With the growth in popularity of the iPhone, there’s a lot of questions about how suitable it is as a business tool. That question alone has once again raised the issue of how suitable Apple is in the Enterprise in general. Most IT departments are not deploying Macintosh systems in large numbers and those that are are deploying are usually in niche spaces such as graphic arts, multimedia and publishing. The truth is that Mac OS has changed quite a bit in the last few years and today’s Apple systems offer a reasonable alternative for Windows systems for many mainstream uses OS X Leopard is rock solid UNIX at the core with Apple’s elegant user interface on top. Once again, I’ll address the three biggest myths that still surround Apple and the platform.
The first myth is that Apple’s computers are expensive relative to their PC cousins. While Apple is certainly not a discount brand and will almost never be the cheapest computers that can be purchased, they are certainly price competitive with most PCs coming from tier one vendors. While we can debate the specifics of pound to pound pricing, there’s really not much of an “Apple tax” these days. Yes, there’s some premium for both the Apple brand and the innovation that goes into Apple’s often hardware and software designs, the premium is not out of line with that users already pay for name brand systems from vendors such as Sony, HP or Lenovo. In many cases, comparable Apple systems are priced similarly or in some cases are even cheaper than their competition. And yes, sometimes they will cost a little more.
The second myth is that there is a lack of software available. While OS X does not offer the same sheer number of titles that Windows offers, there is an abundance of business software for Macintosh. In some markets, such as content creation, there is actually more software available for the Mac. In addition, Microsoft offers a complete and compatible version of Office for the Macintosh so knowledge workers can easily share documents and communicate with colleagues across platforms. Apple’s support of web based Internet standards mean that most Internet base applications will simply run without modification. While there might be a specific application lacking that can hold back some deployments, most organizations might never hit that wall.
The third myth is that Apple architectures are based on proprietary protocols. While that was certainly true in the past, it is not an accurate portrayal of Apple today. Today, Apple is one of the most standards driven operating systems you can purchase. From MPEG 4 support in Quicktime to full TCP/IP support for networking and WiFi protocols for wireless access. (Apple was actually the first OS vendor to bundle TCP/IP support into a commercial operating system).
Apple systems can be a seamless fit for many organizations. Time to get over the myths and take a closer look.