10 Things We Love About Apple

5. Macs Run Windows

While most people still consider the Windows and Mac operating systems either/or options, a growing number are choosing to run both on one machine--an Intel-based Mac.

It all happened so fast. In January 2006, Apple shipped the first Intel-based Mac (the iMac). In March 2006, hackers Narf and Blanka hacked it to run Windows. Less than a month later, Apple released the public beta of Boot Camp, which dual-boots Mac and Windows operating systems. And now, there are at least three other ways to run Windows (even Vista) on your Mac, including the slick and easy-to-use Parallels Desktop for Mac, which makes the integration of OS X and Windows nearly seamless.

Unless Apple decides to let other computer manufacturers make OS X-ready computers, it'll be the only company that makes machines that can be a Mac and a PC. We don't see Steve Jobs letting the rest of the industry make Macs; then again, we never thought he'd be willingly involved with Windows-capable systems, either.

6. The Fake Steve Jobs

If there were no real Steve Jobs, there'd be no fake one either, and that would be a shame. The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs is a satirical blog written by an anonymous, often dead-on voice channeling the real Steve Jobs. It's both a hilarious read and an influential commentary on tech issues such as Tim O'Reilly's proposed Blogger's Code of Conduct. (And yes, we know that Fake Steve's targets have included . . . well, us.)

Warning: Reading the blog will quickly prove why the Fake Steve Jobs (also known as FSJ) is on the wrong side of that blogger code of conduct. He--whoever he may really be--frequently strays across the line of political correctness.

7. The Apple Store Experience

CUTLINE

Is it really that surprising that Apple's attractive retail stores succeeded where Gateway's bovine-themed shops didn't? A visit to one of Apple's 170 worldwide locations, especially the 24-hour Fifth Avenue New York City store sitting beneath a giant glass cube, is an experience. A young, hip, and technically knowledgeable staff is friendly without being hard-sell. They won't boot you out for using the Macs and free Wi-Fi. There might be a wait for service, but you can sign up to get your tech support questions answered by a tech at the Genius Bar. While you're waiting, check out the digital lifestyle shows on GarageBand, iMovie, or other Mac applications. Apple has managed to turn a computer into a day at a digital park. And it's all free--unless, of course, you impulse-buy a Mac.

The rest of the PC retail industry, by contrast, is typified by CompUSA, the dreary, entertainment-free chain that recently announced plans to shutter more than half of its locations. In other words, an average Windows box isn't just less fun to use than a Mac; it's also less fun to buy.

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