Asking a bunch of tech heads if they prefer a Mac or PC is like asking a bunch of New Yorkers if they like the Yankees or Mets: You’ll get loud, passionate arguments. I had this “discussion” with my father, a retired entertainment lawyer and professional word twister. Arguing with him is like trying to penetrate a brick wall with a toothpick. He’s smart, patient, and frankly enjoys twisting my words until it sounds like I’m contradicting myself. He also loves PCs. I, on the other hand, love Macs. Luckily in this particular argument I had the upper hand. Knowing I’m a tech geek, he often comes to me for tech support. This may sound childish, but I relish these moments because my answer to every one of his questions is the same: “Dad, get a Mac”.
After years of this he finally agreed (caved in) and bought a Mac laptop. His one condition was I had to teach him how to use it. After months of teaching him, I finally realized that Macs and PCs are just two different paths to the same destination. While the user experience is very different, the capability of either machine is largely the same. It’s like BBQing ribs. Lots of different methods, but all of them result in BBQ’d ribs. Setting aside my personal passion for Macs, let’s explore the real differences between the machines.
BEST TECH SUPPORT
With Macs, both the computer and the operating system are made by the same company: Apple. That’s not the case with PCs; the operating system comes from Microsoft, but unless you’re buying a Microsoft Surface, any one of dozens of companies might make the computer hardware. When your computer goes haywire (and it will), a Mac owner can go to the Apple Store and get tech support. A PC owner might have to make one call to the computer manufacturer who will likely say it’s a problem with the operating system. Then they call Microsoft only to hear it’s problem with the computer. Ugh.
When it comes to popularity, don’t let the Mac Mob fool you. PCs make up over 90 percent of all computers in use and dominate the business world. Macs account for less than 10 percent of computers in use and are most popular in creative fields. Since PCs are more prevalent, there is a larger demand for PC programs, peripherals and hardware than for Macs.
This is a deal breaker for people considering switching from a PC to Mac. Macs are just plain expensive. Macs are only made by Apple. They have no competition in the Mac market, so they can set their own price. With PCs, dozens of companies compete for your business. This makes the price of PCs very low, which attracts customers.
EASE OF USE
This is very subjective and almost all PC users will fight me on this one, but Macs are more intuitive. Since Apple makes both the computer and operating system, there is a fluid connection and ease of use. My wife says she like a Mac because it’s chivalrous and treats her like a lady. It’s simple, intuitive and holds her hand through most functions. (I can already hear the arguments. BRING. IT. ON!)
[You asked–nay, demanded, in ALL CAPS–so I’ll bring it on, Jonathan. “Intuitive” doesn’t really mean much in computers, because computer interfaces must be learned from scratch. They can’t really be intuitive; that’s just a term people toss around. I’d say that in general, Macs and PCs are about equally easy to learn. It just depends upon which one you start with. And under the Mac’s seemingly friendly veneer, they’re just as complex as Windows for many tasks. -ed.]
So far it’s a tie. Two for each team. Now for the tiebreaker — it’s a doozy.
It comes down to one word: Security
Quite simply, Macs are more secure. I’d love to say it has something to do with how well made they are, but the answer is much simpler. Since PCs make up 90 percent of the computer population and are more prevalent in large corporations, a PC virus can have a bigger negative impact and thus is more attractive to hackers. Although not immune to virus attacks, Macs are generally considered safer and more secure simply because hackers don’t bother going after such a small target.
Getting back to my argument with my dad, the security issue sealed the deal. He’s a real old school stickler for security and privacy. I couldn’t help but chuckle when I overheard his best friend ask for some computer advice. Before I could jump in, my dad said, “Get a Mac”.
I’d love to give Apple the credit for my victory, but this was more than just Mac Vs. PC. This was another chapter in the epic verbal jousting of Father Vs. Son. I’ll give Apple the assist, but I’ll take the win.
Image credit: Jonathan Grossman