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May 10th, 2016
It's undeniable that a Mac looks good. The design is modern, clean, sleek and attractive. However as the age old phrase goes, "Don't judge a book by its cover" what's inside is what really counts. So when it comes to choosing a laptop or desktop which is better and who would win in a techno-battle?
I own an iPhone, iPad, iPod and you'd naturally think that this would give me some indication of how a Mac might function... let me tell it doesn't at all. If you have never used a Mac before it is mighty frustrating, it's like unlearning the English language - nothing you know of how to work a PC matters anymore and they couldn't be more different. You minimise a webpage and it just dissapears, there's no tabs, no nothing, the keyboard short-cuts that come as second nature are obsolete and I can feel myself becoming madder and madder. Even the mouse is different, with only one click button and no right click. To me it's all wrong, everything just feels alien. (To this effect, switching from Mac to PC would be just as difficult and unnatural.)
The average Windows machine is much cheaper than the average Mac, especially if you factor in the cost of AppleCare. On average the Mac Book Air will set you back at least £750 and iMacs start at £900 whereas a basic laptop you could pick up from £150. Of course, the bump in price reflects a faster, better-made machine, but you are likely to be paying for features you don't need, or can't really afford.
There's not much doubt that you're safer using Mac OS X over Windows. However, if you want to know which is more secure, that's a different question. It's also a more complex one, because there several versions of Windows. If you want to pick on Windows XP, we know that's not secure: its failings prompted Microsoft to spend vast sums retraining its programmers in Trustworthy Computing, and to give users a more secure version free: XP SP2.
By contrast, Windows 7 has more advanced security than OS X, but whether it's safer is another matter. Chris Wysopal, chief technology officer at Veracode, puts it like this: "I think the Mac is less risky, not more secure. The difference is in the threat environment. An analogy would be an unlocked house in an urban vs rural environment. Both are insecure. One, the rural, is less risky."
There are many myths that Macs can't get viruses but the truth is no computer system is immune to viruses (at least not yet). After all, viruses are just programs and all computers were designed to run programs. But you are more likely to hear of viruses on PC than Mac, why?
One theory is that Macs keep such a stellar reputation due to their lesser market share. Who'd want to write a virus for 1,000 computers when you could reach 1 million and hit PC users? Not everyone agrees with the market share theory, though, claiming that Macs really do offer fewer opportunities for malicious code to spread. The bottom line: Macs are not invulnerable and can get infected.
Whilst I was researching this article, the Mac vs PC is just one of those battles with no conclusive argument, with so many different arguments and counter-arguments it can make your head swirl. To come to a conclusive argument it really boils down to what you need your computer for and really what kind of budget you have got to work towards...
Microsoft's Office suite is available on both platforms, although with slightly different offerings, notably, the Access database module is absent from the Mac version. Apple has recently released iWork '09, which currently consists of an MS Office-compatible word processor called Pages, a spreadsheet application called Numbers, and presentation software called Keynote. A large number people regard Keynote as being far superior to PowerPoint for quality presentations. Beyond that, there are a plethora of third-party solutions for both systems such as the free OpenOffice.org software, as well as Sun's Star Office. Microsoft Office 2007 can be installed on Linux too.
Many games are available for both Macs and Windows PCs, but this is one area where things are greatly skewed. If hard-core, cutting-edge gaming is one of your primary reasons for buying a computer, a Windows PC is advisable. The library of games available for the PC is exhaustive, and hardware specifically tweaked for gaming performance is much more readily available for Windows. Some of the more popular titles are released much later, if at all, for the MAC. There is no native DirectX support in Mac OS and Linux, although there are compatibility layers such as Wine and Cedega. If you're looking for a computer to play games on, focus on a PC. The array of graphics cards and upgradability also favour Windows-based computers.
However if you need to your computer to be for design then MAC would definitely be the way to go. Although Windows plays host to a score of Adobe's multimedia content creation software, the Mac has been home to these applications for a long time. Our in-house designer swears by his MAC and would definitely be on the pro-MAC side. Many professionals who need to create studio-quality content will opt for Mac because of both its history and community involved in this field of work. Most Hollywood movie special effects are created on the Macintosh platform, including Pixar's successful computer-generated movies.
For me, I will remain pro-PC, but I still admire the sleek, stylish and attractive design of the Mac.