Is a Mac or a Windows Computer Best for Me?

March 2, 2016 The TNS Group

A Mac versus a Windows personal computer has been a debate that has existed since the mid 80’s. The truth of the matter is that the right choice is really a function of the kind of user you are, your business needs and simple preference.  Below I have defined the differences between Apple and Windows and have provided some clear cut facts and observations.  Your Managed Services Provider can also provide further insight.

Definitions

Apple

  • Mac is the HARDWARE (the physical computer or laptop)
  • OS X is the SOFTWARE (operating system)

Note:  Most Macs run OS X so there is a presumption when one says “Mac” they mean the set of the two. Mac hardware however is capable of running Windows

Microsoft 

  • Windows is the SOFTWARE (operating system)
  • PC/Laptop – Generally refers to both the Microsoft Windows and the physical computer or laptop regardless of the manufacturer (i.e. Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer, etc.)
  • In the past referred to as the “Wintel” platform as a function of Windows and the Intel processor. (Note: the current Apple hardware also uses the Intel processor but Wintel is not applicable here obviously)

The Facts

Apple
Apple has always been known for manufacturing their own hardware and for always writing their own operating system software. The current operating system software is OS X, which was based on a Debian Unix release that Apple privatized and evolved in the late 1990’s

Microsoft
Up until the release of the “Surface” tablet platform, it never manufactured the hardware for Windows. Most Windows computers, regardless of form factor, are still manufactured by other companies.

Like Apple, Microsoft has always written their own operating system, amongst other software. The Windows operating system tracks:

  1. Consumer track (c.1988-2000) which includes the following major versions: Windows 286, 386, 3.0, 3.1, 95, 98 and Millennium Edition
  2. Commercial business track (c.1993-2000) which includes: Windows NT 3.0, 3.5, 3.51, 4.0, 2000
  3. Combined track for both consumer and commercial Windows (c. 2001-today): XP, 7, Vista, 8, 8.1 and the latest version 10

My Observations

Viruses
While platforms are capable of being infected, Apple is statistically less impacted and is more resilient to attacks, while Windows is statistically more impacted. Hypothetically if Apple has 100 units in the world and Microsoft has 1000 units and both were hypothetically infected at a rate of 7%. It would mean there are 7 infected Mac’s to 70 infected Windows PCs.  What will hit the news?  I am not reporting these statistics as a fact but as a mere illustration to explain perceptions.

Support
In my professional experience I see that firms using the Macs have less support needs consequently their supports costs are less.

Price
It is critical to compare “apples to apples” (no pun intended). Macs have always been known for being more expensive than their PC counterparts, but this is not always the case nowadays. The best way to determine which is more affordable for you is to determine the specs that you need from your computer and compare costs with that in mind. In a fair comparison, I expect the PC/Windows solution to usually come in at a slightly lower price but not so much that it would affect your decision.

My Personal Experience

As a technology professional I use both all the time and I can comfortably say that both platforms are very stable and consistent. Personally, I prefer my Mac over my PC for various reasons. I find I’m more likely to go a few months on my Mac before a reboot is required versus my PC. I find that software installation is easier, less technical and far more visually consistent than on the PC. When I get a new Mac it doesn’t come with what I call “bloatware,” which are all the free software included such as; anti-virus, backups, remote technical support, MS-Office trial, etc., that clutter my new computer before I add what I want.

Also, my 2007 iMac (that is a 24” screen and computer in one physical unit) is still in use at my house, in the kitchen, running the latest Apple OS X and almost never crashes.  Unfortunately, my 2008 Dell XPS One, which is the PC version of that, is no longer with me and hasn’t been now for 3+ years.  I have tried updating the OS, however, the new OS just didn’t work and made the machine ineffective.

At a functional level both platforms will do what the professional or casual user will want to do. So how do you decide which is right for you and your business? There is no right or wrong answer but there are definitely a few things to consider that can point you in the right direction as to what computer to choose:

  • What do you want from your computer? While both are great, PCs are considered better for hardcore gamers, while Macs have an edge for artists and creative professionals. Determine what you want to do on your computer and research from that perspective.
  • How much do you want to spend? As I mentioned before, compare similar specs and see what is reasonable for you and your budget.
  • Do you prefer visual consistency? When Microsoft updates the Windows operating system, Windows appears to evolve with much larger graphical interface changes than its Apple OS X counterpart. Apple OS X evolves far more subtly by adding and removing features but the overall general feel never seems radically different.

A computer is a purchase that should not be taken lightly and it is definitely a question that you will get a variety of answers all with their own biases.  If you are buying multiple computers for your company, it can make the decision even more difficult but with proper budgeting and planning, you can create an environment that will allow your business to run smoothly.  If you’re considering improving your computer hardware, or if you are interested in learning more about the options available to you, just let us know and we will help you make the right decision for your business.

By:  Ami Soifer, CEO, The TNS Group 

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