What can I say? I think it worked.

July 28, 1998

Dear Mom & Dad:

Get an iMac. I can’t communicate it any more plainly than that, but if you force me to, I am willing to try Esperanto, mime, or semaphore. You’ve had what I’ll politely term a “marginally successful” relationship with your current and first computer, a Compaq 486 SX, and I can only hope that the trials you’ve endured with that machine haven’t ruined your enthusiasm toward computers in general. If it’s ruined your enthusiasm for Microsoft or Intel, that’s just fine.

I’m sure you’ve already realized that the Microsoft-Intel partnership thinks you should upgrade your computer at least every 18 months. While I’m certain that Apple would be thrilled if you’d maintain that same time line with their machines, the first big iMac advantage is that it’s not close to necessary. When you buy a Mac, you get a machine that will be useful for years to come. Erin and I have three Macs, built in 1988, 1991 and 1995. Each of these remains useful and, perhaps more importantly, fun to use. I have yet to hear a PC owner call his or her machine “fun to use,” and forgive me if I say that your own PC-owning experience falls distinctly in the “not fun to use” category.

Though there’s been too many problems with the machine for me to recall the specifics, I will always remember the time I was troubleshooting your 486 and Mom asked if it could be something related to the FAT, or File Allocation Table. I nearly wet myself in shock, because (1) not only was that a good guess but (2) that indicated Mom had really picked up a lot of impressive yet relatively worthless technical information. To this day I can’t figure out why anyone other than a computer science engineer should need to know anything about a File Allocation Table, but it’s a perfect example of the sorts of hoops that Wintel machines make users jump through. I think you will be amazed how little technical information the iMac requires to operate it successfully.

I’ve told you before how the Macintosh Operating System (MacOS) is vastly superior to Microsoft’s crash-prone Windows 95. It’s also vastly superior to Microsoft’s crash-prone Windows 98, in case there’s any doubt in your mind. The iMac comes with the latest version of the MacOS, and I think you’ll discover as I have that using a computer can be a lot of fun if you’re not fighting it all the time. It should come as welcome news to you that I have never had to reinstall the MacOS for any reason except to upgrade it when a new version comes out. And installing the MacOS is a do-it-yourself, point-and-click style operation. You don’t need to take your machine to Future Shop or Computer City and pay $90 to have somebody else do it. That should be a welcome change.

I know you’re concerned about the money you’ve spent on PC software which won’t run on an iMac. Well, happily, with a program called Virtual PC from Connectix, your software will run on an iMac. In fact, I run PC software on my Macintosh all the time. I did side-by-side speed comparisons when I was using a 486 DX-100, and my G3-based Macintosh beat the 486 on every test. An iMac with Virtual PC would give you a faster PC than the PC you’re now using. And since I’m on the topic of speed, the iMac’s 233-MHz G3 chip is faster running Mac software than the fastest Pentium II-based computer running PC software.

In short, Mom and Dad, if you’re serious about getting a new computer I can’t think of a single reason for you not to buy Apple’s new iMac for $1299. I think you’ll find it’s the coolest machine you’ve ever owned, and since it hits the shelves on August 15, it’d be shame if you didn’t have one by Christmas.

Peace & Love,