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.
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).
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.