General Question

citizenearth's avatar

Is it really worth it to switch computer preference from Windows PC world to Apple's Mac world?

Asked by citizenearth (406 points ) July 14th, 2010

There are many hypes about the greatness of Apple’s Mac over the Windows PC world, especially in the US. I live in Malaysia where the predominant computer world is that of Windows PC. Just want to understand and be convinced of this supposed superiority of Apple’s Mac-based system. For information, the Apple’s Mac is much more expensive than the PC-based system. This is the main reason discouraging the switch to Apple’s Mac.

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39 Answers

Vincentt's avatar

Depends who you ask; here on Fluther, I guess you’re bound to get a lot of “yes, it’s better in this and this and this”. Truth is, it really depends on the person and on personal preference. Also, there are other systems * cough cough Ubuntu cough * that you can install on hardware you currently have without it costing you anything while still being legal :)

aveffects's avatar

What do you use computers for?
Macs are great for creativity and home users they are easy to set up and have a very intuitive UI. Macs also suffer less from malware and viruses and I find the machines last longer.

I would recommend installing Ubuntu and trying that out too.

mrentropy's avatar

It’s really up to personal preference. Someday I’ll get a Mac just so I can use it and see what’s so great about it. I’m not in any great hurry, though.

jerv's avatar

Macs are no more immune to malware than a PC running Linux, so that isn’t a selling point to me.

The Mac UI isn’t really any more intuitive (despite many people’s claims). There is a bit of a placebo effect their, but the truth is that the only real difference is that Windows and Linux don’t remove options the way Apple likes to. Imagine a car with the hood welded shut, the radio presets uncganhageable, and the steering wheel and pedals replaced with a green button that says “Go!”. Easier to understand, but not easier to use, especially if you want to do something that it isn’t already programmed to do.

You also have to deal with the stigma of being associated with rabid fanbois who totally overlook reason and reality to proclaim Steve Jobs the Most Perfect Being Ever

Apple makes well-crafted systems with yesterdays CPU and in most cases anemic GPUs, but you can’t deny that their rigs are solidly built. They really have nothing that you can’t get on the PC side for cheaper unless you really need a workstation. The Mac Pro with it’s dual Xeon CPUs and starting at only $3300 (for the dual-CPU setup) is a powerhouse and, unlike the rest of the Apple line-up, a bargain. The best price I’ve seen on a comparable ready-to-run PC of that caliber is >$4500. However, the Mac Pro is way more computer than most people need.

There are Linux distros/desktops out there that emulate the Mac UI. Try one of them and save yourself a lot of $$$$$$$

tinyfaery's avatar

I switched to Apple about 8 years ago. I have never regretted it and I will never go back. I am a casual computer user and the Mac is so much easier for a computer idiot such as myself. No error codes. No problems installing anything. I love my Mac.

mrentropy's avatar

Come to think of it, the stuff Jobs did in the 70s and 80s hasn’t made me all that in a hurry to get a Mac, either.

CMaz's avatar

“Macs are great for creativity”
90’s reasoning.

“Mac is so much easier for a computer idiot ”
That pretty much says it all. With all due respect.

They both get the job done.

llewis's avatar

I switched to Mac about 3 years ago. I used to manage a Windows network at a university, and became very frustrated with Bill’s World. I read an article by a computer reviewer who switched (which of course I can’t find now) and decided to go with Mac when I needed to replace my computer. I have LOVED my MacBook Pro and would NEVER go back. But I do a lot of audio and video work, and a lot of desktop publishing. I use free programs for the most part – open-source stuff – and have been very happy with it all.

That said, Ubuntu is a great, low-cost alternative, and if I wasn’t happy with my Mac I’d go that route. I believe all of the programs I actually use on a daily basis have versions that will run on Ubuntu, and it will run on fairly low-end hardware. There are several “flavors” that have specific configuration goals – read through the information so you get the right setup for your needs.

You just have to look at what you need your computer for. If you’re doing work that requires high-quality video or audio, go with Mac. If all you do is email, web, and a few letters and spreadsheets, don’t waste your money – go with Ubuntu.

BTW, it only took me about a week to get used to using my Mac so that it became automatic. I expected a much longer learning curve.

CMaz's avatar

“If you’re doing work that requires high-quality video or audio, go with Mac.”
That is a good argument if it was 1992.
So not true today. They both do the job as efficient and equally.

llewis's avatar

Well, opinions differ. This debate has gone on fiercely for years. My husband has a Windows PC, and video/photograph result quality is nowhere near mine on my Mac, so I do anything that involves videos or photographs. I don’t know about Ubuntu with that – I haven’t tried it.

CMaz's avatar

My opinion is based on 25 years in TV production. I have both and have worked with both.

It is “fiercely” debated by people that don’t know better or lack the experience or are just loyal to the product.

Amongst people in the biz. It is a non issue. There are some cost issues to consider, that is pretty much it.

llewis's avatar

@ChaMaz- Are you talking about Windows or Ubuntu? And do you suppose it’s more an issue of hardware rather than OS?

CMaz's avatar

Windows and Mac.

As far as Linux and/or Ubuntu go, or any OS. IT IS more of an OS.

Again depending on what you are doing. Some OS need specialized hardware (black box) to do what it is designed to do.
Editing programs like Flame or smoke are examples. Proprietorially designed (hardware) for their software.

Personally, if there was enough software support for what I/we need to get done. I would toss MS and Mac going to a Linux platform.

llewis's avatar

Yeah, with Windows people tend to look at the “minimum hardware requirements” of their software and think that will run the program adequately; it won’t. Linux will do the same job with less hardware, in many cases.

So, maybe citizenearth should try a Linux version (and I’m not up-to-speed on them, but can vouch for Ubuntu) before coughing up the dough for a Mac.

But as for me, I spent 20+ years doing tech support and then network administration for Windows machines. I would never, ever go back to Windows – especially after having my Mac. Maybe it’s just prejudice, and maybe I’m being unfair. But I spend my computer time getting work done now (when I’m not goofing off on Fluther! :) ), instead of doing computer maintenance. What can I say? I love my Mac.

CMaz's avatar

And, all we need is love. :-)

anoop66's avatar

Why do they always say Mac is awesome for video, audio editing. That sure is true. But I mean there must be other reasons for switching to a mac. I want to know how different it is in everyday functionality, cost n software availability.

CMaz's avatar

“Why do they always say Mac is awesome for video, audio editing. That sure is true.”
Its not true.

Back in the day, when computers were a “specialty” item. When graphic design and video editing moved to the computer. Apple jumped on it. You either used a specialized OS to operate your custom software. Or you used a Mac. Same difference. The IBM platform at the time was more looked at as a data management system.

In the 90’s all the software designers included the ability to not only run their programs on a Mac but on the Microsoft platform as well. Except for Final Cut. Don’t blame them. Making a version that can run on Microsoft would be bad for business.
Mac still had an advantage, Users that were use to it. But, it eventually and quickly became mainstream for both. It really was a no brainier. 76% of the world uses Microsoft. Keeping them out of the loop was not good business.

SO here we are, same software. Does the same thing. On either a Mac or a “PC”.

I have crashed a Mac just as easily as a “PC”.

mrentropy's avatar

@ChazMaz That’s why I hated those dumb “Mac Vs PC” commercials. To me, they seemed targeted to people living in 1986. Portraying a “PC” as a stodgy suit wearing fatso when there’s billions of dollars being made from games on Windows? Hmm… yeah….

And don’t get me started on Apple computers being… personal computers.

CMaz's avatar

And one more thing. People that say… “Mac is awesome for video, audio editing.” Or is the standard for such.

Are just mimicking what they have HEARD and want to believe. Not knowing the history, taking that information at face value.
That is not a bad thing, we all do that from time to time. :-)

mrentropy's avatar

Right. And the Amiga with a Video Toaster is the end all for video editing and production and 3D rendering.

which it could be still, for all I know

CMaz's avatar

Yesss, the video toaster! The first affordable computerized, LINEAR editing system. CMX being the premier workhorse of the time.

Amiga dropped the ball on that one.

Did you ever use an RM440 or a Convergence ECS90? Now I am dating myself.
Though we still have a 440 for beta deck control.

jerv's avatar

One thing people overlook is that most Macs have graphics chips from a laptop; their GPU can’t handle heavy-duty stuff. While a laptop GPU may be adequate for a Macbook, the Mac Mini and lowest iMac can be schooled on graphics by my netbook. The two middle models of iMac have graphics on-par with my $100 budget video card. Only the top-end iMac comes with decent graphics, though the Mac Pro comes with PCI Express slots so you can add any card you want. I guess most Mac users never do rendering (3D graphics, CAD, or gaming).

I will say that they have software that is easier to use, but that doesn’t really make it better in my book, especially since ease of use often comes at the expense of options, versatility, and power.

There is also the matter than much of the Apple lineup still uses Core2 Duos; a dated chip. I will take my $500 Core i3 against any Mac under $2000, probably beat it in performance, and definitely beat it in value. Give me a little time and I could skin the thing so that you’d think it was a Mac… or I could just cheat and make a “Hackintosh”.

And to those that say Macs don’t crash, neither do cars. Seriously though, I’ve seen Macs throw error codes but I have rarely got one from Linux and really haven’t had too many with Windows.

While it’s true that Windows is the least robust of the three systems, don’t make the mistake of dissing PCs just because of Microsoft’s mistakes. And don’t forget that if it wasn’t for BSD (a variant of UNIX, much like Linux), OS X would not exist.

ftp901's avatar

As far as practicality, you can get by just fine with a PC. However, if you want to experience the finer things in life, a Mac will not disappoint.

It’s like the difference between driving a Chevy Cobalt and a Mercedes. The Cobalt will get you wherever you need to go and has the basics but once in a while it’s nice to experience luxury and take a spin in a Mercedes and appreciate a well-designed piece of engineering.

jerv's avatar

@ftp901 Aple does not have a monopoly on god design/engineering. On the PC side, there is a range from Cobalt to Hummer to Bugatti Veyron. It’s just that most of what you see is the lower-tier stuff for much the same reason you see more Corollas than C350s. And considering how many people get a Benz just because it’s a status symbol, I don’t know if I’d want one; Apple has achieved the same status.

Also, there is more to engineering than luxury. If I really wanted to appreciate engineering and had a budget that would allow it, I’d take a professionally tuned Nissan GTR over any stock Benz on the lot. Tuning an Apple (aside from the Mac Pro) is not an option, so you can keep your heated cupholders and turbocharged wiperblades while I go for a more practical form of engineering.

Apple may suit those who completely lack computer skills (practically a certifiable handicap in the 21st century), but public transit suits those who don’t know how to drive. And no matter how how comfortable the seats are, it’s still a bus, and there are some places where it just won’t go.

CMaz's avatar

I want to say something else here…

I am not bashing the Mac. What you feel comfortable with, get. You will not loose out on anything, for the most part. They BOTH are solid productive platforms.

@jerv ‘s analogy is right on.

Some like Chevy, some like ford. Both will get you to the church on time. :-)
And, if you don’t. It is usually operator error, not operational system error.

Sometimes it’s best to take the bus.

jerv's avatar

I don’t mean to bash the Mac either since they do have some admirable qualities.

However they are not gifts from God, nor are they better than sex and/or sliced bread, and most of the people I hear talking them up cite inaccurate facts or just make shit up; often provably false shit at that.

If I could get a 13” Macbook Pro with a Core i5 for under a grand (or on someone else’s dime) right now, I’d jump at it in a heartbeat. But Apple isn’t known for giving people what they want, and definitely not for less than 150% of what it’s actually worth, and I am NOT going to overpay for something that isn’t what I want.

My priorities are different than many people, and I want different things from my computers; things Apple not only does not offer, but (barring major changes in company policy) will never, ever, EVER offer, I personally would never buy a Mac. However, if one of Apple’s offerings are enough for you (and you don’t mind paying more than you should) then Apple is a decent option.

Vincentt's avatar

“But Apple isn’t known for giving people what they want” – no, they’re known for making people want what they give them ;-)

jerv's avatar

@Vincentt Precisely! Of course, it has little/no effect of cynical people who read tech specs instead of scream sheets…

One thing people forget is that Jobs really isn’t all that tech-savvy, at least not for a guy that founded and runs a company that specializes in electronic items. He has imagination and style so he can make something look good, and he has the charisma to sell it to you even if it doesn’t; Apple is pretty much an extension of Jobs so they are largely the same; stylish with great marketing.
By contrast, Bill Gates is a geek, doesn’t always play nice, tries to make his own rules about things, and managed to make homself and Windows essential whether you wanted them or not.

anoop66's avatar

@jerv What you say above is so true. I don’t know if any of you’ve read iCon the book. It gives us an insight into Steve Jobs’ mind. Even in the early Mac designing days, he was all about the packaging, colors and the ‘cool quotient’. And that’s his real strength as well. Apple products may offer less for more bucks but they get full marks for usability and reliability.

Jobs’ keynotes are like hypnotic sessions :D I thought that the iPad was kind of like a toy (a luxury item and not really a necessity) But after the keynote, I would have pretty much bought one right there, if I had extra cash to spare though :)

jerv's avatar

@anoop66 Reliability on Macbooks is actually only average. As for usability… I could set a PC up to do all of the same stuff, or I could just break Apple’s EULA by installing OS X on non-Apple brand hardware (though that part of the EULA, if it hasn’t already been removed, is actually illegal and therefore unenforceable thanks to BSD), but when it comes to “It just works, right out of the box!”, Apple does have the edge.

Then again, all I had to do to set up Ubuntu Netbook Remix was enter the password for my router, so Apple doesn’t have as much of an edge as they used to. Hell, Ubuntu even came with my browser of choice (Firefox)! And my two Win7 systems were totally configured within minutes and less than a dozen mouse-clicks, so anybody who claims that it’s too much work or too hard must have some sort of mental block or something. I say that because many people are convinced that computers are arcane and magical and cannot be understood by humans yet the truth is that they are no more complex than cars. Many people know how to pump their own gas, check their oil and tire pressure, and to some extent operate a car, and you don’t need to know everything about internal combustion engines and suspension to drive, but somehow many people actively refuse even think about contemplating the possibility of learning more about computers than how to get to Facebook for some reason.

However, if it were not for those people then Apple wouldn’t have a customer base for their Macintosh line any more. And with about 40% of Apple’s revenue coming from the iPhone, a substantial hunk of the remainder coming from the iPod, and less than a third coming from computers, I almost have to wonder if Apple is actually phasing out their computer division in favor of other consumer electronics anyways.

And I honestly will be sad if/when that actually happens. Apple has done many good things over the years. They brought computers from the universities and corporations to the average household with the original Apples. They popularized the GUI with the Mac. They practically forced PCs to adopt USB ports (arguably the greatest thing to date just for it’s sheer versatility). They force others to innovate in order to compete. I respect Apple even though they have done quite a few things to make me leap from the Mac-fanatic bandwagon over a decade ago.

citizenearth's avatar

@jerv Thanks for all your inputs. All that are really enlightening! I presume you had been disappointed with Apple for some reasons. Hope you are not a Mac hater as opposed to Mac fanatics who are Windows PC hater?

jerv's avatar

@citizenearth I am pretty much an equal opportunity hater. It’s just that here have been many people extolling the quirks, foibles, and flaws of Windows so there is no need to fuel that fire by stating the obvious.

Too bad most people don’t realize that not all PCs run Windoze though. And those few who do know about Linux have a few misconceptions based on older versions or those that were never really intended to be used by normal (read “non-geeky”) people. I mean, when I installed Ubuntu, I had to tell it that I wanted to install, and then it made me select a language and then I had to click a button…. it was so difficult! I don’t know how I survived the ordeal * sob * I think I might be scarred for life!!

I have to give Apple props for raising the bar on user-friendliness to where Windows had to adopt many of it’s lessons. Of course, Linux doesn’t have the problem Microsoft does with Windows in that if MS wants to change Windows, they have to justify the expense of R&D and testing and all whereas Linux can be changed rapidly at virtually no cost since there are at least tens of thousands of people improving it merely for the sake of writing better software.

What that leads to is simple; if people want it, someone out there will write a Linux version of it possibly with minor alterations to avoid copyright issues. Do you like Mario Kart? Try Tux Racer. Do you want a unified control panel with an easy to use application installer? Most modern versions of Linux have a simple GUI wizard that handles that so you don’t have to do all of the command-line tom-foolery with tarballs and compiling and dealing with package dependencies because some people wanted an easier way, something Mac-like in simplicity, and another group of somebodies bashed out some code to make that happen.

In the end, all three systems have their strong and weak points. It’s just that Apple fanbois tend to be the most delusional and make up the craziest fairy tales, and that provokes a visceral response from me much like the Far Right (Limbaugh, Palin, Beck…) and the uber-Christians do.

And to answer the original question, I do not feel that Macs are superior for a variety of reasons. Apple fanbois can feel as superior as they want, but at the end of the day, they are just another computer company with just another OS, and they have nothing that completely justifies the prices they ask. You can get most of what they have to offer for far less with a PC, and what you can’t get from a PC (mostly good customer support and out-of-the-box usability with no installation/configuration required) is stuff that I wouldn’t pay a dime for anyways since it’s not stuff I care about or actively do not want.

CMaz's avatar

“Apple fanbois tend to be the most delusional and make up the craziest fairy tales”

So true. With all due respect to Mac people.

Their desire to have the “superior” OS tends to cause them to quote out dated information.
That has them playing the pass it on game.

And, to take the time to explain the nuts and bolts of the different Operating Systems and why they operate the way they do can be at the least, tedious.

When it is just easier to throw in old and unsubstantiated information. Or just lack of experience. So many people hate to say. I don’t know. ;-)
The odds are the person they are trying to sell to has less knowledge and history then the person selling the idea.

llewis's avatar

Most of what ChazMaz and jerv have to say has a good basis. I don’t consider myself delusional (is that a symptom of being delusional?), and I don’t consider Apple to be the be-all and end-all of computers. But I know I can do a lot more, a lot faster, and a lot easier than either my husband or I can on his Windows-based PC, or any other Windows PC I have access to (even with my couple of decades of Windows experience and training). I like that I don’t have to work hard at it. I did my “working hard” stuff, and retired from that.

And I like that the Mac OS is essentially Unix. Before anyone starts screaming at me, I don’t know a lot about it – my husband is the Unix guru in the family, and when I need to do something in it I usually call on him! :) But it gives me the flexibility to work in a terminal window and do things that I can’t in the gui, using ordinary Unix commands. (And I know you can work in the cmd window in Windows. But I like Unix better.)

I agree that the most cost-effective course of action for most computing needs would be Linux. There are some specialized things out there that will only run on Windows, but you can find Linux versions for almost everything out there. (If they have a Linux version, they will frequently have a version that will run on Mac’s OSX.) The newer Linux versions are a piece of cake to install and run. I like them. I’ve played with them, but never tried to actually use it on a day-to-day basis; however, I think it would work just fine.

As far as being a Windows-Hater, I guess I probably am. But I have years of experience with it, and it’s probably more like a “hating the ex-boyfriend” thing than anything else. I see all of its flaws, and any/all of its benefits are available elsewhere.

jerv's avatar

“I don’t consider Apple to be the be-all and end-all of computers.”
That puts you miles ahead of many people and makes you non-delusional. You’ve actually tried all of the major OSs, acknowledged the strengths and weaknesses of each, and stuck with the one that works best for you. That makes you pretty intelligent and sane in my eyes.

I agree that some stuff is harder with Windoze, which is why it’s not my favorite OS, but you really can’t beat it for compatibility since most software written is for the OS that has the largest market share by a wide margin.

I see the fact that OS X allows a terminal window as a major improvement over the older Macs (System 6 and 7) as is the fat that they use a modified BSD kernel instead of a totally proprietary technolgy like the older versions, but there are things that I can do with ease on a Windows or Linux system that are still tricky or impossible on a Mac, so OS X will never rise higher than third place on my list. Maybe when OS XI comes out…. assuming I can run it on hardware that costs half what Apple historically charges.

As for working hard, I must’ve been doing this too long since I consider most tasks that many find daunting to be no more difficult than walking to the fridge and grabbing another drink; not actually enjoyable but not hard, only takes a few seconds, and often rewarding especially if there is La Fin du Monde in the fridge.

llewis's avatar

”... but you really can’t beat it for compatibility since most software written is for the OS that has the largest market share by a wide margin.”
Very true! And certainly worth considering!

mrentropy's avatar

@llewis It’s also Microsoft’s biggest problem with Windows. Since Windows is ubiquitous, especially in the business sector, if they want or need to make changes that will break compatibility they can’t do it.

jerv's avatar

WINE is good.

Of course, many servers and government systems actually run Linux these days, but that is rather moot since Linux can handle Windoze stuff with ease so long as Microsoft conforms with internationally accepted communications and file format standards. The only stuff that really causes problems is when MS gets proprietary, like a funky form of XML or certain types of MS Office documents… though OpenOffice can now read even those.

anoop66's avatar

@jerv lts the same for me. I can customise a windows or linux system to suit me just fine. Apple products do have an edge in out of box usability though as u said. That’s a big pro for new users. Windows 7, Linux or anything, you can customise it to be more secure, better looking and less prone to viruses. I love Windows’ software options, Linux’s choices and customisability. As for Mac, i don’t really have that much experience using them.

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