The thing that has me wishing Apple could be more like Microsoft is OS support—specifically how, why and what machines are supported. Now, I don’t want to get into a flame war regarding which conglomerate supports their customers better or which is more attractive overall. I use both companies’ products and so for me there isn’t one product, system or solution that does everything I need. I like it that way, too, as there is nothing quite like a special blend—whether it’s coffee, marinara sauce, a set of exercises to achieve a fitness goal or computer systems that allow you to be as productive as possible.
In my case, I recently went all in on Windows 8.1 on a couple of my devices. My original revision Surface tablet runs 8.1 RT. It has been more than I thought it could be in terms of how I like it. I’ve used iPads and know you can have a keyboard accompanying them, but the Surface, with my knockoff keyboard/case combination and accompanying Bluetooth mouse really brings the tablet as a device into my world. Windows 8.1 RT drives everything quite nicely, too. On the Surface, this operating system is the perfect blend of tablet glitz and traditional desktop functionality—at least for me.
What really impresses me the most, however, is how great Windows 8.1 Pro is on my ancient HP Intel Core 2 Duo 1.86 GHz rig. This is a machine that can be had for a song on eBay. It came with Windows XP COA and that in and of itself is a good indicator of how long in the tooth this box is.
I purchased a student edition of Windows 8.1 Pro and after getting past an installer-not-recognizing-my-hard drive issue, have had nothing but good times to report. This old PC has but 2GB of memory and an 80GB hard disk. These specs are hardly state of the art and are several passes behind the latest and greatest out there.
My admiration for Microsoft comes with allowing me to run their latest OS on a machine that doesn’t even crack the 2 GHz processor threshold. I know Mavericks can run on some Core 2 Duo iMacs, but those machines still have beefier specs than this one. While Mavericks will run on 2GB of memory, it would not be as snappy or happy as this machine comparatively speaking.
I wonder what it would be like if Apple offered a paid OS update for all those Macs out there that miss the Mavericks cut off? It could be like Mavericks Light, if you will—half the calories of the regular Mavericks, but with that same great taste. It would be wishful thinking if G5 PowerPC Mac users could take advantage of such an offering, too, but think of the goodwill Apple could foster among these fastidious holdouts of beloved, albeit ancient Mac hardware.
There are no studies I can draw upon, but the fact I ponied up for Windows 8.1 so I could run it on an older box that would probably not be supported by Apple and Mavericks (if it were a Mac with similar specs), leads me to believe there are a segment of Mac users out there that would be interested in something similar from Apple.
Apple isn’t making any profit from its operating systems. Microsoft has reduced the cost of its operating systems in some demographics and hardware as a response to Apple’s free OS. Many Mac owners will happily run their Macs until they give up the ghost.
But wouldn’t it be nice if they had a chance to run Apple’s latest and greatest? Would they pay for such a privilege? I think they would, provided it came with an ungouge-like and reasonable price tag.
Mac users are loyal and Apple has an opportunity to bridge the gap for those Mac owners who aren’t quite ready to purchase a new Mac, but might be more likely to do so when the time comes should Apple demonstrate they appreciate having them as a customer now.