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Mac* vs. PC Debate

There are certain two-sided debates that are just destined to be eternal. Chocolate vs. vanilla. Snowboarding vs. skiing. And if we skip over politics, the biggest ongoing discussion has to be the one that’s dominated the technological world for well over two decades: the Mac* vs. PC debate.

 

Fortunately, this debate has actually been the catalyst for ongoing improvements for both platforms, making them more intuitive, powerful, and user-friendly. And with the stunning Ultrabook™ as the latest product, the future of both PCs and Macs looks increasingly exciting!

 

Mac vs. PC: The Winner is… All of Us

Today’s computer users live in a veritable golden age when it comes to choosing computing devices. In truth, there’s no clear winner in the Mac vs. PC contest. Instead, both devices have significant developments. Both platforms now can come equipped with Intel® Core™ processors that result in impressive performance. In addition, both Mac and PC demonstrate increased memory; larger hard drive space; better stability and more availability than four years ago. However, differences remain: the PC and Ultrabook™ are widely available with touchscreens, but Apple has yet to release a Mac or MacBook* with integrated touchscreen technology. Retina display, which greatly reduces glare and reflection, is a feature on MacBook Pro* and iPad*, but is less common on PCs.

 

Compatibility

While the main operating system for Apple is OSX*, and PCs operate on Microsoft Windows*, only Macs have the capability to run both. Naturally, both systems continue to develop faster and more powerful versions of these operating systems that are increasingly user-friendly and more compatible with handheld devices.

 

And though the PC tends to dominate in the workplace, many software programs for professional use–including Microsoft Office* and the Adobe Creative Suite*–have versions for both operating systems. When it comes to apps for leisure purposes, it’s important to realize they’re not only for handheld devices. There are numerous web-based applications that replace the necessity for installing software on your computer by letting you perform all of the functions in the web browser. This may sound complicated, but you’re probably familiar with some of them already. Think about Flickr* for online photo managing and sharing, Pinterest* for online scrapbooking, YouTube* apps for streaming your favorite videos, and Qusic*, which alerts you to new releases from your favorite musical artists.

 

Reliability

When it comes to reliability, the Mac vs. PC debate has had some interesting developments of late. Though the majority of PC users know their devices are vulnerable to malware and viruses, Mac users this past year have certainly awoken to the fact that Macs are also vulnerable to sophisticated attacks. Ultimately, both PC and Mac users are safer after installing up-to-date antivirus software designed to protect their devices from malicious hits.

 

Even when it comes to repairs, both operating systems have made great strides. Though it’s still advised to take a broken Mac to an Apple Genius Bar* in an authorized Apple dealership, there are more locations than there were a few years ago. PC users enjoy a broader range of choices, from their local electronics dealer to a repair center at a major department store, though it remains their own responsibility to choose a repair service that’s up to their PC manufacturer’s standards.

Since PCs and Macs hit the market, the debate has existed over which is best. Depending upon who you're talking to, the PC vs. Mac debate is often even hotter than politics or religion. While you have many who are die-hard Microsoft PC users, another group exists that is just as dedicated to Apple's Mac*. A final group exists in the undecided computer category.

Cost

For many users, cost is key. You want to get the absolute most for your money. In years past, PCs dominated the budget-friendly market, with Macs ranging anywhere from $100 to $500 more than a comparable PC. Now this price gap has lessened significantly. However, you will notice a few key features that Macs tend to lack in order to provide a lower price: memory and hard drive space.

Memory

Most PCs have anywhere from 2 GB to 8 GB of RAM in laptops and desktops, while Macs usually have only 1 GB to 4 GB. Keep in mind, this is for standard models, not custom orders.

Hard drive space

Macs typically have smaller hard drives than PCs. This could be because some Mac files and applications are slightly smaller than their PC counterparts. On average, you will still see price gaps of several hundred dollars between comparable Macs and PCs. For computing on a budget, PCs win.

There are a few things to take into consideration that may actually make Macs more cost effective: stability and compatibility.

Stability

In years past, PCs were known to crash, and users would get the “blue screen,” but Microsoft has made their operating systems more reliable in recent years. On the other hand, Mac hardware and software have tended to be stable, and crashes occur infrequently.

Compatibility

Unlike with a PC, a Mac can also run Windows. If you want to have a combination Mac and PC, a Mac is your best option.

Availability

Macs are exclusive to Apple. This means for the most part, prices and features are the same no matter where you shop. This limits Mac availability. However, with the new Apple stores, it’s even easier to buy Macs and Mac accessories.  Any upgrades or repairs can only be done by an authorized Apple support center.

PCs, on the other hand, are available from a wide range of retailers and manufacturers. This means more customization, a wider price range for all budgets, repairs, and upgrades available at most electronics retailers and manufacturers. It also makes it easier for the home user to perform upgrades and repairs themselves as parts are easy to find.

Software

The final Mac vs. PC comparison comes down to software. For the most part, the two are neck and neck. Microsoft has even released Microsoft Office specifically for Mac, proving Apple and Microsoft can get along. All and all, Macs are more software compatible as PCs only support Windows friendly software. Both systems support most open-source software. Software for both systems is user friendly and easy to learn.

In the end, the choice comes down to personal preference. Due to price and availability, PCs tend to be the winner, while Macs remain the choice for the more elite or anti-Microsoft computer users.

Read Inside Scoop for our thoughts on technology, life, and culture.

Resources:
Diffen: http://www.diffen.com/difference/Mac_vs_PC
Popular Mechanics: http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/gadgets/tests/4258725
Mac vs. PC: http://macvspc.info/pages/01f-pc_myths_debunked.html

More Information

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