I have always been an Apple fan, but it seemed fate wanted me to learn Windows. To me, the cost of switching over to Mac and re-buying all of my favorite software was always too big a barrier. Once I had moved my organizational infrastructure to the cloud, I was able to overcome my software struggles and enjoy the benefits of the Apple computing environment.

As someone that has always grown up with Windows computers (formerly known as “IBM Clones”) I’ve always been a little curious about Apple computers, but always found they were out of my price range. Although I learned how to use computers on Mac back in middle school, I didn’t really think much of them until college.

When Apple released the first iPod in 2003 I started to see the value of their simplistic design. I was an early adapter for the iPod and although iTunes for Windows was not great, I pushed through and started digitizing my music library by ripping all of my CD’s to MP3 format to be played on the iPod. As time went on, my library grew and it became my primary music device at home, in the car and anywhere else I had time to put on headphones.

Apple Replaces my Windows Mobile Devices

In 2007 with the release of the iPhone Apple combined my two favorite mobile devices, the iPod and Smartphone. When I converted from my Windows phone to the Apple iPhone I started to realize the true value of a closed computer environment. My previous smart phones including the Tungsten W and HTC Cingular, required me to go to the individual websites of software companies (which were usually pretty scary) to download applications to make my phones do simple functions. More than half of the apps I purchased never worked and using a Smartphone was really a time consuming task. Apple was able to change all of that with the iTunes App store and suddenly I had some level of faith that the apps I was purchasing had at least been reviewed or tested by someone!

At this I was working in the finance business and most of my computer usage focused around using MS Office. Since Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint were the industry standard, I had to stay with a Windows machine to effectively communicate with my colleagues and clients. Using an Apple computer in the financial industry was going to require me to re-buy all of the software I was using for the Mac platform and when you added the cost of the hardware, it was just too expensive of an endeavor to make the switch.

Moving to the Cloud

When I founded Branding Arc in 2011 my goal was to build an organization based around secure cloud tools to replace the standard applications I had been using for so long. Now that my focus was on the creativity and not finance I saw an opportunity to create a more flexible organization. My first change was to move to the Google Apps email and a cloud storage system from the MS Outlook software I had become so familiar with over the years. Using Google Apps replaced my need to have MS Office on my computer. Browser based Gmail replaced my clunky MS Outlook and Google Drive was able to replace MS Word, MS Excel and MS PowerPoint giving me very similar tools in a browser based environment. Read more about moving your email to the cloud.

Our next move was to swap out our old Quickbooks software for the new Quickbooks online. Changing our accounting software to the cloud removed another obstacle for us to move to the cloud and added another layer of flexibility to our organization. Using Quickbooks online allows us to access our important accounting information from a smart phone, tablet or any computer with an internet connection. Now we can create and send invoices to our clients while I am on-site. Learn more about Quickbooks Online.

Adobe Creative Cloud was the Tipping Point

As a professional marketer Adobe Creative Suite has been an integral part of my daily activities. The high cost of replacing my Adobe Creative Suite for the Mac platform was one of my major concerns. When Adobe released their new Creative Cloud service in 2012 it gave me the ability to download 2 copies of the software under my user license, one for my desktop and one for my laptop. But, for the first time I could download one copy for each platform. This was the tipping point. Learn more about Adobe Creative Cloud.

Replacing this software on the Mac platform previously cost over $3,500 and removing this barrier all of a sudden made switching to Mac a real possibility. When the opportunity to acquire a new laptop came along I decided to make the leap and start the move to Mac. I made the purchase a few hours before taking a last minute trip and had about 2 hours to get my new computer ready for me to work from the road. I was nervous at first, but pleasantly surprised with the results.

My First Mac Experience

I had a lot of work to complete while traveling and using the Mac was a little intimidating at first but once I started to understand the hand motions for the trackpad, things moved along quickly. I was impressed with the ability to have multiple desktops and being able to move between them quickly. Within a few hours I was hooked and my last minute trip turned into an incredibly productive time.

I began exploring some of the applications available through the Mac App Store including Pages, Numbers, Presentation, iMove, and Garage Band and really loved how easy it was to figure out how to use each application. I had never used the software before, but I was able to make movies with audio clips from Garage Band withing just a few hours.

When I returned home I was very excited to start using a Mac and it quickly because a big part of my daily activities. Although my primary computer is still Windows based, my Macbook is never far away and always ready to pick up the slack while Windows is “thinking” or rebooting. I rarely experience issues with my Mac and feel that I am finally being freed from the frustrations of using Windows.

I am looking forward to completing the move to Mac over the next few years as my existing systems begin to become outdated. It is hard to justify replacing the Windows machines already in place, but I look forward to using a MacPro system in the future.