Photo (cc) by New Technik
I started using PCs when I was 10 years old. When I entered college, my uncle bought me a Dell desktop. It was only after joining my school newspaper two years into college that I sat in front of my first Apple – an iMac.
I was completely lost.
The mouse only had one button, not two. There was no “start” icon in the bottom corner. I went into panic mode and quickly asked my editor how it worked. But after a few months, I was hooked. The iMac simply made me more productive. Moving through applications was a breeze and the work went faster.
I still had my PC at home, though, and no one in my family cared enough about my technology reform to buy me an Apple, perhaps because it cost nearly double its PC counterpart. So I cut back on eating out and everywhere else I could, saved up some cash, and eventually bought my own MacBook Pro notebook.
That’s my story – but that doesn’t mean it would be yours. Check out this breakdown and make your own call.
Price winner: PC
There’s no arguing that you can find PCs that cost less than Apples. One example: A new iMac will set you back $1,300, while a new line of “All-in-Ones” running Microsoft Windows start at $1,000. PCs can also be more inexpensively upgraded. A custom-built PC desktop can cost one-third less than an iMac competitor.
Don’t stop at the final number, though. Look at storage, memory, and processing speed. Otherwise you won’t be (you knew this was coming, right?) apples to apples.
Hardware design winner: Apple
Apple wins this category because of how they produce and package a ready-to-use, simple system.
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs put a heavy emphasis on simplicity. He once said, “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” Apple’s hardware components are implemented and designed better, which means better performance. When it comes to design elegance, Apple is the master.
Operating system winner: Apple
When Windows 8 was released in 2012, avid PC users jumped with zeal into a fresh, new operating system. A modern user interface with bold colors and touch gestures replaced the tired desktop look. Meanwhile, Apple’s latest operating system – Mountain Lion – has the ability to sync your data and put it on any of your Apple devices.
Although Microsoft’s SkyDrive is better at managing files stored in the cloud, Apple’s iCloud services are better at providing everyday functionality, like Calendars, Reminders, and Notes. With Apple, the union between your Mac, iPad, and iPhone is seamless. The same comfort doesn’t happen with your PC, tablet, and Android devices. In the last year, Microsoft has improved their cloud services for their computers, tablets, and phones, but they’re still not on par with Apple’s.
Software winner: PC
PCs running Microsoft Windows have always enjoyed an advantage in the amount of software available. Recently, however, both sides have been trying to more tightly control software distribution. Apple is pushing for developers to distribute applications through their App Store. With Windows 8, Microsoft is likewise hoping its Metro-style user interface catches on and apps can be distributed in a similar online store.
Options winner: PCs
There are dozens of different PC manufacturers, but only one Apple. While all PCs run identical Windows operating systems, they’re not the same. An HP looks different from a Dell, which looks different from a Lenovo. There are dozens of sizes, resolutions, components, and companies to choose from in the PC world. Not so with Apple.
If you like variety, look into a PC.
Compatibility winner: Apple
There is really no compatibility. An application built for Windows is meant to be run on Windows, while an application written for Apple is meant for Apple. But there is an alternative for Mac users: you can easily install Windows on a Mac and run it just like any other Windows computer, but you can’t install OS X on a Windows computer unless you’ve built it yourself using very specific hardware components. Mac users: see Bootcamp and Parallels options to run Windows on your machine.
My personal choice: Apple
My logic? It’s better to do one thing well than do lots of things sort of well. Apple delivers a product that’s simple, well-made, and with an intuitive experience right out of the box.
If you’ve ever stood in the grocery store trying to decide which peanut butter to buy, you may appreciate the simplicity.
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