wise guy now! While not perfect, even when things did not work right, it was usually messing around with mini programs and extensions; common rule, after you did something and things went wonky, just reverse your steps back to where you started, and all would be fine...with Windows, a call to a tech, or reload software, or bring it in and hope for the best...even the three times that I brought a Mac in, (once for a LC 425 monitor replacement) the repair was covered, and the machine was back in short order. Yes, Apple does get it, like few others!