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Are Macs really worth it? Selling points for choosing Mac vs. PC

Are Macs really worth it? Selling points for choosing Mac vs. PC

Everyone’s used to hearing Apple addicts ramble about how much better Macs are than Windows-based PCs, but what’s really the big deal? What about them is so great and worth the (comparatively) large investment?

A few months ago I posted an article about the poor state of the personal computer market (“How Dell ruined the industry with $500 PCs and why Apple won’t“), which has been getting some renewed attention lately. While some folks agreed with my point that Apple cannot lower their prices to bargain PC levels due to their reputation as a premium product provider, others disagreed with this view. They felt that since Macs now use many of the same general components as PCs (Intel processors, NVIDIA graphics chips, etc.), there’s not enough to differentiate them and make the higher starting prices worth it.

I enjoy a good debate and am thrilled that a healthy discussion about the topic has opened up since it’s of interest to a lot of people. There’s no doubt that Apple’s cheapest notebooks (starting at $999) are much more expensive than those from Dell or HP (in the $500-$600 range). The truth is that those machines are last year’s technology, or even the year’s before that, with no trace of innovation to be seen. For some people, yes, that may be all they need, which is where Apple’s stance about choosing not to serve certain segments of the market comes in.

However, even when you directly compare specs like a 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM, or a 320GB hard drive and find a Mac to be slightly more expensive, are you really doing a fair analysis of the fundamental differences between a Mac and PC? Absolutely not. When you’re looking at buying a Dell, HP, Acer, or Toshiba those things are definitely the deciding factor. Buying a Mac, on the other hand, is a whole new game. There are so many seemingly tiny things people often forget about which add up to create a truly unique Apple experience that’s worth paying for.

Instead of babbling on and continuing to write a novel about this subject, I thought the best way to present the top selling points for buying a Mac would be in list form. Where possible, I have added links to Apple’s website for more information about each point. Hopefully this helps anybody who’s not familiar with the Mac platform get more acquainted and understand what sets them apart from the computers they see on the shelves at Walmart or Staples.

  1. One full-featured version of Mac OS X (no Basic, Premium, or Ultimate editions)
  2. No viruses or spyware
  3. iLife media suite
  4. Solid and secure UNIX foundation
  5. Backlit keyboards
  6. Unibody aircraft-grade aluminum notebook casing
  7. MagSafe power connectors
  8. Large trackpads with Multi-Touch gestures
  9. Ability to run Windows natively or virtually
  10. Large and helpful user community
  11. Environmentally friendly
  12. Superior product packaging
  13. Fast Gigabit ethernet ports
  14. Bluetooth
  15. 802.11n wireless cards
  16. LED backlit displays
  17. iSight web cams and easy video chats
  18. Apple retail stores
  19. Plug-and-play peripherals (no driver headaches)
  20. Automated backups with Time Machine
  21. Large selection of free or cheap third party software
  22. No tacky Intel or Windows stickers
  23. No crapware (pre-installed junk software)
  24. Helpful & knowledgable tech support
  25. No operating system activation hassles
  26. Thin, sleek, and lightweight hardware design
  27. Excellent resell value
  28. Built to support open standards (Webkit, OpenCL, UNIX)
  29. Built-in .PDF and .DOC creators/viewers
  30. Sudden motion sensor
  31. Microsoft Office compatible
  32. Sleep mode that actually works
  33. Easy file and screen sharing among networked computers
  34. Simple drag & drop program installations
  35. Better iPod and iPhone integration
  36. BONUS: Free Apple stickers

Whew… that’s a decent selection, but there are even more. It’s just about impossible for one person to come up with every unique feature & benefit of owning a Mac, so your help would be greatly appreciated! Apple fans: What do you use as selling points when trying to convince others to switch to a Mac?

31 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

#1 on the list should be how Applications are installed. Most of the time it is a simple drag-n-drop and nothing more. No registry, no dll-hell, no ridiculous installers.

I was impressed by this the first time I used a NeXT in ’91. I would have never guessed that nearly 20 years later the situation with Windows has only continued to get worse.

and somewhere on that list: Apple would never ship an OS with something as commonly used as a text editor that wouldn’t pass it’s own UI guidelines (and continue to do so for a decade.)

No crashes….
No BSOD….

I’m sorry, but you have to put yourself in the shoes of a non-expert who just wants to buy a new computer.

Most of those reasons in the article are either utterly irrelevant (e.g. stickers), or taken as a given (e.g. Office compatibility). Clever design features might be nice, but ordinary people don’t know about technical details, and they don’t care. Many people think of a computer as a commodity, and buy on price.

I use a Mac, and I’ve had quite a few people ask for computer-buying advice. I recommend they get a Mac, but you’re not going to convince everyone. Which is unfortunate when you end up as technical support for those who bought a Windows PC “because everyone uses them”.

The best way I find is to actually sit someone down in front of a Mac and help them use it. Show them something cool you made in iWork or iLife (which IS a good selling point). THEN they begin to “get it”. The experience of using the computer is what sells a Mac.

Ask people what they want to do, then show them how simple it is on a Mac. Resolve their doubts about it being unfamiliar (“it runs Office too” and “you’d have to learn a new system with Vista anyway, so you might as learn a better one that’s easier to use”). Help them during the switch, to get used to the Mac way of doing things.
That’s how I’ve convinced a few people to get Macs.

Well I will finally get to experience all of this on my own Mac and get the full satisfaction since I can’t change anything on the school Macs. But I will still have my PC because I still love it ;)

Anonymous Coward – Hmm…your name fits you well. Anyways….there are only a few things on the list that “normal people” won’t understand, and the things they can understand are enough to help convert them (and for some of the more technical things there are links to what they are all about). But your points about actually showing people are true, but since this is an article, that would be a bit difficult :p

To Pjotr NL:
No crashes? No BSOD? No, but a bunch of Kernel Panics and hardware failures more often than I’ve ever heard for a HP or DELL PC (ok, for DELL I retract this statement).

9. Ability to run Windows natively or virtually?
I seriously doubt it. When you provide drivers that are constantly cracking up, I don’t think you can count this as a plus point.

11. Environmentally friendly
12. Superior product packaging
I’m sorry, but who cares? So one company from one of the most polluting countries in the world is going green? Will this stop global warming? Doubt it.

22. No tacky Intel or Windows stickers
23. No crapware (pre-installed junk software)
Both these things take about 2-3 hours to be removed, if you are bothered by them. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t make $500 in 3 hours to pay the difference to a PC.

34. Simple drag & drop program installations
You really have to move this up into the top 10. This is a great feature. Sorry, but I only give credit where it is due.

36. BONUS: Free Apple stickers
This was a joke, right? :)

All in all, Apple is innovative in my view, but still has a load of problems to solve. With the hardware reliability that these products have, I wonder how they can price them as high and get away with it.

Just my 2 cents. Hope I didn’t offend any Mac lovers.

Markus,

I appreciate your comment even if you have a different view on some things. As I’ve said before, I like a good debate every once in a while. I would like to respond to some of your claims…

In the 3 years I’ve had my MacBook Pro, I’ve only encountered a single kernel panic. It happened during the first week I had it and was easily fixed by repairing permissions. Not to mention that it was caused by a piece of 3rd party software, not the OS itself. No one else I know with a Mac has ever encountered a kernel panic even once. Blue screens are far more common and difficult to diagnose in most cases.

9. I don’t have much experience with Boot Camp so I won’t comment on that aspect. However, the virtualization programs like Parallels and VMWare are fantastic! It’s really amazing what they’re able to do to make the integration so seamless.

11. & 12. A lot of people care about the environment and might even be more likely to buy Apple products just because of their excellent track record. Apple’s setting the standard for green products and it’s likely they will serve as a model for other companies to do the same. Every little bit helps and once more people join in, it will have a significant effect.

22. & 23. You just proved my point. The fact that the stickers and endless amounts of crapware need to be removed from brand new PCs at all (and take 2-3 hours to do so!) dilutes the customer experience. You should be getting right to work and having fun with a new computer, not spending hours cleaning up the junk right off the bat. No, this alone doesn’t make a huge price difference worth it, but it does contribute to the overall value.

36. Yes, it was meant to be a joke.

Thanks for the feedback. I can see your point of view too on these things.

Sadly, the kernel panics are very often in my case, and as Apple’s people can’t find any hardware problems, I’m probably stuck with a faulty machine. In my case, third party software problems or anything software related is pretty much out of the equation, as I had only in the last 6 months the need to do about 8 reinstalls for MacOS, from stretch. So it seems to be a hardware problem that I also know someone else has, and Apple is not recognizing it as such.

Nice talk :)

I work for a school district that has about 50% macs and 50% windows xp. All in all we have a few thousand of both types. (and the occasional Linux running here and there, on both apple hardware as well as other vendor hardware)

I’m fairly experienced in both mac and windows although more from a support perspective than an end user perspective.

Apple hardware breaks just about as often as other vendor hardware. Mac OS X has software/application issues just as much as windows xp does.

Each platform has its place. When choosing which one to buy, honestly it comes down to user experience and aesthetics. Most of the stuff on your list is generalized.

#2, yes there are viruses / malware / spyware for OS X. There are just so few of them in comparison to windows that it doesnt even register as a blip on the radar, and the underlying structure of OS X makes them much less likely to be installed or do damage. (just trying to correct a misconception, but it does deserve to be on the list)

#13-15, also readily available on machines made for windows.

#21, same for windows (example http://www.opensourcewindows.org/)

#22-23, many smaller vendors that you can buy from that dont put stickers or software on the machines.

#31, I’m pretty sure its compatable with windows as well.

#32, works in windows as well.

#33, yup, its in windows, and very easy as well.

Basically, your list would be better if it did not list stuff that is also the same in windows as a selling point for a mac over windows, or by trying to mislead people into thinking that windows is lacking a feature that it isn’t lacking.

Micah,
Thanks for reading and responding. I think you may have missed the main point of the list, though. My goal was to address many of the specific concerns and misconceptions people have about Macs and then use some of those as selling points. For example, the large selection of free/cheap 3rd party software and Microsoft Office compatibility – it’s an outdated stereotype that very little software is available for the Mac. Therefore, when trying to convince someone to buy a Mac, that mistruth would be a good thing to mention.

In addition, I’m aware that Windows computers can have things like Gigabit ethernet, Bluetooth, 802.11n, etc. Since this article was intended to combat the idea of buying cheap $500 PCs instead of quality $1000+ Macs, though, the stripped-down Windows PCs being targeted do not have these features.

Also, and perhaps most importantly, although Macs and Windows PCs share many of the same features on paper, that doesn’t mean they’re equal in terms of implementation of those features. One of Apple’s greatest strengths is figuring out the easiest and most intuitive ways of making features accessible to average users.

I alwasy had an underlying dread using my PC for my business. As I was never really sure when things were going to go wrong next. Then Vista came along and trashed my profile, which it seems in turn trashes al my settings, all my software installs etc etc.

So I thought, sod it and got a MacBook Pro… That was two years ago. I still use the same notebook as my primary machine (except i put a 500GB drive in it ::myself::) and now th ewhole of my business is on Macs… Except my accounts as Sage requires windows. Which is fine as I have a Boot Camp partition which VM Fusion is only too happy to run virtually for me and sleep when not needed.

But, the most important thing is, in two years and four macs of different types I have only had to worry once! And that was due to a faulty nVidia chipset, which Apple fixed the very same day.

The total lack of stress when it comes to our computer requirements is worth so much more than the extra few hundred quid I would save for a PC instead.

megs…seriously what was the point of the personal attack everyone was talking abt macs that was not necessary

#32 is a point that Apple should REALLY make a point of telling people.
I am a teacher and I usually use OSX at school. One day, I was running a demonstration how to use Powerpoint on my Windows XP. When my students came into the classroom, I tried to wake the computer from sleep mode with no effect. It totally ruined my prepared lesson and I lost over ten minutes setting everything back up again.
If I were a businessman and it was a business presentation, I’d be looking for a new job.
It really made me ask myself why any business would use Windows when a sudden system problem could be the end of a possible business deal.
From that point on, I started telling my students about my story. Some have actually come up to me and asked about which Mac they should buy.

Macs are great but I feel as if they are falling behind the windows crowd. I have been a mac user for years now and love them but with the lack of blu ray drives and even blu ray support it makes it very difficult to justify spending 3g plus on a computer even though it runs a superior O.S.. Not to mention the lack of quad i7 processors in laptops, and really whats the point of having a dual boot environment when im paying for the O.S. and not the computer. I have bought a sony Vaio F series and love it, HDMI with no adapter blu-ray built in. Does it look nice or feel as sturdy as my old macbook pro of course not but it did come to only 1800 Canadian dollars with better specs. Till steve jobs decides to open that bag of hurt as he so described which is blu ray I cannot use a mac as blu ray drives are key to my business.

I honestly think that Mac pricing is beyond a joke.
I’m currently looking to buy a new laptop as I will be using it to run CS5 amongst other software I want a fairly powerful computer.
I have customised a Sony Vaio to a suitable spec as Sony’s are one of the most comparable to Mac’s in terms of build quality. The price;
£1290
The price of a Mac to almost as good spec (I couldn’t actually get it up to the same spec);
£2490
That’s as good as twice the price, for what?
Mac’s OS is good I admit, but is it worth £1200? No. Especially now that Windows 7 is out which is actually a bloody good OS itself.
I have been running the beta and now the full version of windows 7 on my desktop for well over a year now and it has never crashed.
Finally a big problem for me is Mac’s reluctance to add simple things which make life easier, such as;
A right mouse button, I don’t care what any Mac users say, I’ve used both systems a lot and a right mouse is a good thing and makes work flow quicker.
An eject button on the DVD rom. When I was at uni a fellow student had his coursework on a dvd in the drive of a Mac and his deadline was later that day, the Mac crashed and died (yes it does happen) We spent ages trying to get the Mac OS to boot so we could eject the dvd with the keyboard button but it wouldn’t. On a PC this wouldn’t have been a problem as the eject button is mechanical to the drive and can be used as soon as there is power going through the machine.

Really Jake, you’re upset at the lack of a right mouse button? This just highlights your lack of knowledge or inability to understand the Magic Mouse and Macbook trackpads. They’re touch sensitive so the whole thing is a big button and you right or left click by putting your finger on a different part of the surface. If anything, its better than a regular mouse/trackpad.

And your insistence on comparing specs is exactly what this article appears to be attacking. It’s not just about the specs, there are a ton of little things Macs have that Windows systems don’t. That makes it worth it.

Rich, its funny you bring up the Magic Mouse. Yes it has a right click which is awesome, but it’s not comfortable at all. It’s very hard to use for a long period of time before my wrist and ring/pinky get sore. I am not the first to say this either, Apple mice just have horrible ergonomics. Being able to right click and use the mouse like a touchpad is a huge plus, but not worth the rsi.

If Apple only worried about comfort over appearance…..

1. Ultimate is still cheaper than the standard Apple OS…

2.Buy decent Anti-virus and you’ll still have saved money over a mac.

3. Similar software can be bought for windows, and STILL you wont have made up the £500 difference between a mac and a PC.

4. Find me someone who notices that above Windows and I’ll call your point valid.

5.Many Windows PCs have backlit keyboards – which can change colour I might add!

6.Again, many PCs have high quality cases (Alienware)

7.Don’t be a fag and leave your power cord in a stupid place. Really, gonna spend your money on patenting that apple? Gonna make us pay hundreds of pounds for that??

8.Multi-touch is a reasonably useless gimmick, and large trackpads are available on many laptops – and even so, a normal mouse pwns a trackpad anyway!

9.What, you mean like a PC can run an Apple OS?

10. Aren’t like 95% of computers PCs? Wouldn’t that mean that the community for PC users is massively bigger? FAIL.

11.Lol.

12.Oh I get it, so mac users are like 5 year olds; at x-mas they open the box and play in it rather than using whatever it is their parents bought them… Plus, many PCs come in extravagent packaging too

13.Buy a good network card for your PC (if it doesn’t already have one) and you’ll still have saved money because they aren’t massively expensive (despite Apple charging severall hundred pounds for the painstaking labour of inserting it into a PCIe slot…)

14.Because no PC in the world has Bluetooth built in? In fact pretty much all modern laptops do, and there’s no reason desktops won’t be either…

15.What, because PCs dont have wireless N either?? Again, pretty much all PCs have 802.11N cards these days…

16.LED backlighting is pretty much standard in all modern displays – it’s just you dont have to pay £800 for non-apple ones…

17.Most displays come with webcams built in these days, and isight ones are hardly superior, plus msn makes video calling nice and easy

18.What, because there are no stores that sell PCs??

19.Only complex devices require drivers, many windows devices are plug ‘n’ play too y’know…

20.Many PC manufacturers offer identical services, such as Alienrespawn from Alienware.

21.There is a SIGNIFICANTLY larger community and ammount of third party freeware.

22.OMFG NO!! STICKERS!? Sorry, I wasn’t aware that mac users dont have hands with which to remove stickers…

23.Many manufacturers make a point of not adding/deleting such bloatware (alienware for example)

24.Type any computer problem into google and you will get ample help and support for free, plus help is more readily available from techies because more computers are PCs by a very large margin…

25.Because typing in 1 code is just THAT HARD for mac users.

26.Dont sony make a laptop even thinner and sleeker than the macbook air? My point is that many PCs look just as good as any mac.

27.Because you can never resell a PC…

28.So is Windows…

29.Adobe does that and it’s free – download adobe if you want to read PDFs and shut the hell up.

30.Suggest a plausible use for that which might actually benefit somebody somewhere and your point may be called ‘valid’.

31.Windows can also use Microsoft Office (obviously…)

32.What, as opposed to Windows sleep mode which ‘doesn’t work’? please, explain how

33.You mean with a wireless ad-hoc network or with an ethernet cable? That thing which Windows is designed for and recognises instantaneously?

34.As opposed to the windows ‘double click’ which is so much more labour intensive…

35.Well given that they’re also made by Apple, you would kinda of expect that – but it’s not like ipods and iphones don’t work with PCs is it?

36.If you’re really that sad, other manufacturers bundle a few brand stickers – Alienware for example :P

Peter,

I appreciate you adding your thoughts to the mix, but I do take exception to the validity of your comments. Hopefully my responses help you see the points I was trying to make with this article.

1. Windows 7 Ultimate is currently $270 on Amazon, or $180 for an upgrade. Mac OS X 10.6 is only $29 and all previous versions were $129. Clearly Windows is more expensive – even the full Home Premium.

2. Even “decent” security software occasionally lets a virus or two through. No anti-virus program is invincible. Regardless of the cost of this software, system resources are taken up by running it. More importantly, why be bothered with it at all? Regular folks who don’t know much about computers have no idea how to guard themselves from malware. They shouldn’t have to worry about it.

3. I challenge you to find Windows software that matches the functionality, ease of use, and integration offered by the iLife suite. It doesn’t exist at any price.

4. Mac OS X’s UNIX foundation doesn’t need to be readily noticeable to be beneficial. It makes for a more stable & secure system in the background so the user never notices it at all.

5. Indeed, some do have backlit keyboards for high-end machines. But it is by no means a standard feature like on Apple’s MacBook Pros.

6. The overwhelming majority of Windows laptops have cases made of plastic and are thicker & heavier than the aluminum used in MacBooks. Not to mention, most are tacky and have overdone designs as well.

7. You didn’t make a point, so I’ll skip this one.

8. Multi-Touch gestures are certainly not gimmicks to those who have used them on Apple’s laptops. They increase productivity and even make simple things like right-clicking easier than the small trackpads & poorly placed buttons on PCs. Your preference of a mouse is your own choice, of course. No one can challenge you for that.

9. An overwhelming majority of Windows PC cannot run Mac OS X. Those that do are mostly netbooks and require hacking to do so. Even then, certain drivers & functions are lost. Windows runs on a Mac flawlessly with no messing around, so non-technical people can do it easily.

10. The article never stated the Mac community was larger than the PC community. That would clearly be incorrect. But there is a misconception that very few people use Macs and therefore there is nobody to help or guide newcomers. That’s simply not true – Mac users are very passionate and extremely willing to help others.

11. No point made.

12. Actually, Apple’s product packaging is the opposite of extravagant. It’s minimalist so nothing that doesn’t need to be there is there. That makes for a more pleasant experience, especially for people who don’t know where to start when they first open it.

13. What if it’s a laptop? You can’t easily upgrade the network card on a PC in that case.

14. Many PCs under $1000, and even some of those above $1000, still do not come with Bluetooth as a standard feature. It’s shocking, but true.

15. At the time this article was written, 802.11n was not widespread on new PCs. Of course, almost 2 years later it is now.

16. Many PCs, especially those cheaper than Macs, do not come with LED displays. You can certainly upgrade to one, but they don’t come standard. Those that do come with LEDs are usually poor quality, especially in regard to color gamut and brightness.

17. Similar to #15, this was written 2 years ago – before webcams became common in PCs.

18. There are no other stores that offer a shopping experience and great post-purchase support like Apple Stores. Even the “Guru Bar” in Microsoft Stores aren’t as helpful and knowledgable about their products as those at the Apple Genius Bar, because there are too many types of PCs out there to support.

19. Yes, there are plug-and-play devices for Windows. But drivers (either on a CD or the manufacturer’s website) are still needed in order to get a lot of common devices like printers to work reliably in Windows. It’s rarely needed in Mac OS X.

20. I’ve never heard of AlienRespawn before, so I did some research. It is in no way similar to Mac OS X’s Time Machine. AlienRespawn merely reinstalls Windows from factory settings and saves programs & files to a backup folder. Time Machine is always connected, automatically saves multiple versions of files as they change, and can restore either the entire system or individual files as needed. It also puts them back where they were, rather than throwing everything in a separate folder.

21. Again, much like #10 there is of course more software available for Windows PCs. However, the quality of software is much better for Macs. I’d rather have 2 or 3 quality software choices than 20 mediocre & complicated choices.

22. The point is to illustrate that users shouldn’t have to remove stickers when they buy new computers. It cheapens the experience and usually leaves residue. A new product shouldn’t be a billboard for itself. You already bought it – what are they advertising the operating system and hardware specs for?

23. On cheaper PCs, trialware is how the manufacturer actually makes money on the machine. Some have resorted to charging the customer extra to remove this unwanted software for them, otherwise the customer must do it themselves. That’s pretty ridiculous.

24. That’s true, Google is a great resource for both PC and Mac tech support. But a lot of folks don’t want to deal with it or don’t have the knowledge to troubleshoot themselves. They need to buy from a company with good customer service that can make things right. Apple’s tech support is the best in the industry.

25. Unfortunately, the Windows activation issues don’t end after you type in the product key. Windows Updates must be downloaded for genuine advantage verification and sometimes those updates break legitimate copies of Windows. The user must then call Microsoft to fix it. Reinstalling Windows – a common necessity – brings the product key into play again as well. It’s a hassle.

26. Sony does not make a comparable laptop thinner than the new MacBook Air, nor does anyone else.

27. The value of Windows PCs degrades much faster than Macs. You can still resell a Mac for a good portion of its original price a few years later. PCs are so common and such a commodity that they aren’t worth much at that point.

28. Windows is configurable and customizable, but it is certainly not open. Apple has contributed a lot to the open source community, even though other parts of their products are proprietary. Internet Explorer 9 still doesn’t support open web standards like Webkit and other browsers.

29. Why download slow, buggy, and insecure software from Adobe or Microsoft when Mac OS X already includes the functionality for free in a much better way?

30. Sudden motion sensors protect your hard drive from getting damage when the system is in a free fall. People drop their laptops all the time, so this is very valuable. Many hard drive manufacturers are building similar technology into the drives themselves so PC manufacturers don’t need to put it in the computer.

31. It’s a common misconception that Macs cannot view or create Microsoft Office documents. It’s inclusion in this article is meant to show that is not the case.

32. Windows sleep mode is not as reliable as Mac OS X’s, especially when Vista was the primary version of Windows. Even today there are less bugs and wakeup time is faster for Macs than PCs.

33. People often think Macs can’t network well with Windows PCs, so including it meant to show they can. And networking between Macs is so much easier (with little to no setup) than networking between Windows machines. Screen sharing is built into Mac OS X, as well.

34. Installing software on a Mac by dragging it to the Applications folder is much more simple than going through an installation wizard with confusing checkboxes and options requiring “Next, Next, Continue, Next, Finish” in Windows. With the Mac App Store opening in a week or two, software installation will be even easier. Just one click.

35. Considering how popular iPods and iPhones are, better integration is a big selling point for Macs. In fact, the halo effect from those devices is part of the reason Macs are making such big market share gains.

I’m reading this because I’ve been debating to get a Mac or not. And honestly, I’m not sold. I’m an above average technical user. I’ve built hundreds of computers, setup entire networks, and now own a very successful web design, graphic design, seo and programming firm. I recently purchased an Imac (upgraded with the bigger processor, 8 gigs of ram, etc) and it is much slower than my own windows system I built almost 8 months ago. And to recreate what I have in my Windows machine would cost over $5,000 or more in a Mac Pro. For less than $1500, I am able to run a 6 core processor at 3.9ghz, 16gigs of ddr3 2000 ram, a saphire radeon 6870 video card, with an Intel5 SSD HD for my main drive and 4 Terabytes of storage/usage drives. It reboots completely in 23 seconds, runs many huge apps like most of the CS5 suite, along with outlook and itunes at the same time, and doesn’t slow down (Windows 7 Ultimate 64 is my OS.) I’ve tried reboot contests, application contests, right next to a new Imac that cost more money than I spent on my system, and the Imac has been slower in every contest between the 2. I’m not sold yet. I don’t see the reason I have to spend 3-4 times the money to get the same performance, along with the learning curve time as well.
I’m not trying to “promote” windows, I simply looking to see if it’s really all worth it. A few years ago when the performance between the 2 machines where considerable, but now, I don’t think it’s worth the money. I went to buy a Macbook and for $1300+ dollars I could get a laptop that had 2 gigs of ram, an I3 processor a SMALL hard drive (I think it was 120gb??) and no built in 4g or 3g connectors. I ended spending a little over $500 on a Toshiba Portege that had 4 gigs of ram, an I5 processor, 640gb hard drive, and built in 4g, plus it weighed within 2 ounces of a Macbook. Soooo…… again, I’m trying to understand why I should spend considerably more money for less product.

Paul,

Glad to hear you’re weighing the pros and cons of switching to a Mac. Unfortunately, I think you’re putting too much emphasis on directly comparing hardware specs and not considering the other benefits Macs offer. The first benefit would be Mac OS X, of course. Not only is it more intuitive and requires far less maintenance than Windows, it’s actually cheaper. OS X upgrades are only $29 and come more frequently than Windows upgrades. That’s more new features & software advancements at a price that’s at least $100, if not over $150, less money than PC operating systems. No money needs to be spent on maintenance or security software either.

Apple’s excellent customer support should also be considered. Their stores are convenient places to find advice and get your Mac repaired, should a problem arise. And their phone support is fast, helpful, and US-based.

Consider the design of their machines as well – especially notebooks. Their aluminum and glass construction is more rigid and durable than the plastic most PCs are made of. In general, they’ll last longer and be more reliable.

Back to the topic of hardware, I would strongly recommend you take a look at Apple’s current offerings. The $1199 MacBook Pro has a 2.3 GHz i5 processor with 4GB RAM and 320GB hard drive. But like I mentioned before, these basic specs are not the best way to judge value. Don’t forget the large Multi-Touch trackpads that make navigating the system much easier. If you’re a designer, you’ll appreciate the bright, vivid LED display that blows away most Windows machines. The battery life on Apple’s MacBooks is often 50%-100% longer than PC notebooks too.

I guess the bottom line would be that if you’re someone who builds his own PCs, you’ll likely always struggle to see the value in Apple’s integrated approach. They take care of things so you don’t have to. Yes, it’s more expensive and will always be. Apple doesn’t compete on price, they compete on quality and value beyond basic hardware specs. There are plenty of little things that quickly add up to make the Mac worth the investment.

my favorite part is

“22. No tacky Intel or Windows stickers

36. BONUS: Free Apple stickers”

I just bought my first Mac ever. I have always had a PC. I never understand why people would go on and on about Mac’s. Well, the set-up was so much simpler with the iMac. It was almost worth the price for that alone. I just have the bottom of the line iMac, so I do not think it is any faster than my Dell. Unfortunately, I cannot use that computer anymore because of all of the damage done to it by virus’s while I had an anti-virus program on it. The Mac looks better and is easier to use. I just enjoying using it more. It is just that simple. If you are going to build your own computer, go ahead, stick with the PC. I am never going back, though.

I think it’s pretty funny you said “no tacky Intel or Windows stickers” but then at the bottom said “BONUS: Free Apple stickers”… I guess stickers are only cool when they’re Apple.

Alyssa,

I can see how mentioning stickers like that could be misleading or ironic. I just wanted to point out the difference: Windows PCs have stickers on the machine itself. They make the computer look like a billboard for products you already bought. Not to mention they’re ugly and a pain to remove.

Apple’s stickers are placed in the box, which means you can use them anywhere you want (lots of people put them in their car windows) or simply throw them out. So in that sense they are a bonus, not a hassle like PCs.

I think personally macs are great, expensive yes, however they do the job that is needed, I have had a mac for 4 years and a macbook air for 1 year. They work both in sync and are awesome when it comes to using iCloud. Another +. Transferring things is easy and hassle free. Many of my friends say they are terrible, many of them who say that are gamers and blind! I try to tell them – that I got both of them for a purpose, one for home use and the other for school. The reason I like the mac book air so much is that its light weight, so I’m not carrying around a tonne of bricks which will eventually lead me damaging my back. And no i won’t get a netbook, you know why? Cause they cost 300 pounds and don’t last 2 minuets. Proved by 3 of my friends. I want something that does the job, and lasts for a long amount the of time, for that reason i bought a mac.

1-One full-featured version of Mac OS X.-Actually there is the Server version as well, and the IOS version. And the Apple TV version.
2-No viruses or spyware, however if you torrented CS5.5 you probably turned your Mac into a rogue DNS.
4-Solid and secure UNIX foundation,which Apple tries its best to hide from view.
5-Backlit keyboards-exist on PC’s too!
6-Unibody aircraft-grade aluminum notebook casing. Magnesium is lighter and stronger.
8-Large trackpads with Multi-Touch gestures windows does this too!
9-Ability to run Windows natively or virtually the only real reason so far. This is why I own multiple macs. Because I can’t instantiate an OSX VM on Windows. And I need both.
10-Large and helpful user community. I actually find this to be a joke. I am much more able to find info about Windows than Mac with a simple google search. Mac community has a love it or leave it attitude. If people express frustration when posting to the apple, macworld or macrumors forums, they often get dogpiled for “dissing” macs. Quickly followed by a dismissive “typical clueless windows user” slew of comments.
11-Environmentally friendly. Really? Do you think they make gorilla glass with organic free range silicon? There isn’t a computer on earth that is environmental. It is a poisonous industry, period.
12-Superior product packaging-This is really some fanboy nonsense.
13-Fast Gigabit ethernet ports, except not on more than half of the laptops.
14-Bluetooth. Yes, every computer has bluetooth nowadays.
15-802.11n wireless cards-are old.
16-LED backlit displays-Yeah, HP has this as well as Asus.
17-iSight web cams and easy video chats-This is actually a good point. It ismuch easier to use facetime or iChat than any Skype client.
18-Apple retail stores-Are tourist magnets for some reason.
19-Plug-and-play peripherals (no driver headaches) Whomever makes this assertion has not used any serious professional audio or video hardware. Or tried to set up a networked printer.
20-Automated backups with Time Machine-Time Machine is pretty to look at, however, backing up every hour over the network is ludicrous. I have had to install a 3rd party app to be able to use Time Machine in a sane fashion. Only backing up our macs after hours.
21-Large selection of free or cheap third party software-You are kidding right? Linux and Windows have about 100 times more of this.
22-No tacky Intel or Windows stickers-Agreed!
23-No crapware (pre-installed junk software) While some will say Mail is crapware, I think they need to buy a Lenovo or HP laptop to see what bloatware is really like. Out of the box one of these mainstream wintel laptops will have about 100 processes running without any actual apps started up.
24-Helpful & knowledgable tech support-hahahha, no really. Don’t you mean sales staff?
25-No operating system activation hassles-This might be true, but more importantly Apple doesn’t charge an arm and a leg for OS upgrades.
26-Thin, sleek, and lightweight hardware design-there are actually some pretty decent contenders in the wintel market.
27-Excellent resell value-somewhat.
28-Built to support open standards (Webkit, OpenCL, UNIX) except Apple does everything it can to neuter Unix. However I do appreciate not having to install programs the Unix way!
29-Built-in .PDF and .DOC creators/viewers. Sadly Microsofts answer is XPS.
30-Sudden motion sensor-every windows laptop has this too.
31-Microsoft Office compatible-not really. Try opening publisher or acces docs. Or advanced Excel docs.
32-Easy file and screen sharing among networked computers. Windows does this much better, with far more control over sharing rights!

Russdaren,

Discussion is appreciated but many of your responses seem to miss the point. I won’t address all of them, but there are a bunch I’d like to mention…

1. We’re talking retail operating systems for everyday people, so server versions aren’t included in this comparison. Also, iOS is irrelevant because this is a Mac vs. PC debate. Apple keeps their mobile operating system simple and segregated from their desktop operating system. Microsoft is only going to confuse users further by introducing Windows 8 and Metro to PCs.

2. Should Apple really be responsible for users pirating illegitimate versions of software from untrusted sources?

4. The fact that Apple hides OS X’s UNIX roots in the background is a benefit. Regular users should never know or care about it.

5. At the time this article was written 3.5 years ago, backlit keyboards were not available on many (if any) PCs.

8. Let’s be honest… the trackpads on Windows notebooks are often small and frustrating to use. They are not nearly as responsive or fluid as the ones on a MacBook. The multitouch gestures are not integrated well into Windows either.

11. Obviously any computer is going to be more harmful to the environment than no computer at all. But you can’t deny that Apple’s record of removing toxic materials and using recyclable materials (like glass and aluminum) is the best in the industry.

12. Product packaging is part of the user experience. Unpacking a PC is a frustrating experience with tons of little plastic ties and adhesive film to tear off. First impressions are everything and it’s evident how much Apple cares about what the customer sees. It reflects the care they put into the computer itself.

13. Again, gigabit ethernet was not standard on PCs when this article was written 3.5 years ago. See #5.

14. See #5.

15. See #5.

16. See #5. Apple’s displays are the best in the industry. The colors, brightness, viewing angles, and resolution (retina display) are all better than PCs.

17. Every computer may have a camera now, but only Apple’s software is easy to use. FaceTime is ridiculously simple.

21. Missed the point. It’s quality of software that matters, not quantity. Wouldn’t you rather have 6 great choices to choose from than 60 crappy choices?

24. Apple store employees aren’t pushy salespeople at all. They are more interested in helping than selling, in my experience.

26. Nothing comes close to the hardware design of the MacBook Air and the new retina display MacBook Pro.

30. See #5.

31. For the majority of users, the important Office programs are Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook. There are equivalent versions of those apps for OS X (minus macros in Excel, which most people don’t use). For those that need to use Publisher or Access, they can use Boot Camp, Parallels, or VMware to run them.

32. This point was meant for home and small business use, not large corporate networks.

Tell me again how your mac is better than my HP Envy hahahah,any apple computer thats even comparable cost 500 dollers more.

Keeping the convo alive!!

Spec wise, some PC’s are comparable, and entry level Mac’s may seem to be a bit overpriced, but I would encourage users to keep in mind how they use their computer. Saving $300 doesn’t do you any good if you have to drive across town to have your HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, etc fixed on a monthly basis. And the recent Window’s 8 wifi connectivity probelms… gah! you’re telling me that is seriously retailing for $100 right now?? That’s just a head ache, but when I open my MacBook, I have no doubt in my mind it will do what I need it to do on the first try! It’s solid every time.

I have owned a 2008 MacBook for almost 5 years now, and aside doing a full re-install of the OS once a year for cleanliness sake (takes <2 hours), I've had zero problems! In the words of the late Steve Jobs, "It just works!" And that is worth paying for any day of the week!

BTW; just upgraded to a my second ever Apple, a MacBook Pro 2012 15 inch model and I LOVE IT!! Totally worth it!

In my opinion, I finally give up using Windows because the windows system have a big design problem – the dll.

Programs in windows shared dll files, it is ok at the beginning.
but after keep using windows for a year, those dll files bring a big problem to the windows.

I need to reinstall windows every 1-2 years, in order to clean it up.

Yep, you’re right. I thought that sounded too good to be true, but it’s entirely my bad for not looking closer. It says you have to have an always-on internet connection to use it, so I guess I figured with emulation software and whatnot… Ah well. Fixing the article now. Thanks for the heads-up.

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