Mac vs PC – How Do You Decide?
I’m regularly asked “Should I buy a Mac or a PC?” It’s a battle not unlike the Hatfields vs the McCoys. For those of you that don’t know the difference, a Mac/Apple (the name is interchangeable) is one manufacturer of both laptop and desktop computers. The inside (operating system or the brain) and the outside (hardware or what you touch) are both designed by Apple. A PC is every other manufacturer of the outside of a laptop or desktop computer (IBM, Sony, Dell, etc.) with the inside manufactured by Microsoft.
The answer to the question “Should I buy a Mac or a PC?” is a question: “Who will you call for help on Sunday afternoon when something goes wrong with your computer?” Your computer lifeline needs to understand the kind of computer that you have. So, if your computer lifeline is your neighbor, your daughter, or your friend next door purchase a PC or Mac according to what they use. You don’t need to buy the exact model they have, but you’ll want to buy a computer that they understand and can help you with.
Let’s call a spade a spade. I’ve been teaching computers for 17 years and I can say with complete confidence that NO COMPUTER is “user-friendly.” That is just damn good marketing. That doesn’t mean you can’t learn to use a computer, whether it is a PC or a Mac, but there’s very little about any computer that is intuitive or friendly. Once you understand some of the techniques necessary to operate it, the computer becomes more intuitive in the same way that driving a car becomes intuitive, but it isn’t any thanks to some of the design choices. Who was the genius that put the Caps Lock key so close to the Shift key? What is the logic of clicking Start to turn off the computer? I could go on… The upside is, like a car, the computer can bring you to wonderful places making it worth the effort to learn how to operate it. And, like a car, you don’t need to understand the nitty and gritty of how it works in order to work it.
It’s true that a Mac is less vulnerable to viruses. That is a definite plus. And it can be argued that the inside of a Mac may have been or still is better, lusher, or more advanced than a PC, but you and I won’t ever notice the difference. If you’re a graphic designer, a Mac is probably a better idea. For us, the average user, both a Mac and a PC will equally meet our needs with e-mail, word-processing, and the Internet. If you’re comfortable with whichever kind of computer you already have, there’s no reason to succumb to pressure because someone you know LOVES their Mac or PC. Will they be there to help you when with a computer question or problem?
If you decide to change from PC to Mac or vice versa, you can make the transition with same patience required with a new spouse. They’ll be good days and bad days and eventually you’ll hit a comfort level with all the changes. A different operating systems does require that you purchase all new software which can be pricey. Research the cost of whatever software you have on your existing computer before you make the change.
No matter the pressure or hard sell that comes your way, your computer choice is YOURS to make. Hold fast to what suits your needs, wallet, and comfort level. Tell them I said so!
For more on Mac vs PC visit Chapter 6 (p. 47) in “Is This Thing On?”