I’ve been to the future. What I saw wasn’t pretty. All these years, I was sure Skynet was going to bring about the death of the human race. But who knew it’d be civil war caused by an age-old conflict: Mac vs. PC?
Citizens of the Internet, you see it every day – Mac and PC users blindly firing shots at each other, back and forth, without end. What’s sad is that many of these people (on both sides – don’t kid yourself) do so without any idea as to the facts behind their own statements. They operate on hearsay, rather than formulating opinions for themselves.
I like to think I have a well-rounded perspective on the issue. As an IT guy who supports and uses both platforms, I know that both have their pros and cons. And my personal preference for Microsoft Windows doesn’t mean I’m going to criticize someone for choosing a Mac. That said, for the sake of educating the naive on both sides, here are my thoughts on Mac vs. PC:
“Macs are so over-priced.”
Yes, I’m starting this off by defending Apple. Ignorant PC users often complain that Macs are over-priced. Really? It’s true that you’ll probably shell out more for a Mac at your local Best Buy than you will for a PC. But have you looked at the hardware you get for that price?
Apple designs their hardware to be beautiful. It appeals to the senses. Smooth curves, aluminium unibody construction, sleek form factors… My sister’s iMac looks and feels awesome as part of the decor in her living room. I pick up a Macbook Pro, and it’s clear to me that it’s built well. I have an iPad, and I can tell you that it is solid. I toss it around all the time without ever worrying about it snapping or cracking. That’s more than what I can say about my notebook.
If these are things you place value on, then you aren’t wasting your money. Most PC manufacturers don’t pay that much attention to those details, and that’s why you pay them less. An exception: You’ll usually pay more for a Sony Vaio; But, well, look at them. They’re beautiful, and they’re built with high-quality materials. You get what you pay for.
“Macs never get viruses.”
People who insist that Macs simply do not get viruses – These are the people who make me laugh. Your Mac not getting a virus is not the result of good security. Here’s the truth of the matter:
For years, PCs have held the vast majority of market share in the computing world. If you’re writing malicious software, and you want to hit as many computers as possible, are you going to write it for a platform that only 1% of computers run on? Of course not.
Here’s a scary thought: With Mac popularity (and with it, market share) skyrocketing, virus programmers are seeing a much tastier target in Apple products. And because, up to now, OS X was left relatively untouched, Apple is facing the enormous task of plugging security holes that were largely ignored for years.
The fact is that Macs can and do fall victim to malware, with more and more viruses being written for them.
I use a PC, yet I never get hit by malware. Your best defense on the internet is, as always, common sense. (See: Discount Pharmaceuticals – Get ‘em While They’re Hot!)
“Everything on my Mac just works.”
Come on, people. Your Macs crash all the time. I see it happen all the time. Some of the most unstable computers I’ve worked with were made by Apple. But you know what? PC users don’t have it any better.
Software is written by imperfect developers who miss things and make mistakes. Windows and OS X are both full of bugs, but they’re getting better. Mac OS X is, for the most part, very stable. Guess what? So is Windows 7.
Some Mac users claim that PC users constantly have to deal with installing drivers. I’ve used Windows 7 since it was released, and I can’t remember the last time a peripheral didn’t just work on its own. Granted, you do run into problems with some devices on Windows, but there are simply so many more available. Mac peripherals are fewer in number, so quality control is easier.
Both platforms have some truly amazing and innovative products. Case in point: Time Machine is a superb backup product. Well done, Apple.
“PCs are real computers. You can’t do real work on a Mac.”
Someone said those words to me last week, verbatim. It’s funny, if you consider that the PC is definitely the dominant platform in the gaming community.
You can be just as productive on a Mac as you can be on a PC. You may do it with different software at times, but there isn’t much you can do on Windows that you can’t on OS X, anymore.
There are things I like about Macs and PCs alike. There are also aspects of both that frustrate me immensely.
To PC users: The next time you’re about to blindly criticize someone for using a Macbook instead of a Dell, think first. Consider that calling them a “fanboy” actually makes you seem strangely obsessive, yourself. So just be cool. To each his/her own.
To Mac users: I understand the appeal of the platform you choose to use. Just remember that your computer is not immune to the viruses you tease PC users about, and no computer is 100% stable, all the time. Still, I have to say that Macbook Pros are sexy. I’d love to buy one and put Windows on it
Kudos to Apple for those funny commercials, but unless you work for their marketing department, this isn’t a war. So if Skynet wants us dead, let’s not make it any easier for it by killing each other over our choice of computers.
This crunchy poast was inspired by a series of tweets by Jeff Broderick. I don’t know him, but he seems like an interesting dude. And he definitely isn’t ignorant or naive. Thanks for the inspiration to write, Mr. Broderick.1 person has commented. What do you think?
What do I do when I’m not racing aquatic creatures competitively, participating in lumberjacking contests or breaking records for maple syrup tapping (all of which are things most Canadians do)? I work at a small IT company serving clients in the Toronto area. Last week, we had an iPad in the office for a few days, and I was able to spend some quality time with it, beyond a mere few minutes here and there on my way through my local Best Buy store.
I have a few thoughts on Apple’s tablet that I’d like to share. However, realizing that the web is already rife with reviews on the iPad, I thought I’d offer my thoughts from a slightly different perspective – that of a so-called “Apple hater.” If you’re a heavy PC user and you’re considering the iPad, you may appreciate some of my insight here.
Le gasp! How can you hate Apple, you weirdo?
People often confuse my preference of a PC over a Mac as hatred for Apple, but this simply isn’t so. True, I love using PC’s, I use the Windows operating system almost exclusively (both at work and at home) and have gone out of my way to avoid iPods when shopping for MP3 players. However, I readily admit that many of Apple’s products are fun to use, built well and have great interfaces.
I don’t subscribe to the “Steve Jobs is god and his products are like magical rainbow unicorn eggs that grant wishes” attitude that I’ve observed in some. But it’s not like I bow before Microsoft, either. What I’m trying to express is that I hold an objective viewpoint towards both PC’s and Macs, despite my personal preferences. Both have their faults, as they both have their strengths.
So the iPad Doesn’t Suck After All – The Pros
I was actually quite impressed with the iPad. It feels solidly constructed, and seems to be just the right size for a tablet. While clearly no replacement for a full notebook computer, it fits a specific role very well – that of a mobile web browsing and email communication device.
Great reading/browsing. The iPad’s operating system is incredibly smooth and fun to use, and its web browser is no different. In fact, I found it easier to read many web sites and blogs on its screen than on any of my other computers. I can’t quite put my finger on what it was that made such a difference, but it was noticeable.
Good email client. The iPad’s email client is likewise easy to use and navigate. I was pleasantly surprised when connecting it to a Microsoft Exchange server with an SSL certificate (an email platform commonly used by businesses). This is something that’s caused me to go Hulk smash on more than a few iPhones, so I was expecting a fight. But it just worked! After all the problems I’ve had with iPhones connecting to Exchange servers, I was one error away from hanging myself. So, thank you, Apple.
On-screen keyboard. The biggest surprise, for me, was the iPad’s on-screen keyboard. I’ll be honest – I was expecting it to be awkward, at best. But when I started typing on it, I found that it allowed me to type almost as fast as I can touch-type on a regular keyboard. What’s more, I could do so with near 100% accuracy. The key spacing felt perfect, and the haptic feedback (it vibrates slightly on a key press) made the typing experience that much better. So yes, the iPad’s keyboard makes me want to kiss a walrus.
Ok, Maybe it Sucks a Little – The Cons
iTunes. I don’t like iTunes, and I don’t like being forced to install it to use an Apple product. But the iPad won’t even start up without being connected to iTunes, first. So I installed it on a notebook I didn’t care as much about. After making me download a 77 MB file and wait to install the software, it failed, and told me I had to reinstall iTunes. Nice. When I finally got it working and connected the iPad, it only needed about ten seconds to do its thing before the tablet was ready to go. Why can’t it be ready to use right out of the box?
Lack of Flash support. Like I said, web browsing on the iPad is really nice. But where’s Flash? Oh yeah, I forgot about Apple’s little feud with Adobe. So if you need to view content on the web that’s built in Flash, forget it; you’re out of luck. This is one thing that makes a Google Android tablet look particularly attractive when compared to the iPad – built-in support for Flash.
No USB ports. One of the first things I do when I pick up a new notebook or netbook is turn it around to see where the USB ports are. So imagine my disappointment when I inspected all four sides of the iPad to find absolutely no USB ports? Ok, even I said that this is no replacement for a full computer. But come on, not even one?
Built-in battery and storage. I really like being able to upgrade the storage in a mobile computer, or at least add more. I don’t want to have to buy a new tablet just because I’ve maxed out its storage capacity. And what about the battery? Rechargeable batteries die eventually and need to be replaced. Why should I have to buy a new iPad when this happens? I’d like to be able to swap out the battery myself, but alas, Apple doesn’t let you do that.
The verdict – Would I buy one?
If I really needed a tablet that did just what the iPad does, I’d consider buying one. There has to be a way around iTunes, right? But what really makes a purchase difficult to justify is the price. The base model starts at $550 CDN. The 64 GB model with 3G connectivity that we had at work last week cost $880. For that price, I could buy two loaded, fully functional netbooks.
With a great email and browsing experience, and an amazing on-screen keyboard, the iPad is a great tablet computer; But considering the level of functionality that Apple withholds from you for the price, I can’t see it being worth your hard-earned pesos. If money is no object to you, and you can stand iTunes, then I’d recommend it. If it were a couple hundred dollars less, I might already have one. But as it stands now, 367 coconuts might give me more value for my money.1 person has commented. What do you think?