Systems for Planners: Mac vs PC
Jon Trask is a MAC and Elizabeth Glau is PC and they discuss the systems that they use to get event and meetings work done.
Jon: Welcome back to the podcast. This is Jon Trask with Elizabeth Glau. Hello!
Elizabeth: Thanks! Good to be here!
Jon: We’re going to do a little different topic today. We’ve been doing a couple of things on, our most recent ones, about small businesses. But we’re kind of taking a little bit of a different tact today with sort of the point and counterpoint. And this really still relates to somebody who’s like a meeting planner or a small business/third party type person within our industry, but we just decided to get off a little bit on to the topic of systems, basically.
And so, what we’re looking at particularly is the iOS. The Apple system versus the Android, although there are some other things that have kind of come into the discussion already as we’re putting it together. And really, we thought first we’d sort of establish what we both use and kind of give you a sense of where each of our experiences are coming from. I am pretty much completely in an Apple environment. I use an iPhone, I use an iPad and I use a MacBook for work. So, I’m totally in that iOS ecosystem and I have a good familiarity with that. And that’s sort of how this topic came up, because we were talking about Elizabeth being very much over in the PC and Android part of the world. So why don’t you talk about what you have?
Elizabeth: [Laughs] Right. Exactly. And Jon and I like to tease each other every once in a while about our different devices and experiences we have. So that’s why we thought this would be a good topic today to share with everybody. Just kind of both of our viewpoints on it. So, I have always had – from the first time I had a smartphone, anyway. From the time that I turned in my BlackBerry…
Jon: Right [Laughs].
Elizabeth: Yes. And got a smartphone, I’ve always been a fan of the Android phones. And I don’t remember initially what drove me towards that decision versus getting an iPhone at that point. I knew that I was not an Apple person or a Mac person at home with my laptop and things like that. And so, in my mind, it just didn’t necessarily make sense for me to make that switch at that point.
Elizabeth: So, I’ve just always been an Android person as far as my smartphones. I think I’ve had three of them at this point, and I recently just purchased a Surface Pro to replace the laptop that I have. So now I have a tablet that has a Windows 8 operating system. It’s more of a tablet kind of laptop…
Elizabeth: Yes. Exactly. It’s kind of a tablet and a laptop. But anyway, so now I’m kind of dealing with two different ecosystems really. I mean, they’re very compatible with each other, but not as much as say if I had gotten a Chromebook, for example, to replace my laptop.
Elizabeth: Then I would have totally just stuck with the Google ecosystem with that, but I felt like I needed some of the functionalities that the Surface Pro brought to the table [Laughs].
Jon: [Laughs] And I’ve heard some very good things from folks using the Surface Pro about it. Actually, another meeting planner I was talking to recently was saying how great it was.
Elizabeth: Yeah. Well, and I think it’s not perfect because quite honestly, it is one of the first tools on the market now that are kind of this hybrid between a tablet and a laptop.
Elizabeth: And normally, I’m not the kind of person to go out and buy kind of the first iteration of something like this. I’m kind of the wait and see a little bit. I mean, certainly I’m an early adopter clearly in everything that I do, but I’m kind of usually the second wave person. Like I kind of let the market test things out, and then I kind of let them prove themselves and get all the reviews. But I had just bounced my laptop around enough that I finally damaged the hard drive and I forced myself into the market [Laughs].
Jon: Right [Laughs].
Elizabeth: To upgrade and get some newer technology.
Jon: Oops! I dropped my computer. I need a new one [Laughs].
Elizabeth: Yeah, yeah. But it was interesting, the process that I went through to kind of research the different laptop/tablet hybrids around the market. I mean, there are only really a couple that I could even choose from because it is such a new technology, but I was reading the reviews with open eyes too. There was definitely good things and some drawbacks as well.
Elizabeth: But I kind of knew what I was getting into with getting into a new technology or whatever. Luckily, I knew enough about what I needed to accomplish on a daily basis and with this device. And so, that’s kind of what I was focused on, and I think that’s what Jon and I kind of wanted to talk about with this conversation today, is if you’re in the market for a new device or you’re thinking about Apple versus Android and these kinds of things…
Jon: You’re kind of setting your systems up.
Elizabeth: Yeah. Knowing really what it is that you need to use on a daily basis or could potentially need to use on a daily basis and knowing which ecosystem or hardware or software that you’d be more comfortable with, I guess.
Jon: Right, right. And it’s funny. You were talking about your transition over from some of these things. I was thinking back that the way that I actually ended up on an iPhone was because I bought a Motorola phone and one of the really early smartphones.
Jon: After having a Palm Treo for a while.
Jon: And I found it just to be really bad. I really didn’t like the phone. It was awful!
Jon: And I took it and returned it, and ended up getting an iPhone and absolutely loving it.
Elizabeth: Right [Laughs].
Jon: And so, it kept me going in that direction.
Jon: So it was interesting because there’s a certain ease of use that I found with the iOS systems. And as we sort of get into the back and forth of these…
Jon: [Laughs] One of the kind of advantages is that it’s a very closed system, very tightly controlled by Apple. And so, that has positives and negatives, but the real positive there is that things all work together very well and they’re tested very well. Whereas in the Android world – and I don’t know if this is a problem you’ve had, but there’s a lot more availability of kind of open source things in Android.
Elizabeth: Yeah, I know. What’s funny about that, that is really the main, I think, difference between an Android or the Apple system. And it’s funny because I think different people just think of it as a pro and some people think of it as a con, right?
Jon: Yeah [Laughs].
Elizabeth: It’s really interesting. I’ve heard different people give presentations on this even and they’ll say Apple is great because it’s so tightly controlled and they feel like it’s more secure, right?
Elizabeth: They’re not susceptible to viruses for that reason. But then other people will say Android is better because it is open source and you get potential for lots more apps and all these other kinds of things because it’s easier to develop for them or whatever. So it’s really funny. It is, I think, the main difference between the two, but different people look at it as a good thing or a bad thing.
Jon: [Laughs] Well, I kind of equated it when I was jotting down some notes, I kind of equated it to living in like a planned community because if you go to a planned community, they’re going to sort of dictate what color your garage door can be and whether or not you can have your lawn a certain size and height and all of these things are dictated. So it’s sort of like moving into a planned community. You know that the neighbors are going to maintain a certain standard.
Elizabeth: Right [Laughs].
Jon: So you know that the things that come on to the phone will have been checked and tested and verified.
Jon: And again, that can be a positive or a negative. On the negative side over with the Androids, you can get, as you say, malware, viruses and things like that can creep in and kind of inconsistent products because there’s no quality control. And it’s the same thing with needing help. I found I have some frustration with the Google world, and I work some in the Google world as well, online mostly, but there’s very few options to turn to for help when you have an issue. And in something like an Apple system, you’ve always got like the Genius Bar that you can go kind of land at. And so, yes, the pricing might have a premium to it, but there’s a level of consistency and support and service.
Jon: Uh-hm, uh-hm.
Elizabeth: Microsoft does have a couple of retail outlets, but I will tell you that I’ve already had an experience with that when I was trying to find an adapter for my new Surface Pro for a projector at the last minute because I had accidentally bought the wrong adapter when I bought the thing, which was my fault. Then I was trying to make a call to like the two Microsoft stores that exist in L.A., right? I mean, they’re much fewer clearly than Apple stores that exist. But even just getting through to try to check on inventory for a part or whatever, it was like I had to call several different times even to get an answer. And who knows, if I had just shown up at the store, like the people at the store are friendly enough.
Jon: Right, right.
Elizabeth: I can’t really compare like an Apple store to a Microsoft store as far as walking in and getting help with your devices and things like that. Clearly, Apple has the edge as far as just the number of stores and yeah, just having that, I guess, environment or I don’t know, it’s almost like a culture, right?
Jon: Yeah [Laughs].
Elizabeth: A setup where yeah, they do try to make themselves very available and helpful and stuff. And yeah, if you have like an Android phone, yeah, you could go to a Best Buy or something and try to like ask one of the salespeople there, “Hey, I can’t get this to work.” Like who knows what kind of help that…
Jon: Answer you’ll get [Laughs].
Elizabeth: Yeah. That they’d be able to give you. I mean, of course, lots of those stores have good customer service…
Jon: Sure, sure. Not to throw anybody under the bus.
Elizabeth: But that is not what they specialize in necessarily or it’s not like a set certain products or whatever.
Jon: Yeah. So it’s really interesting because again, I’ve kind of compared some of the costs through the years, having a number of Mac and Apple type products.
Jon: And while the initial buy-in tended to be more expensive, with the backup of service and the length of time that I’ve been able to keep something in service, it’s been pretty good.
Jon: And that’s one of the things about having this sort of closed system too. They update things fairly frequently and there’s a new iOS version coming out next month. It’s supposed to refresh it and add some new features and nobody knows yet exactly what they’ll do. So, again, having that kind of enclosed system, you have a fair certainty that things are going to transition pretty smoothly.
Jon: Not to say there aren’t bumps here and there.
Elizabeth: Yeah, yeah, of course. Although I will say I’ve never had to go ask for help [Laughs].
Elizabeth: As far as my Android phone is concerned. It’s never even occurred to me that there’s no help desk or whatever because I’ve never really…
Jon: Needed it.
Elizabeth: Yeah. I don’t think I’ve run across an issue that something wasn’t working with the phone. Like I can’t even think of like an example of what I necessarily couldn’t figure out or whatever [Laughs].
Jon: And see, I’ve got Siri that I can ask.
Elizabeth: Yeah [Laughs].
Elizabeth: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Jon: I don’t know, a lot of people like it. I find it sort of gimmicky, anyway. I don’t mind typing in what I want to look for rather than asking the phone for it.
Jon: But it’s better than when it started, I think.
Elizabeth: Yeah. And yeah, like anything else, they have to try out these cool new features and stuff.
Jon: Just like Maps. I mean, Apple Maps, I know it had some mistakes, but I think it got a little unduly criticized actually for the quality of.
Elizabeth: [Laughs] That was my favorite criticism. There were some locations existing out in the middle of the ocean or whatever [Laughs].
Jon: Right, right.
Elizabeth: And stuff like that. Whatever. We totally get that these different companies don’t want to work – they don’t play well together because they’re all in it for the same dollars and the same customers and stuff.
Elizabeth: But yeah, I thought it was pretty funny when the iPhone 5 came out and you couldn’t get, right?
Jon: Google Maps.
Elizabeth: Google Maps at first, and now you can.
Jon: The thing about that is to me, the Google thing, while things tend to be more free, the cost is that advertising side of it and that tracking side that people don’t really think about. I mean, with all of these, one of the things we talked about that’s consistent between Windows, Android and iOS is they all require you to kind of log in to their system at some point and you have to have an ID and you can access their features, be it Sky Drive or Google Drive or iCloud through that ID.
Jon: But I don’t feel like I’m getting the same level of advertising and tracking being handed back to me if I’m using Safari for my search and those types of things that I know happens within that Google ecosystem.
Elizabeth: Uh-huh. Yeah.
Jon: And I don’t really know where Microsoft is yet as far as like the Windows 8. I don’t know how much they’re actually tracking or pushing advertising at.
Elizabeth: Well, come to think of it, they had an advertisement online, I think. Like specifically to this point, they’re calling on Google by name and saying, “Google tracks everything you do, so you should use Bing instead.”
Elizabeth: So they’re inferring that they’re not tracking and stuff.
Jon: That they’re not doing it.
Elizabeth: Right. But you know, pffft!
Elizabeth: They can say that and still be doing. Who knows, right? Like if they are or not. But that reminded me of an expression that I heard once. It was something to the effect of “if the product that you’re using is free, that means you’re the product.”
Elizabeth: Right? [Laughs]
Jon: Yeah! Very, very true [Laughs].
Elizabeth: I think in any of these, if you’re not paying for it specifically, then you just have to be…
Jon: Right. There is a cost. There’s always a cost [Laughs].
Elizabeth: Like there’s a cost somewhere and whoever’s providing you that service has to make money somehow.
Elizabeth: One way or another. So I think this kind of business model, you’re just going to see it more and more, whether it’s social sites or search engines or whatever it is.
Elizabeth: No matter which platform that you go with, that’s just the way things are moving, right? The direction they’re going.
Jon: Yeah. I mean, even with the subscription from different companies like Microsoft for software, which we’ve touched on, I’m not sure if it was on the podcast or not, but we certainly discussed that.
Jon: And it is the way the world is headed, so knowing that with any of these products, you’re going to be sort of climbing into their system, I think the takeaway for all of these, to me, is you’ve got to look at them with that eye and look at the future, look at what you think you’re going to need to connect. And yes, it’s probably going to be easier if you’re in an Android system to work with a PC, to work with a Chromebook.
Jon: Those types of pieces are going to work in the same way that my iPod and my iPhone is very seamless working together for me.
Jon: And so, having that awareness when you’re putting this altogether. I’m lucky in the sense of being sort of an independent. I don’t have a huge department of people I have to work with.
Jon: So that takes that whole part of the equation out of having to deal with an IT department and I can pick and choose what system I want to work in.
Elizabeth: Which is why this conversation does work well with the…
Jon: For planners.
Elizabeth: Independent, small business kind of track because if you are making this choice for yourself and you don’t have an IT department to tell you what you have to have. You have to have multiple devices because you have to have one for…
Jon: Right. One for work and…
Elizabeth: Work and one personally. Then yeah.
Jon: And I can’t tell you how many years I held two laptops around and two phones because I had my personal phone and my work phone.
Elizabeth: Which is crazy because they used to be so much heavier than they are today [Laughs].
Jon: Yeah [Laughs]. Which is why I have back problems now [Laughs].
Elizabeth: I mean, it’s huge! I mean, I had my laptop that I just – no, I didn’t get rid of, but whatever, my laptop that I just replaced. It was a big one. It had like a 17 inch screen. It was only a few years old, but it was so much heavier now than my little laptop/tablet hybrid, which only has a 10 inch screen. Clearly, it’s a lot smaller, but it’s so much lighter and I feel like I was like having back problems, lugging that thing.
Elizabeth: That was one good reason to trade it in because I took it everywhere I went. And so, I just needed to streamline in that sense. But yeah, so to Jon’s point, I think really, if you’re in the market for any kind of device, whether it’s a new smartphone or a tablet or a laptop at this point, really just be strategic about what does it need to accomplish. If it is a device that you need to take with you to an event or just on the road or whatever, whatever your case may be, just understand what you need it to do.
Elizabeth: Like take stock of the kinds of apps that you do use or that you think you would. Like do some research. And even if you were say somebody that didn’t have a smartphone and you were shopping for your first smartphone, like know what kinds of things are available to know what you would use even if they’re not things that you’re using now.
Jon: You’re using today, right.
Elizabeth: And really do your homework because if you go shopping, like especially like the people selling the Windows 8 phone, they’ll be like, “Oh yeah, we have all those things!” but their availability of lots of different types of apps is very limited compared to definitely Apple, but certainly the Android systems as well.
Jon: And it’s an interesting thing I’ve noticed on the statistics I pulled up about Android in that there are more Apple apps available. And yet, they’re more profitable because of the closed system again to the developers that work with them. And on the Android side, there are much more hardware selection, right? So it’s like you’ve got more apps and more software availability just from the length of time it’s been around and everything. But on the Android side, because it’s such a wide open system, you actually have a lot more manufacturers who are kind of getting behind it. What is it like? HTC and Sony and Samsung.
Elizabeth: Oh yeah. Yeah, I would say Samsung, HTC. There’s clearly some companies that are leading the market.
Elizabeth: Like half the market share. But yeah, certainly. And it’s the same thing with I would say the tablets and stuff too.
Jon: Yes. Pretty much.
Elizabeth: Now, there’s a lot more companies that are getting into that space, I guess.
Jon: And I think ultimately, it all, as you were just saying, it all is going to come down to doing some research and looking at the way you work. And it’s the same thing I tell people in the iPad classes that I do at some industry events. These tools that I find work great for me, the tools that you have work great for you, and they’re totally different tools.
Elizabeth: Yeah, yeah.
Jon: But we found the things that fit well with the way we work and the information we need to have. And so, “strategic” was a great word that she used. Be strategic about it and look at it if you’re on even just the next step in whatever you’re buying. Even if you’re already on something, that you’re there and this is what you’re using now, but each time you get something, look at how it’s going to fit together with these pieces because this stuff isn’t going away as far as the mobility of things and the need to do all of these.
Elizabeth: Yeah. I was just thinking that it’s almost like it’s a very personal decision [Laughs].
Jon: Yeah [Laughs].
Elizabeth: And yet, I see all the time on message boards and things, people asking for other people’s opinions, right?
Jon: Yes [Laughs].
Elizabeth: Like what kind of tablet should I get or what kind of phone should I get or whatever, and it’s so funny because all the answers on there, you’ll have people like me that will say, “Oh my God! Definitely get an Android!” or “I just got the Surface Pro and I love it!” Then you’d have people like Jon who’ll get on there and are like, “Oh my God! My iPhone is the best! I love it!” But it’s funny because you’ll probably end up with a 50/50 split, right?
Elizabeth: Like half the people will be like, “Oh, go with this. It’s awesome! I love it!” And then the other half, the other way. And so, really, at the end of the day, that does you no good because really, it matters more like know enough to ask the right questions of those people maybe that are giving you a strong opinion.
Jon: Yeah. Why do you recommend it?
Elizabeth: Yeah. Say, “Okay. Well, this is what I need it to do.” Maybe tell me specifically about your maps application or how does Facebook function within that device specifically or whatever. Like whatever you’re using it for.
Jon: Right, right.
Elizabeth: Make sure and see if you can play around with somebody else’s device or one at the store or something.
Jon: Absolutely. Yeah.
Elizabeth: Like demo them as much as you can. Even the, I would say, the iPad Mini came out and it seemed like a great idea because it was a smaller size, but what I found is I think if you’re a man, then the size is great for holding in one hand and being able to operate with another. But for most women, it’s still just barely too big to be able to hold with one hand.
Elizabeth: So again, like you might be hearing other people saying, “Oh my God! It’s a great size because I can use it with one hand!” But you really need to go and like go to a store and hold these devices and play around with them and make sure that it will do that.
Elizabeth: That somebody else said it will do to make sure that it’ll actually work the same way for you.
Jon: Yeah, yeah. No, that’s great. That’s great advice to definitely getting your hands on them, looking at them, trying them out. And again, there’s really no right answer.
Elizabeth: Yeah. Exactly.
Jon: It’s a very personal kind of thing.
Elizabeth: At least we can bring on that, right?
Jon: Yes [Laughs].
Elizabeth: [Laughs] It’s a very personal decision.
Jon: Yes [Laughs].
Elizabeth: We like to tease each other about, so we thought it would be fun to chat about it on the podcast.
Jon: And so, hopefully that’s helpful. We always love your comments, any feedback, but we’ll continue on the series of trying to help people who are particularly small businesses within the industry because there are just so many facets to the things with social media technology that you have to deal with. And so, hopefully you’re finding this useful. We appreciate you listening and we look forward to talking to you next time!
Elizabeth: Thanks, Jon.
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