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How to Kick the Apple Habit: A 12-Step Program


Feel like a slave to the Apple monkey on your back? Here are some programs and tools that can replace your Apple products.

Apple's innovative products set global industry standards for both consumers and competition. But what if, God forbid, you're sick of Apple (AAPL)? Can you successfully swap out your iPad, iTunes, and iMac for PC products and freeware?

With a little bit of tweaking, you can find reasonable ways to flush the Mac from your system, if that happens to be your bag of fruit. Here's a 12-step program for Apple recovery:

Step 1. Admit that you have become addicted to iTunes
Besides storing your music, podcasts, and videos, iTunes is the primary point of contact for all of your mobile Apple devices. Songbird's iTunes-like interface comes close to the original by letting you sync, manage, share and buy new tunes. MediaMonkey has similar, though more limited, capabilities.

Step 2. Acknowledge that there is a higher power than iMac.
The iMac is basically flatscreen monitor with a CPU inside. The HP TouchSmart All-in-One Desktop PC (HPQ)series features a similar design, plus touchscreen capabilities. Dell's entry-level Inspiron One (DELL) costs about half of an iMac; the Acer Aspire Z5610 All-In-One is also budget-friendly.

Step 3. Make a promise to get yourself off the iPad.
Now that the iPad has mainstreamed tablet computers, everyone else is running to catch up on market share. The selection ranges from oversized smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Dell Streak to more refined options like The Notion Ink Adam (SYMC), Asus Eee, ExoPC Slate, and the ViewSonic ViewPad 100.

Also read: iPad or iFad? History Shows that the Tablet Computer will Remain A Niche Product


Draw up an inventory of all the things you do on your iPod.
It's hard to beat Apple's versatile line of mp3 players, but decent, wallet-friendly alternatives do exist. The SanDisk Sansa (SNDK) line starts at a paltry $30. The Sony X-Series Walkman (SNY) and Zune HD 32 GB Video MP3 Player (MSFT) both attempt to take on the iPod Touch (we'll leave the final verdict up to you).

Step 5. Admit to another person the reasons you HAD to have an iPhone, as if nothing else compared.
Android-based smartphones are catching up with the iPhone. The most promising among them include the powerful Motorola Atrix 4G (MMI), for which you can buy a laptop dock; the keyboard-equipped HTC Evo Shift, and the Samsung Nexus S, which comes with near-field communication (NFC) technology.

Also see: Despite Apple's Delay, Google Forging Ahead With NFC.

Step 6. Become ready to give up your MacBook.
An entry-level MacBook costs $999, but for a couple hundred dollars less, the Toshiba Portege R705 offers many similar features. The Dell XPS 16 and Samsung QX410 also compare, but with a more reasonable price tag. On the higher end, the HP Envy 17 offers more power than a MacBook Pro 15 for a similar price.

THE TOSHIBA PORTEGE: Cheaper than the MacBook, shares many features.

Step 7. Humbly seek a replacement for your MacBook Air
Maxing out at just under three pounds, the bantamweight MacBook Air starts at $999. Sony's X-Series features a more powerful chip, a GPS, and VGA, but you pay more for it. The chubbier Asus UL30A-X5K has good computing power for under $600. The Acer 3810 Timeline is another wallet-friendly alternative.

Step 8. Acknowledge Safari's limitations.
Apple's Safari, while a good browser, doesn't support Flash and has some Mac-only features, limiting its overall appeal. The open-source Mozilla Firefox is completely customizable out of the box, while Google Chrome's (GOOG) clean interface and speed makes for easy browsing. Opera is a very secure browser and runs on almost every system.

Step 9. Ask your settings to remove iMovie and Quicktime.
Windows Movie Maker is the obvious counterpoint to iMovie, but free, open-source Avidemux is just as good. More advanced users might want to check out Final Cut Pro or Final Cut Express-if you can palate more Apple software. Quicktime is Apple's default multimedia program. Aside from Windows Media, many users choose the open-source VLC as a multiplatform media player. NicePlayer is another popular freeware alternative.

Step 10. Apologize to everyone who felt forced to buy a Mac Pro.
For alternatives to Apple's fastest workstation, look for high-end products like Dell's Precision T5400 Workstation, or a Mac-like computer like the PearC, designed to mimic the Mac without the price tag. Alien's custom-built workhorses are another option.

Step 11. Make a direct change to your iWork suite.
iWork offers the word processing, spreadsheets, and the other must-have office applications. While Microsoft Office is the obvious competitor, Google Docs, Corel WordPerfect, StarOffice and Open Office offer alternatives for less wallet stress.

Step 12. Carry the message to other addicts.
Having had a consumer awakening as the result of these steps, resolve to carry this message to other addicts and practice these principles in all tech and media affairs.

Click here to return to "The Mythology of Apple" and our complete list of Apple stories.

Why is Apple so important to us? What's next for the iconic brand? Click here to continue reading from our series on the mythology of Apple. You'll also find a link to our video, "Is Apple a Religion?"

New! The TechStrat Report by Sean Udall. Sean provides in-depth analysis, strategies and trades across the technology sector. Take a FREE 14 day trial.

Lasting through April 15, 100% of the donations made to The Ruby Peck Foundation for Children's Education will be channeled to the children of Japan as they attempt to find their footing following this natural disaster; and to kick off this drive, we'll pledge $5000 to get it started. Please do what you can, as it will add up, and thanks.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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