Last month I had the opportunity to meet many AAII members and CI subscribers at the AAII Investor Conference in Las Vegas. I truly enjoy interacting with members and getting direct feedback. One question that I got over and over was when AAII would start producing a Mac-based version of its fundamental stock screening and research database program, Stock Investor Pro (of which I am project manager). I am forced to disappoint our Mac users by explaining that we have to allocate our finite resources to benefit the greatest number of members, and an overwhelming percentage of our members use Windows.
Although I have used computers for over 30 years, the Mac has never played a large role in my computing life. I grew up in a Commodore household—first a Vic-20 and then a Commodore 64. In high school my family purchased a PowerPC, but I kept the Commodore 64 in my bedroom. When I arrived at college in 1993, the computer labs were filled with Windows 3.1x systems, so I didn’t think twice the following year when I bought a Gateway laptop loaded with Windows. For the nearly 15 years I have been at AAII, the dozens of the systems I have used have all been Windows-based.
Do I have something against Apple? Absolutely not! I love Apple products, as evidenced by the iPod nano I listen to at the gym, the iPod touch I listen to during my commute and when I am traveling, my two iPads, and my new iPhone 4S. All of these products satisfy specific needs that I have, but I cannot say the same about the Mac. Historically, the Mac OS has been more stable and secure than Windows. But with Windows Vista (which received a lot of undeserved negative press, in my opinion) and Windows 7, Microsoft has finally come up with stable and secure operating systems that rival the Mac OS.
In addition, Mac computers carry a price premium over similarly equipped Windows systems (for an example of this, check out my annual PC Buyer’s Guide, available at the Computerized Investing website).
Perhaps most important is the issue of software. As an investor, I use a collection of specialized programs for analysis and tracking, all of which are Windows-based. While readers chastise me for not covering more Mac-based software in CI, there is not a lot out there. This issue’s comparison of technical analysis and charting programs, features a program, Investor/RT, that is unique in that it offers Mac and Windows versions with the exact same features and functionality. TC2000, another of my top picks in the comparison, is now cloud-based, meaning it can be run through a Web browser irrespective of operating system. This is where I envision Stock Investor Pro ending up at some point.
Also, in this issue, Joe Lan reviews iBank, a fully featured personal finance program for the Mac. If you are aware of any quality Mac-based investment analysis and tracking software, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I wish you and yours a happy and safe holiday season and a healthy and prosperous New Year!