One of the things I find most intriguing, if not often talked about, within the publishing world is the division of labour between Windows and Apple users. From what I’ve heard, the typesetting, production, and design departments fall squarely within the Apple camp. On the other hand, editorial department types tend to be Windows users. These are gross generalizations, but I think they hold true across most creative industries in general – anything involving the manipulation and processing of graphics tends to get done on a Mac, while anything involving office documents and administration is often seen, first and foremost, as a task done on Windows.
Hell, if we wanted to really oversimplify things, we could even say that it’s a left-brain/right-brain divide.
Thus, I was intrigued when I received an email from the EAC about the Apple Expo being held today at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. I’ve been a pretty unwavering Windows user throughout my life, but I’ve been considering switching over to Apple when I upgrade my laptop (which will probably happen next year). What could going to the Expo – for free, even, since I got a coupon code through the EAC – teach me about migrating my documents from one system to another?
Little to nothing, it turns out.
While I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Expo room was not packed to the brim with slavering, white-earbud-sporting Mac cultists, that was the only thing that really struck me as positive about the event. The room was small and the exhibitors showing their wares just seemed like the same manufacturers you could see in an electronics shop (although the products being shown were fairly high-end, in some cases). However, none of the free seminars offered at the seminar explicitly discussed the process of migrating from a PC to a Mac from a beginner’s perspective.
Sure, there were seminars on cloud computing, and iPads, and how to make proper backups, and how to do the latest tricks on Creative Suite 5, and all of that jazz. And yes, there was a seminar on “integrating” Windows with Apple computers, but nothing that addressed the bare-bones idea of “Oh, you wanna switch to a Mac? Here are some things you need to know.”
Considering that this is one of Apple’s key strategies for gaining market share (viz: the “I’m-a-Mac-I’m-a-PC” campaign), this oversight has left me flummoxed. If you’re going to be running a show about Apple products, who is going to attend? People who are curious about Apple products, obviously. And which people are likely to be the most curious about Apple products? People who don’t have any, and want to start learning about them! I know Apple can be considered a very insider-friendly company, but can’t we leave that for the Steve Job love-fest that happens every year when he releases the next iWhatsit?
Perhaps my expectations were far too high for an event that I was able to attend for free. But honestly, I went there expecting to learn more about why I should consider switching to a Mac, and what to keep in mind while doing so. All I got out of it was a free ballpoint pen. Wouldn’t it be normal to feel disappointed?