I just read Joshua Gan’s blog post, I’m a Mac. You’re a PC. There really are two types of people, on Digitopoly. He has some great observations on the past week that saw the release of the iPad mini and Microsoft’s new Surface tablet. The reviews for both products are all over the map making it hard for anyone objectively decide which is better. But that’s exactly Joshua’s point. There is no objective comparison to be had because we come into the discussion with our minds already made up — either we’re Mac people or we’re PC people, and there’s almost nothing that will lodge us from those positions:
“Macs can’t understand the obsession with keyboards in the same way that PCs can understand the obsession with smooth animations and a natural feel and experience. They are different people in terms of how they relate to information technology. The entire industry needs to understand and accept that. It really changes how you view prospects and evolution here.”
The Mac vs. PC debate reminds me of the “digital native” phenomenon. Young, tech-savvy people can just pick up a new device and intuitively figure out how to use it. Older people immediately look for the instruction manual and plan on needing several weeks just to figure out how to turn it on. Mac people can instinctively use new Mac products just as PC people are completely at ease with PCs. Mac vs. PC has less to do with the capabilities of the respective devices and more to do with one’s heritage. Are you a Mac native or a PC native? Crossing the boundaries is like having to learn a new language. Tasks a Mac person could quickly and easily do on a Macbook take what seems like hours on a PC and vice versa.
Thinking of it this way helps to explain the heated debates over 1 to 1 programs in education. Even if you forget the money involved, students, parents, teachers, administrators, and tech support are all coming to the table with preconceived notions, all speaking a different language.