Mac or PC, What’s the Difference?
Both Mac computers and PCs have been around for many years, and have been battling with each other for just as long. At one time, PCs were the most popular because most developers would write the best programs for Windows based computers before they would write an app for the Mac operating system. However, over the past few years, things have changed dramatically, and it is almost impossible to find a program on Windows that is not available as an app for a Mac.
When purchasing a new computer, it is important that you know which type of computer, and which operating system is best for your personal needs. Because of this, I have decided to list some of the main differences between PCs and Macs to try to help you with the decision-making process.
Apple has spent many years working on the design of their computer systems, and take great pride on how its products look. They spend a lot of time and money on details, and even the interiors of their systems are well constructed.
On the other hand, PC design depends solely on the company making the system, but they are typically not as nice looking as Macs. Although some of the new laptops are beginning to follow Mac design ideas.
While many developers are making Mac applications as well as Windows programs, there are still many basic programs that are exclusive to Windows. For example, Microsoft Office has a version for both Windows and Macs, but the Windows version has many more features and functionality that it’s Mac cousin. Auto CAD is another example of software that is missing vital components in the Mac version.
In most cases, Mac computers are a lot more costly than Windows systems. A quick search on any website such as Best Buy will show that Macs are much more expensive than similar Windows based PCs. Even in the Ultrabook category, you can find a comparable PC for literally hundreds of dollars less than the MacBook Air. There are also extremely expensive Macbooks such as the Macbook Pro with Retina Display, which begins at more than $2,000.
For hardcore gamers, Windows is usually the best choice. This is because Windows based computers are extremely customizable, and most gamers prefer to be able to tweak their computers to achieve the best performance. For example, many hardcore gamers will add a better graphics card, or more memory to handle games that are power hungry.
Macs are not as easy to customize and generally cannot compete on the gaming side, unless you are willing to spend a large amount of money.
Apple has many retail locations, which make it relatively easy to get support and have repairs done by an Apple certified technician. In most cases, you simply book an appointment, and take your Mac to the local Apple Store. Typically, if the problem can be fixed in one session, there is often no charge.
Microsoft, does have a few retail locations, but nowhere near as many as Apple does, and PC users typically have to send a broken machine into the manufacturer if it is still under warranty, or take it to a repair shop that is not certified by Microsoft.
Ease of Use
While the two operating systems look very different, they are both quite easy to use. However, a Windows user switching from a PC to a Mac will often find the Apple operating system intimidating at first.
Instead of the familiar, Windows based Start menu; Apple has a Finder. This is the place where you can locate all of your documents, applications (programs), and other files. Once a user is familiar with the Apple operating system, they will find that both Windows and Apple are easy to navigate. However, Apple’s OS does have one significant advantage over the Windows OS, and that is that it comes bundled with a suite of apps that many people find useful. These include, iPhoto, Garage Band, Mail, iMovie, and more. Windows does have a few similar, bundled apps, but they are not as good.
Malware and Viruses
There was a time when people believed that Mac computers couldn’t become infected with malware and viruses. This is not the case, and a Mac can become infected as easily as a Windows based computer. At the moment, there are fewer viruses and malware programs that infect Macs simply because there are not as many Mac computers out there and most hackers don’t waste their time writing Malware for Macs.
However, as Macs become more popular, hackers are beginning to target the operating system more, and in April 2012, there was a Mac security threat known as the Lucky Cat attack. This malware took advantage of an exploit in Microsoft Word documents, giving a remote hacker the ability to access infected systems and steal information.
The most-recent operating system from Apple, Mountain Lion, has some added security features that help to keep the operating system safe. However, it is still advisable to have antivirus software installed on both Mac, and Windows based computers. One great applications for Mac computers that includes an antivirus is MacKeeper and of course, there are many others to choose from.
Because there are many companies that manufacture PCs, consumers are given a lot of different options and brands to pick from. All Microsoft does is make the operating system, but it is companies such as Acer, HP, Dell, Lenovo, and many others that actually make the hardware. This gives consumers a wide variety of different features and choices that can fit almost everybody’s preferences and budget.
On the other hand, Apple is the only company that makes Mac computers, and make both the hardware and software. This limits the options and choices, and typically consumers are only given a handful of different choices when buying a Mac.
If you are very technical, it is possible to build your own ‘Hackintosh’, which is a traditional PC that runs the Apple operating system. We will write a guide explaining how to do that in a later article.
For Those Who Want the Best of Both Worlds
For consumers who want to have the ability to use a Mac or a Windows based PC, Macs do have the ability to run Windows, either directly on the system itself, or through a virtual machine. Every Mac has a program built in called Boot Camp. This program allows users to install Windows on the Mac machine. IF necessary, you can also divide space on the hard drive between Mac OS X and Windows so that you can have both operating systems on the same computer.
To Sum it Up
While there are many differences between Macs and PCs, the gap is closing quickly as more programs or apps are made for both operating systems, and more people are choosing to make the move from one type of computer to the other.
Of course, which type of computer you choose is a matter of personal preference. However, I hope that this article has helped make your choice a little easier.