This topic has been something that has bothered me for a very long time, mainly due to inaccurate comparisons. I’ve been building and working on PCs for about 25 years now. I’ve got an engineering background and I worked in the computer industry as well working with companies such as Intel, AMD, nVidia, Microsoft and so forth. Every time I saw those Mac vs PC commercials years ago and hear people compare the two, I just want to lecture them that they are not accurately comparing them.
Hardware comparisons is my number one issue. Back when the Mac vs PC commercials were airing, people were comparing a $2K+ Mac against a sub $1k PC. More often than not, it was a $500 PC they were comparing the $2k Macs to.
How does this make sense? You’re not comparing apples to apples here. It’s almost like comparing a BMW 5 series to a base model Honda Civic. No offence to Civics here but I’m just highlighting how you can’t do an objective comparison like this. Using cars as an analogy still, it would be better to compare the BMW 5 series to the Mercedes E class. Then you have your apples to apples comparison.
Going back to computer hardware, when the processors on Macs only started at the mid-range, how can you compare it against a PC that’s running a low end Atom processor? And this is just one component of the whole.
Apple designs great products. I’m a PC guy but I give it to Apple that they do design great products and that’s mainly because they are very particular about every piece down to each component. To put it this way, they don’t do low end crap. On the other side, with PCs, you have companies like Dell, HP, Compaq and so forth selling tons of low-end crap that gives the user a bad experience.
Why does PC companies offer low end crap systems? It’s all about numbers. Even though your profit margin is smaller on the low end, when you put it in numbers that you sold millions of systems, that’s what counts. If you offer only mid-range or higher systems like Apple, then you won’t sell as many even though your profit margin per system may be better.
Also, when it comes to manufacturing, the more systems you sell, the lower the cost per system it is. So, for PC manufacturers, it’s all about selling more even though its lower profit margin and low end crap.
Another argument as part of the old Mac vs PC commercials was that PCs have a virus issue and Macs don’t. For the most part, that was true, but not for the reasons most people thought.
Computer viruses are man-made. They are not like biological viruses that came about for some reason or other. Computer viruses are the result of hackers and such and created for various reasons. Reasons include to create havoc and cause damage by deleting and corrupting your OS so you lose data. Other reasons include viruses to steal your information.
Lately, ransom ware has gotten popular as a way for these hackers to make money off of you. They lock out your PC and demand you pay them and then they’ll unlock your PC.
Computer viruses are computer applications and with computer applications, you have to code them for the platform you’re targeting. An analogy would be that viruses that affect humans don’t affect other biological life unless they mutate. So, if the hacker created a virus to target PCs, they would have to modify it or code it from the ground up again to target other platforms such as Macs.
So, if you wanted to create a virus to target the most amount of people, which platform would you target? The PC, of course. Based on an IDC report from the first quarter of 2016, Mac market share reach its highest point at 7.4%. If you think about that, the PC market share is over 90%! So why would virus creators target Macs instead of PCs? This is why Macs didn’t have much of a virus issue!
During the Mac vs PC ad campaign put forth by Apple, which ran from 2006 to 2009, more viruses actually started to hit Macs. I guess some of the virus creators thought it would be great to prove them wrong. Who knows?
What I do know is that for a long time, Apple told its customers that they don’t need antivirus software. During this ad campaign run, they removed those statements. Norton antivirus launched a version for Macs in late 2007. In November of 2008, McAfee announced their first antivirus for Macs. How’s that for coincidence?
No platform is safe now, not even your smartphones.
Operating System – User Experience Differences
In regards to the Operating System (OS) and the user interface, it all comes to personal preference. There is not a “Best” OS in my opinion.
Apple likes to design things and make it intuitive to use or it takes care of certain tasks for you thinking it’s the best and only way to handle it. While on the PC side, things don’t “automatically” happen and you have many options to do it the way you want to do it. I guess this is a good way to generalize the differences.
A decent example could be how I organize my music files on the PC versus how iTunes “organizes” it. On my PC, I have all my music organized in separate folders under a main music folder. I also have audiotapes that I listen to and those are organized in folders within folders and so forth. Let’s just say it’s organized and I’m happy with it.
As soon as I import all audio files into iTunes, it puts ALL audio files in one large library. Why not keep my folder structure within iTunes??? Apparently Apple believes they know best how to organize your files so you’re forced to use their method, which is to have all your audio files in one large directory. After that, you have limited options to organize your library.
If you want to separate your audio files out like how I had in folders, I would have to create playlists. I already had it all organized in folders, now I have to do it all over again and do it how Apple think’s it should be done???
I have Asian music files and iTunes didn’t know what to do with those Chinese characters and just changed all the text to square boxes. I had no idea which song was which unless I played it and then manually renamed it in iTunes when the file already had the correct name. Why?
My audiotapes are split into multiple files for each session and each session in separate folders. In each folder, they had sequence numbers and so they would play in the correct sequence using Windows applications. Once these got into iTunes, the sequence all changed and again, I would have to rename and fix everything. Again, why did I need to do this when it was already organized by filename and folders?
There are plenty of people who do like how iTunes and Mac OS works and this is all personal preference. I’m a power user and I like having options where I can choose how to organize and do things my way. I didn’t like how Apple designs the user interface and lock you in to how they think you should use it.
This is one of the main reasons the world runs on PC and the Mac market share is less than 10%. The world does not want to be limited to what Apple thinks how it should work.
Mac vs PC: My Ending Thoughts
This is not a blogpost to say that the PC is better. This was to put it out there that if you want to make comparisons, do it correctly. Compare a mid-range Mac to a mid-range PC. Don’t compare a $2k Mac to a $500 PC. Don’t compare a $700 MacBook Air to a $300 Asus.
Microsoft did the correct thing when they started their hardware division. Their tablets and laptops are comparable to Macs now. Microsoft isn’t putting systems out there to be the low price leader. They are putting quality systems out there. There is no low-end crap from Microsoft.
I’ve lost confidence in all the other PC manufacturers and system builders, which is why I’ve always built my own PC. I’ve worked for a boutique system builder and I wouldn’t want to own a system built by them.
Outside of hardware differences, the rest is the user interface from the OS and that’s personal preference. As mentioned earlier, over 90% of the world runs on the PC and being on the PC allows you to be more compatible if you need to share anything with others. Being on a PC allows you many options to do the same task.
If you don’t care about things like this, then it’s up to you to choose either Mac or PC. But don’t discount the PC because you heard “things” that the PC is worse than the Mac. Do your own research. Do an accurate comparison.