The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Inside Cult of Mac
- Popular, powerful, PC-Substitute

Welcome to a small but passionate community that includes doctors, corporate honchos, housewives, technicians and students. The Cult of Mac is spreading slowly, but rock steadily, in Calcutta. Although officially no such group exists in the city, a common love for all things Apple, particularly the Macintosh, is what binds them into a community.

“If you start using a Mac, you will never go back to the PC,” assures K. Rajkumar of Studio Discreet, engaged in post-production work for the big and small screens.

There are two kinds of Macintosh users — the professional and the home-user. Any graphic designer worth his virtual palette will tell you that a Macintosh is the first (and only) choice. Ditto for television and film production people.

Rajkumar pegs the Macintosh market around 40 per cent in the professional production scene. His own rig is a dual 2.5 GHz processor, 4 GB RAM and 1500 GB hard disk monster that cost him around Rs 12 lakh.

A reason he attributes to the slow progress of Mac mania: “A teenager is intrigued with the Mac enigma that he keeps reading and hearing about, goes to a store to find out the details and returns thinking it’s way beyond his budget.”

Despite the fact that prices are now coming down rapidly, it will still be some time before they are comparable to PCs.

Professionals apart, home users find the ease of use and virtually crash-free functioning of the Macs a welcome change from the often- cumbersome Windows PCs. And then, there are the to-die-for looks.

“It’s sensational,” decrees Darius Anklesaria, a surgeon attached to a private nursing home, about his 12-inch PowerBook. Apple’s laptops are called iBooks and PowerBooks, the former lighter on features and price.

Within three months of handling a Mac, the doctor is already a fan. “The operating system is great, it doesn’t hang or crash and is very user-friendly,” adds Anklesaria.

The doctor uses the laptop mostly for his personal work, though professional work like recording an operation, he feels, is easily achievable.

It is often the lack of a Windows PC or a strong recommendation that leads Windows users to the alternative. A more than favourable experience heralds the transition of first-use fascination to lifelong love.

In the case of Anklesaria, after his return from the US, the only computer around was a Mac belonging to his nephew, a film-studies student. Trying it out, he found it easy to learn: “The transition was easy for me and getting used to didn’t take more than a day.”

So when he started scouting for a laptop, Macintosh was the first choice. Tumbling prices made it an affordable choice as well.

“I’d certainly recommend an Apple to anyone looking for a computer,” adds the doctor. An iPod — the portable digital music player — in the family (with his daughter in the US) makes Anklesaria a member of the Mac Cult.

Anklesaria’s sentiments are echoed by Aditya Jajodia, senior managing director of Assam Tea. “The ease-of-use is a key factor,” he says about his PowerBook, “but Apple’s door-to-door after-sales service is also worth mentioning.”

Jajodia has been a Mac user for around a year. The only ‘drawback’ of having a Mac for a primary companion, he adds, is the limited software availability. “Most programmes are written for the Windows platform with no or very late Mac versions,” is his complaint. Ditto for blockbuster games, an increasingly PC-purchase determining factor.

The smaller things, like Apple’s attention to detail in look and feel, help to impress. “The glowing Apple logo on the back of the iBook’s screen for instance,” points out Sanjay Chordia, an Apple dealer who reaches “around 15 Macs a month” to home users in the city.

“Earlier it would turn upside down on opening, like the Toshibas and IBMs and look odd. But Apple quickly rectified it and that has helped add more style to the later models.”

Caveats aside, the PC-alternative is making greater inroads into the homes, labs and hearts of computer lovers across the city, as the Cult of Mac keeps growing bigger.

“Much like the Macs themselves,” quips a Mac addict, “that keep going on and on, getting better and better.”

5 reasons, feels Apple, you should switch to a Mac… today!

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