Pocket Scrapbooking with Project Life

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mac vs. pc

If you know me at all, you know I love talking about tech! Mobile device tech, social media tech, super-advanced tech and even traditional tech. In this case, I’m referring to the good old fashioned laptop and desktop. The “trucks” (as Steve Jobs referred to them as) that we all own and use all the time. Despite the proliferation of mobile devices, wearables and the like, there is certainly still a place for them in our society. So the question is this . . . Mac or PC? Well, since you asked…

Before I get into the bits and bytes of it, let me explain a little about my background to give you some context. When I was but a young lad, my parents had an Apple IIe desktop computer (you know, the one with the green monochrome screen and the dual 5 1/4” floppy disk drives). About the only thing I remember using that for was playing Wheel of Fortune and Swashbuckler (and it was awesome!).

Shortly after that, my parents switched to a PC. No, it wasn’t because Windows was superior or really for any specific reason other than they had a friend who started building PC clones and sold one to them. That was that for a while . . . we were now a Windows family using Windows 3.11 for Workgroups.

Fast forward a number of years and I find myself super-excited at the CompUSA (remember them?) launch party for Windows 98. It was a huge leap forward in personal computing. A year or two later, my wife and I took a personal trip to Seattle where I was determined that I wanted to move there and work for Bill Gates. Yeah, I was that serious.

As it turns out, I’m glad that plan didn’t play out. In 2002, I bought my very first Apple PowerBook laptop (I spent a fair amount of time doing research, and Apple’s Mac OS X was definitely on my radar as a viable alternative to Windows). The intent was to use it side-by-side with my Dell Latitude to see how it compared. Two days later, I found myself migrating all my data to the PowerBook and giving my Latitude to someone else. I instantly fell in love with it.

Today, my primary laptop is a MacBook Pro. I use it every day. I also use Windows 7 and Windows 10 (as well as various flavors of Windows Server) every day. This is important to know as we go through the rest of this post. My opinions are my opinions (based on experience and technical understanding), and my goal is to help you form your own.

When people ask me what they should buy (Mac or PC), I answer their question with a series of my own “find out” questions. Since we don’t have that luxury for this post, it makes this very much a one-sided conversation, but please post your thoughts and comments (and even questions) below! Let’s make this interactive!


We’re all trying to be money-sensitive, so let’s start by talking about cost. I’ll be the first to admit that Macs are not the cheapest computers on the market. You can certainly walk into your local Best Buy or Costco and walk out with a $500 PC. Is that a smart investment? I highly doubt it. Keep in mind, you get what you pay for, and this is especially true with technology. The mistake that most people make is comparing apples and oranges (no pun intended). You simply can’t compare a $500 PC to a $2,500 iMac and consider them to both be the same computer. If that were true, you should of course save $2,000, but it just isn’t the case. Remember — buying a computer is an investment. The more you spend, the better quality you will get in return (this is just common sense) and the longer it will last you.

Another thing to keep in mind is total cost of ownership (TCO). The true TCO of a computer is much more than the computer itself. You also need to account for software that you will need to purchase, warranty coverage, frustrations with downtime, etc. The TCO can often be difficult to truly calculate, but keep all of that in mind as you’re doing your research.

Safety and Security

This is a very hot topic right now with the news spinning in response to the WannaCry ransomware going around. To date, it has cost businesses billions of dollars globally and completely shut down 16 hospitals in the UK. Not only does this affect big business, but it also affects home users. Nearly 100% of the viruses, trojans, malware, ransomware, etc. targets Windows users. This is true for two reasons: 1) Windows has a larger install-base, therefore virus authors are guaranteed to make more money and 2) in many ways, Windows is more susceptible to these attacks. Before Mac-haters get too upset, please don’t get me wrong — Mac is not 100% immune to these attacks. There was a small attack just a few weeks ago that infected a few dozen Macs, and there have been at least 3 other proof-of-concept viruses identified that almost infected someone. Ok, that was a little tongue-in-cheek, sorry. The truth is, Macs are far less prone to being infected. Personally, I don’t run antivirus software on any of my Macs, and most of my clients don’t either. It’s just not necessary like it is on a PC. I’ve never once run into a case where a Mac has been infected with a virus.


No, we’re not talking about yoga here. We’re talking about what we can use our computers for. I use mine for productivity work (iWork/Office), photo management and editing, video editing, audio/movie consumption, network analysis, remote support, etc. The list goes on and on. I mentioned earlier that I use Windows 7 and Windows 10 every single day. I use them on my Mac. You see, a Mac (with the help of some virtualization software called VMWare Fusion) allows me to run many other Operating Systems on the same computer. Windows, Linux, UNIX, DOS . . . even virtual machines running OS X or macOS. I can run virtually any type of computer right here on my MacBook Pro. In fact, I can run multiple at the same time, which is great for testing network apps, etc. While you can run other OSes on a PC, you can’t run macOS. So to that point, a Mac allows you to be more flexible.

Earlier, when I described the TCO of Mac vs. PC, I mentioned that you need to consider the cost of applications that would need to be purchased after the fact. With every Mac, you get Photos (awesome photo management app), iMovie (great video editing app), Pages (word processing app), Numbers (spreadsheet app), Keynote (presentation app) and so much more . . . right out of the box at a cost of $0. That, to me, is the ultimate in flexibility.

Ecosystem Integration

I admit it. Walking through my house is like walking through an Apple Store. I have at least one of everything they sell. This is in part because it’s my responsibility to keep up on technology advances to help you understand what is available but also because it’s amazing to see just how well their devices sync between each other. With iCloud Photo Library, for example, I simply take a picture on my iPhone 7 Plus, and with zero effort on my part, that picture appears on all my other devices within about 10 seconds of it being taken. I can edit that picture in Photos on my MacBook Pro, and the edits automatically appear on my iPhone and iPad. Not only that, but if I have chosen to share that photo with family or friends with a single tap, they can view and make comments on that photo. I’m then alerted of those new comments on my Apple Watch as I am on a run around town, listening to music on my AirPods (wireless earbuds). With the help of Siri, I can respond to a text message without missing a beat, and that message appears instantaneously on all my other devices. It all just works really well together.

I look at Apple’s hardware as the bricks of a building, and Apple’s iCloud services as the mortar that holds it all in place. Together, they create this amazing ecosystem that no other company can replicate, not even Amazon, Google, or Facebook. To me, this is the biggest advantage of using Apple products. It allows you access to the biggest, best, and safest App Store experience there is (and let’s be honest, Mac developers tend to be a little more passionate and pay closer attention to the details than Windows developers).

Final Thoughts

I could spend another 20 pages talking about the differences between Mac and PC, but I won’t bore you. While it may seem that no good can come from using a PC, that simply isn’t true! There have been many, many cases where I recommend a PC over a Mac, but as good as Windows on a PC is, I believe that for most, Mac can take you to the next level in computing happiness. At the end of the day, we have options, and how cool is that?!

Just for kicks and giggles, I wanted to take a walk back down Memory Lane. These are a series of Mac vs. PC commercials that Apple made to convince the public that their computers were superior. You have to admit, they were hilarious and genius because they struck a cord with all of us in one way or another.



7 Responses

  1. Sonya says:

    I use mac at home and work (school). I would have never thought I’d be a mac user until I had one at work. I’ve never had a PC at the age of my macbook function as well as my MacBook. I do have issues with it being slow because the memory is full, but otherwise it’s much less “glitchy” than every other PC I’ve had. It is defintely worth the expense. The school district I work for uses Apple products. While the cost is greater, our products will have a longer shelf life than schools that went with ChromBooks. My boss’s son has already gone through 3 Chromebooks in a single year in a different district and that’s not from damage. Mac does have a different learning curve, but I could never go back to PC only. I do use one at work for our library software, but otherwise by MacBook is the bomb!

  2. Toni says:

    1st let me say that my husband is very much a PC user and doesn’t want a mac AT ALL! I on the other hand don’t have strong feelings on the subject. I just want things to work well, and he keeps things going without any problems. I have been interested in switching to an iphone versus my android, but was worried about compatibility issues. Then I spoke to my audiologist (I’m severally hearing impaired) and she said that there isn’t a blue tooth device that connects to a strong enough hearing aid for my needs that operates with apple. The hearing aids and device I currently use connect to my android phone, and my laptop (PC). That was a deal breaker for me. There is much I like about what apple offers, however when it comes right down too it, I need to hear. Since apples products tend to last longer and have fewer problems I would like to have made the switch, but they won’t connect with my device. Apple doesn’t seem to be as flexible when it comes to connecting with other technology.

    In fairness I should add that if I didn’t need extremely powerful hearing aids, this wouldn’t be a problem. It’s just a problem because of my degree of hearing loss.

  3. Susan C says:

    I’m the system administrator for a large primary school, while we have traditionally been a PC ‘shop’ we are now migrating towards Macs. That said, we still have a fair number of PCs on our network. Reimaging from Windows 7 to Windows 10 was interesting, we’ve been able to get at least another 12 months probably longer, on older PC hardware. There is a lot which is ‘right’ about Windows 10. We skipped Windows 8.

    For the record I have a PC at home, a PC as my primary work computer, and a MacBook Air plus a new MacBook Pro – both of which reflect the hardware in use at my school. I also have an iPhone and iPad and I admit will continue to use both as long as Apple does not price them out of the market.

    From a malware point of view I’m cleaning more off our student Macs, perhaps because since these kids are allowed to bring their computers home, then tend to get more adventurous with what they download and what they accept with regard to popups – despite trying to educate them not to. Fingers crossed, I have not had to remove malware from our student PCs – although because of the school program they are under, they are not allowed to bring them home. OK while the malware from the Macs have not been in the Wannacry league, they do impact on the kids use of their computers and as a result their learning until I can clean it off and reset things.

    I agree you can’t compare a $500 PC with a $2500 Mac but when selecting a new computer for home I compared the specs and ended up paying at least $500 less for a PC with the same grunt as an equivalent Mac. I did consider migrating over to Mac but using the Total Cost of Ownership principles I looked at what I currently used on an about to be superseded PC and what the cost of replacing that software with the Mac equivalent, plus the reality that I had some specialist software which did not have a Mac version.

    Much prefer the Microsoft Office suite for productivity, the latest version combined with OneDrive (both Business for work and Home for home) provides me with seamless access to both work and home files from both venues. OneDrive for home is free (with a standard Microsoft account – free) so I am not paying extra for additional iCloud storage beyond the standard 5 Gb. Obviously my OneDrive Business is part of the work package.

    As for sharing of data, contacts, calendar etc between my iPhone, iPad and my PC – still can be done with the iCloud app for Windows. I’ve even been able get my favourites between my home PC and my work PC as well as both my work Macbooks to sync. Since I have a NAS at home I use the Cloud app to automatically backup my photos.

    A slight word of caution to anyone looking at buying the new MacBook Pro. Apple in their wisdom removed the lightning and ‘standard’ USB ports replacing them with the much smaller USB-C ports. While the rest of the computing world is dipping its toe into USB-C there are very few devices which solely use USB or even cables which allow backward compatibility for USB/lightning so you will need to factor in adapters if you want to connect to a cabled printer, external storage, or second monitor etc.

    My 2 cents worth as an Mac/PC bi-linguist.

  4. Claire says:

    Love this post! Ironically, I JUST bought my first Mac Book Pro this week! This post just confirms that I’m happy with my choice. Not to mention, I’ve spoken with Kevin at the Scrapbook Expo when he was there with Becky and learned a lot!

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge!!

  5. Ronda says:

    Kevin – I moved to Mac about 7 years ago, and I will not go back to a PC. I love my Mac Book Pro. Question: I recently bought the new Mac Book Pro and for some reason my photos from my IPhone don’t show up on my Mac Book Pro until I plug my phone in and download the photos. I check my icloud and it is working (the photos go to my I pad). What do I need to do to make sure my photos show up on my Mac. (P.S. I met you in Salt Lake at the Pinners conference in 2015!)

  6. Randi says:

    I wish I’d had the same great experience with my iMac (my first Apple computer) as others have. I switched primarily b/c of my PCs being very prone to viruses and experiencing the impact on speed and usability over the years. While I’ve come to appreciate the integration of my iPhone with my iMac, it wasn’t the reason I switched. The switch to the iMac was not seamless and the learning curve is steep for some things. When my ‘stuff’ was transferred from my PC to my iMac, much of the metadata for my photos was lost for thousands of my photos (key words, captioning) (so while that may not specifically be Apple’s fault, switching over to Mac isn’t necessarily the smoothest experience either as they promote)…my iPhotos would crash unexpectedly and still does…lots and lots of swirling beach balls no matter what application I’m using. Not all the time, but definitely a consistent problem. I’ve had the top genius guy at the local Apple store check my computer and he’s stumped. Says everything is fine. Well clearly it’s not. He also wasn’t that nice. I’ve had mixed experience with staff at the Apple store and phone support. Some have been extremely friendly and knowledgable and supportive, especially since my Mac experience hasn’t been so great. Others have been less than customer friendly. Even one of the one-on-one staff was condescending during my training session because I hadn’t drunk the Apple Kool-Aid. Not sure what the future holds. But I’d now be worried about transferring my ‘stuff’ back to PC for fear that more stuff would be lost in the process… and hope that any future Apple desktop isn’t quite the lemon that I got. Ultimately, I don’t really see much difference between Mac and PCs in terms of using it for internet, photos, documents and organization. Many of the steps on a Mac are not intuitive at all, just like a PC. Just another perspective. :) Thanks for “listening”!