Macs have a significant following in the marketplace. What's the big difference?
At a company far away, in a decade of single digits, I used a MacBook Pro for work. It was an upgrade from my older industrial class Dell laptop which had easily doubled as a doorstop. My last company lent me a very fine new Alienware laptop with excellent specifications. Now, as I start with a new company, I find myself back on a MacBook Pro after a several year hiatus.
There are many, many, many comparisons of Macs vs PCs on the Internet. There were even a series of commercials that had actors proclaiming, "Hi, I'm a Mac. And, I'm a PC". I think those commercials pointed out the biggest difference in that statement. No one walks around saying, "I'm a PC".
Mac owners however, generally seem to identify with the computer they have chosen. It's like there's an illusion of belonging to an elite club. That being said, it is very shiny!
Solid top piece machined out of a single piece of aluminum, 17 inch screen, quad core i7 processor and eight gigs of RAM under the hood, all tied together with a blazing fast 500 gigabyte solid-state hard drive. Computing wise, I'm in a happy place.
Am I happier than I was with my matte black, rubberized finish Alienware with essentially the same specifications? Well, no.
Yes, this computer boots up much faster than my other. However, that other would boot up fast with a solid state drive also.
What I'm saying is, it's not about the brand, unless it is. That is, if you want a Mac, and can afford the sometimes significantly higher price for a laptop with the same specifications you can get for around thirty per cent cheaper in a PC, buy it.
Personal style and reason for purchase play a big part in which machine is better suited for you. Macs have long been popular with graphic designers because by default they are optimized to look fantastic. There are some proprietary programs that run only on a Mac as well, such as iMovie, iPhoto, etc. that have their cool features.
If you are buying a machine to play games on, PCs are still the platforms of choice. Many games are still written to run on a PC only. Of course, you can install Windows on your Mac, but that's more than the average user wants to do.
I considered writing a list of shortcuts and cool applications for my new Mac, but so far I haven't had to install anything special to do my work. I bought an adapter so my generic second monitor could be plugged into the Mac but that's all.
Instead, I thought I would put to rest a couple of the more popular rumours around Macs vs PCs.
No. 1: Mac computers are more secure.
Whether you believe this or not, Macs are NOT immune to viruses and malware. Some say the underlying Mac OS is more secure than Windows. Others feel Macs get less attacks because there are less Macs in use. Either way, protect your gear. It's not worth it.
No. 2: Fully discharge your battery after each charge.
This oldie relates to any computer. The old style nickel cadmium batteries suffered if you charged them from partially charged all the time. New lithium based batteries do not have this issue.
No. 3: Macs and PCs are incompatible.
Just not true. I have several Apple and Windows machines on my home network and I file share and run programs from one to the next with next to no issues. If you have Google Mail or Office for Mac, it's clear sailing.
No. 4: Macs are easier to use.
This one really depends on the end user. If you are, like 90 per cent of the world's computing population, familiar with a PC than a Mac is going to throw a few surprises at you. Little things like there only being one mouse button (no single button right click?) and the window minimize, close and maximize buttons being on the top left. But if you are scouting out your first machine, it may be that Macs are easier to learn as a first computer.
Just a final note on my general experience with Macs and PCs. One thing I love about a Mac is that there is a complete lack of bloatware. That is, unnecessary software, I didn't ask for, likely in a trial version pre-installed on my laptop. HP, Dell all the other big players are guilty of this.
Leave a comment with your personal preference and why if you like. I won't focus a lot of articles on the Mac unless I hear there's an audience for it. Happy computing!
Jon Reid is an IT professional working in Corner Brook. His column appears every other Tuesday in The Western Star.