Letter to the Editor and Author,
I read "Is School Out for Apple?" by Rajiv Chandrasekaran. I was disappointed with the misleading nature and inaccurate statements found in this article. I have taken the time to point these out and tried to supply the supporting information that disputes these statements.
I have several problems with this statement.
First, compatibility. Macintosh computers are able to read and write data from virtually any program whether from a Windows system, an Apple, II, or anywhere else. This is a feature that has been standard since 1989. In many cases, it is actually easier to use documents on the Mac than on a Windows system, even if it was created on a Windows program. Most major applications are available on both platforms, including industry standards like Word, Excel, WordPerfect, Netescape Navigator, Internet Explorer, PageMaker, Photoshop, etc.
Pricing. When publications such as Byte magazine demonstrate the superior performance of the Macintosh computers with the PowerPC microprocessors, it is hard to accept that the Windows systems were substantially cheaper than the Mac or Mac clones. Additionally, Gartner Group has published their study proving the cost savings of maintaining Macintosh systems vs. Windows-based systems. In addition, the Macintosh has a significantly lower training investment requirement, and has a longer lifespan than any other platform. Costs relating to computers are more than MHz per dollar, especially since the initial price is only a fraction of the actual cost. You also have to consider that there are many options included in the Macs that will require additional cost (and time) to add to the Windows systems. In your article, you state:
Those Macintosh computers are no doubt still in use. That would be impossible if they had purchased Windows-based systems.
If Mr. Kelsch is teaching Windows as technology, then he doesn't understand the true value of a computer. A student who has learned to use a Macintosh will be able to move to a Windows-based system with a minimum of problems because Windows is continually trying to become more Mac-like. A student who has learned on the Intel-based systems, may have NO experience with Windows 95, and probably learned a lot more about DOS than anyone should have to know. This student will require more training to learn Windows 95. The reality is that schools should be teaching students how to use technology to obtain information, create documents, and communicate. No one knows what computers will be like in 5 years, considering the changes that have taken place in the past 5 years. Anyone familiar with technology should agree.
Most analysts were surprised that the educations market has remained strong despite thte endless negativity from columns such as this one. Comments from one article are restated in other articles even if the original statement has no merit. This makes it difficult for the [public] to determine the facts from the fiction.
This statement has to one of the most ludicrous. You are basically saying that since Apple is cutting it's operational costs, it will now be HARDER for them to keep prices down? Basic Economics says that if costs are down, then prices go down, but profits can remain constant. Your taste for blood seems to have blinded you from the obvious.
If you want to go down this road, I can provide you with dozens of schools that I personally deal with that have recently, and have plans for 100% Macintosh purchases. Then again, I can also rattle off many businesses from small to corporate, that have a 50% or higher Macintosh presence, and have recently purchased more Macintosh equipment.
This just proves that the school has been lacking in their understanding. Students can very easily save their documents from the Macs on Mac or PC floppy disks for use on their home computers. This option has been standard for almost 10 years, regardless of the work processor, database, spreadsheet, or graphics program. It is as easy or easier than taking the files from a Windows system, since it is rare that the school and home computer have the same program and the same version.
Your lack of understanding of the eMate is obvious. It is not meant to replace the traditional computer, but instead to augment it by providing a reasonably price portable system that provides the basic necessities such as word processing, filing, spreadsheet, Internet, and communications. Since it does not have the overhead and demand of a traditional computer, it's "comparatively slow microprocessor and small amount of memory" should actually provide a very responsive system.
By the way, the eMate is not a black and white screen, but a gray-scale screen which will allow graphics support and full web browsing. You might want to check out the following sites to get more accurate information on the eMate.
Despite the constant bashing, Apples sales have been steady, and beginning to improve. They have, and are, reducing costs. They have the fastest computers available in the laptop, desktop, and high-end markets. They have the highest customer satisfaction and loyalty. They are financially strong, and will be able to support the changes currently in progress.