Mac Or PC?
Mac Or PC?
Apple Mac's have popped up on more peoples' radars over the past few years and if you're thinking of buying a new computer you now face an interesting choice - a choice that may seem a little daunting to the uninitiated. Here are the pros and cons of each system to help you make an informed choice about whether you should "Switch".
Step 1: What are the differences?
In the old days, Macs were seen as being good for graphics and creative work, while PC's were better at business and office work. These days the lines are more blurred with both Mac's and PC's making inroads into each other's traditional territories. Mac's and PC's also now use the same Intel hardware beneath their bonnets, which means that from a technology and compatibility standpoint they're closer to each other than ever. The differences are now at their clearest when you compare the software and operating systems they run and the things you can actually do with them. Both are good for everyday use - that is, surfing the internet, sending emails, watching DVD's and so on. But even here we see the difference between them quite clearly marked. A basic PC bought with the minimum you need for performing such basic tasks will cost you a lot less than even the cheapest Mac, but unless you install a few security programs even Windows Vista PC's are vulnerable to viruses and spyware, and should you want to do anything more advanced with your PC at a later date you'll may have to upgrade it's hardware and software. A Mac is much more secure and should therefore last for as long as you need it. It also works pretty much out of the box and they are generally easier to use for the uninitiated. Mac's also come with a complete set of hardware and software for more advanced uses like video editing and web design, so basically you get what you pay for.
Step 2: OS X and Windows Vista
Mac's are easy to use thanks to their operating system or OS. The OS is the beating heart of a computer and defines pretty much every aspect of the user experience. The Mac's OS has long been regarded as superior to Windows, which you'll find on most PC's. The current incarnation, OS X is easy and intuitive to use, very stable (which means it very rarely crashes) and practically immune to the kinds of viruses and harmful programs that hound Windows. Windows Vista has learnt a lot from OS X and "borrows" a lot of it's looks and features from the Mac OS. Vista is generally more stable and secure than it's predecessor, Windows XP, but it still lags behind OS X in many areas. On top of that, while OS X comes in one version that works on every Mac, Vista comes in several versions with varying features, so you'll have to research which one includes all the features you're looking for. The advantage for Vista though, is that users who are used to using PC's may feel more at home with the new version of Windows than they would starting from scratch with OS X.
Step 3: Software
Most of the well known applications like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop are available for the Mac - although it's worth pointing out that the Mac versions of Microsoft's software are usually less featured and less frequently updated than the Windows versions. The big advantage the Mac has is that every machine comes with iLife, Apple's own suite of multimedia programs that allow you to listen to music, edit photos and video, burn professional looking DVD's, easily create websites and even compose music right out of the box. While you can of course buy programs that do the same things for the PC, as free software goes, iLife just can't be beaten. Where OS X falls down is it's lack of support out there in the wider world. Some internet service providers, parts of some websites and some mobile phones don't support the Mac and while it's possible to work around these problems, it's a complication you won't find on a PC.
Step 4: Compatability
PC's also have a clear advantage from their strength in numbers - since most computers in use around the world are PC's, most of the computing world as a whole ends up working with windows by default. They are also still used in most offices and business, so if you're planning to do any work at home you'll probably want a PC as althou