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As Apple's coolness factor slips, can Google entice the Mac faithful to switch?

There are reports of Apple's coolness factor slipping and it doesn't surprise me, a Mac fan who wonders if the company hasn't been a bit stale lately.
Written by Sam Diaz, Inactive on

Lately, I've been thinking about my allegiance to Apple. It's been on my mind for a while, but I think reality kicked in when I plopped down my own cash on the Droid Incredible as my new smartphone not quite two weeks ago, giving up - once and for all - on the iPhone coming to Verizon.

I've made no secret of my preference of Mac computers over Windows machines in these blog posts. And I've been tarred-and-feathered by readers here because of that position, called a few choice Mac Fanboy-type names along the way.

But lately, with the announcement of the iPad and the new iPhone OS, as well as the unintended peek at a next-generation iPhone, I'm just not all that impressed with what Apple has been doing. I have to be honest - it feels stale. And then there's the other part of the perception - the corporate behavior of the company.  We're talking things like legal battles with HTC and Gizmodo, a bull-headed position on Flash combined with a childish public spat with Adobe over it and the controversy surrounding its app review process, including its self-appointed role as the moral police.

Lately, it doesn't feel like the same Apple, the cool Apple. It feels like corporate Apple and, if it gets called to Washington to answer allegations of anticompetitive behavior, it could get harder to differentiate Apple from Microsoft.

Ouch.

Earlier this month, YouGov's BrandIndex reported a sharp dip in Apple's brand buzz - it's coolness factor, if you will - during the month of April. It's hard to say that the corporate-centric stories have played a role there but those headlines have seemed to overshadow others. And then there was the Jon Stewart segment, where he called the company "appholes" over the controversy with Gizmodo.

Also see: Tech Republic: Is Apple losing its cool factor with techies?

It's hard to stay cool when Jon Stewart makes you look foolish on his show. Still, I wouldn't be surprised to see the coolness factor recover and gain some points with the next big announcement, perhaps the new iPhone at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

But I don't know if that's enough for me, anymore.

On the mobile front, I'm cool with my Droid Incredible - it works great as a phone, has all the apps I need,  has expandable storage and a pretty good music player, as well, which is making me wonder if my iPod Touch might soon become a hand-me-down. And, unless there's some new killer WOW app for the iPad, I'm pretty much not interested in that device either.

I am very interested, however, in seeing what Google will do with the new Chrome OS, a browser-based operating system that will likely come in the form of a netbook later this year. Google offered a sneak peek at the OS back in November and, since a lot of my data is already stored in the cloud, I started to buy into this whole concept of browser-based computing.

And then it hit me. As much as I've always considered Mac OS X to be superior to Windows, what will I do if Chrome offers a better computing experience than either of the others? I can't help but wonder: will it be enough for me to break my ties with my Mac, the last thing that's allowing me to remain a member of the Mac Fanboy Club?

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