The platform wars are over. And you won.
I’m Leo Notenboom for askleo.com.
I got a question the other day, actually, yesterday. Someone was asking me about two computers that they were considering. One was a Macintosh laptop, MacBook and the other, I believe, was a Lenovo which is actually a computer I can also recommend myself, and asking me to compare and contrast, which one would I choose, what would I do, that kind of thing.
And it got me to thinking about something that I’ve been thinking about for actually a couple of years now and that is that ultimately, I think the whole Mac vs. PC debate is over or irrelevant.
The issue is that so much of what we’re doing today is online that what platform you’re using to do it on is pretty much irrelevant be it email, certainly web surfing, even sharing photos and to some degree, some amount of video, it all kind of sort of works no matter what platform you’re running on.
Now, personally, I consider myself “platform agnostic”. What that means is that I honestly am not particularly tied or the other. Yes, by virtue of my job experience, my expertise is more deeply rooted in Windows and Microsoft products but the fact is I’m running Macintoshes. I’ve got a Mac Pro for my desktop; I’ve got a MacBook Pro for my laptop these days and of course I run Windows on them.
I run virtual machines. You’ve probably heard me talk about virtual machine technology that allows me to run Windows and Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows 7, all the different versions of Windows in separate windows on each of these PCs. And indeed on both of my Macs I have at least one installation of Windows. I tend to prefer the PC version of Microsoft Office for example so I tend to gravitate towards that but that’s a preference.
There are certainly Mac versions of all of the above, and on top of that, I also have Linux servers. I’ve got a Linux box in my basement that I use for a few things (mostly backing up) and the actual Ask Leo! server itself is running a variant of Linux.
So, with the kind of whole Mac/PC debate really being relegated to irrelevancy, what do you make your decisions based on? How do you determine what kind of computer to get? And, the thinking that I’ve been coming to is it really is all about support.
When something goes wrong, and don’t get me wrong, something will go wrong regardless of what platform you choose, there will be hardware problems, there will be software problems, something will happen, it always does.
Who are you going to turn to? When you’re making a decision about what platform, what computer to get, one of the important characteristics I think you need to think about is what is your circle of support? By that I mean, when something goes wrong, who can you reach out to?
Are there hardware resources available to you if the computer has a hardware problem? Are there software resources available to you? Q&A sites, services that you are familiar with and comfortable with that you can reach out to when you have a problem? What are your friends running? Are your friends going to be able to help you should you have an issue? Do you have a knowledgeable techie friend and is he tied to a specific platform or not?
Now, this is all beside the point that maybe, it may be the fact that your work or your school is actually answering this question for you already. You may need to get a Windows based machine because that’s what your work is based on.
If you want to take work home with you, maybe there’s software that your company uses, maybe there’s a remote access tool that your company uses that fundamentally require that you run Windows. Question answered. Ditto for a Mac. Ditto for Linux for that matter.
There are Linux based workplaces out there as well. The same is true for school. When you are going to school, what is the requirement? Much of what’s going on in school these days is online so it may not matter what platform you have in which case you can start thinking about things like your support and your ability to get things fixed.
On the other hand, it may be again, driven by what your school or your teachers or whatever have standardized. So, once you get past those kinds of requirements, think a little bit more about support; about how you’ll get your questions answered; how you’ll get your hardware fixed; how you’ll get your software repaired when something goes wrong.
Now I will tell you that my path that took me to a Mac is a little bit different but it’s also could be instructive. As you might imagine after I’ve worked at Microsoft for many years, I left there with a lot of Windows experience. It’s what I’ve basically based a lot of what I do on and one of the reasons I’m very comfortable in the Windows environment to this day.
My servers ended up being Linux based almost entirely and that was a wonderful learning experience for me. As I hope you realize, much of what I do with Ask Leo! and even what I’m doing right now is for me, a form of play. I’m learning things all the time and you’ll see why here in a second. I ended up getting a Mac because I heard about a feature in a piece of software that was available on a Mac only and that feature is in the video editing software that I’m using to process this video after I’m done recording it.
The feature is simply that it can take multiple different sources like camera here, and it works, I’ve got a camera over here and the audio that’s being recorded that’s actually going to a little recorder I’ve got in my back pocket, I take all of those files and Final Cut Pro, on the Mac allows me to synchronize those and it allows me to switch the view, do the various things with a multi-camera set up while I’m in the video editing software.
It’s actually pretty cool. Fundamentally, that’s why I have a Mac. I got a MacBook Pro when my laptop needed replacing and I ran Final Cut on that. Then, last year, when I decided it was time for a new desktop, the new Mac Pro, the paint can, as I call it, came out. And that’s what my desktop machine is. Now, the interesting about all of these, both of these, is that they both also run Windows.
I have Windows on both of these machines in virtual machines so I can run my Windows software. I can do what I need to do in Windows. I have ham radio software that absolutely has to run in Windows. I can do that in Windows on my Mac.
Again, a lot of the decisions driven by software. Not an adherence to one platform or the other; not a particularly religious feeling that this platform is better than the other. A lot of it’s moot in my opinion.
So when you’re thinking about what kind of a machine to get, when you’re thinking about what platform should you look at, look at them both, look at them all. See what which ones you like. See which ones fit your budget.
See which ones you believe you’ll be able to get help with when you need help. And choose based on that. It no longer has to be about some kind of oh you can only do that on a PC for 90% of what we do every day.
Like I said, email, web surfing, any platform will do that. It’s when you get into these odd cases where you may have something that’s specific but for most users, for most computer users, the average home user, it’s just not an issue. Get what you like.
Now, if you’ve viewing this video anywhere but on AskLeo.com, I’m going to put a link right here and you can go to that link and leave your comments on this video.
As I’ll explain next week, I don’t have comments turned on for YouTube. I have comments turned on at Ask Leo!. That’s where the discussion happens; that’s where moderation happens; that’s where I read every comment and respond to many of them. I would love to hear what you think about the old Mac vs. PC debate. Is it even relevant for you anymore? If it is or if it isn’t, why?
Why is it still an issue? I’d love you to hear from you. I’d love to understand what people believe especially if it’s different than what I’ve just outlined for you.
That being said, see ya there. I hope you have a great week. Thanks for watching.
108 comments on “Mac versus PC: It’s Over”
I kind of agree with you Leo… but… if you want a general purpose PC, you want windows*, but if you want to do video/graphics, Apple has the lead by miles.
*and again, Apple has the lead here. Most apple users run a windows VM, i know of very few windows users who run an apple VM,
People would LOVE to run an Apple VM. But they can’t. The closest thing is a “Hackintosh” which tries to run MacOS on generic PCs. The Apple OS is VERY tightly tied to Apple hardware.
Apples are great general purpose machines. Not sure what you’re getting at there.
Please tell me.. exactly how does Mac platform have that edge for graphics/video ??
I just checked my calendar to make sure it wasn’t at least the year 2000. I can’t think of one area of graphics/video where a Mac has an advantage.
Hardware? Macs graphics cards are no different in spec than a PC. CPUs are no different in spec. Memory is memory. Screen resolution is the same, etc. The differences really come down to aesthetics.
Software? For most of the supposed superiority of graphics applications such as Photoshop, It all comes from Adobe and has identical functionality.
Other application vendors are same same.
The differences come down to interface and if a competent user can’t work out how to transition from one to the other, they’re not competent. In fact, once the finished artwork or media file has left the designer’s computer and moves to production, it travels to a PC as that’s what most, if not all printshops use for their equipment.
Claiming Macs are superior to PCs for graphics/media is just an uninformed cliché.
MAC vs PC in GRAPHICS, April fools day already passed, dont even think a mac will outperform my PC in video rendering, NO WAY…
Totally Agree. As a ICT student the only gear I get to play with is PC as I scavenge old gear and run Linux boxes as well. TAFE offers through the MSDNAA & DreamSpark programs offering free software usage for training purposes. The buy in for iMac gear is beyond my reach at the moment, so all my expertise lies with PC and Windows – cant talk noob users in to Linux as their afraid of the learning curve. which means if I am helping people with a new purchase I veer away from apple as I dont know its capabilities and cant support it anyway.
Ross, I firmly agree with your comments and the type of computing system is a decision based on need. I can always take an older system, place a Linux distro on it and do general tasking work. This concept provides a cheap solution for college students on a budget – Mint and Zorin (Linux distros) allow easier adjustment for non-linux users. Both UI’s are close too Windows 7. As with the video, it could be personal preference and/or work or school related, but the decision is need and cost. MACs are generally more expensive than PCs, but offer software specific advantages than a Windows based system.
Mac Vs. PC isn’t over for the people who are still fighting for one team or the other!
Although it seems to me that it’s turned more into hardware loyalty than OS loyalty, IE ‘Apple products look better, so they are better’. Which is of course subjective. Most of the reasons for loyalty that people have are incredibly non-technical in nature, based on appearances and reputation. I just talked to someone who said they were buying a new MacBook because ‘USB Type-C is the kind of innovation you’d only find on a Mac’. Never mind that it was available on an Android tablet (the Nokia N1, I believe) since last year, and is also on the new Chromebook Pixel. They wanted their computer to be better than everybody else’s, so they decided it was. I’ve seen people do very similar things with the Surface Pro (my tablet has a detachable keyboard, innovation!).
I personally buy PCs, mainly because yes, I could run a Windows VM on a Mac, but why not just skip that layer (and the overhead that comes with it), and buy hardware with a better price/performance ratio? Building and upgrading computers can be fun! And it’s not like you can’t run VMs on Windows – I’ve got a Windows 10 preview set up that way.
As to your video editing needs… I find it difficult to believe that Final Cut is so head and shoulders above any other video editing suite, mainly based on the software I see my video-production friends use on their Macs – they are using Avid Media Composer or Premiere Pro. Though for all I know, Final Cut used to be better than the competition, but now everyone is pretty much equal.
In conclusion – you are right, for most all users, there’s little functional reason to choose one over the other.
Yes, certain machines have their own niches. But, yes, VM ware lets one build put an MS Windows environment onto a Mac. The obverse is true as well. You can install a Mac partition, with very little effort onto a Windows machine. If you can do a simple search for “Mac OS VM install” in your favorite engine, you should see several links to both video and text how-to-do it articles and demos. This was partially led by the Linux community and I know several individuals who have multiple VM partitions running a few different flavors of Linux as well as Mac OS on native Windows machines. So, it comes down to whatever you are comfortable and familiar with, along with what your wallet can afford. As for myself, it doesn’t matter, I have been known to moan about handling and speed of processing, but I’m comfortable with several machines and OSes, since most companies won’t cater if it’s not something in their current inventory just because you don’t like it.
It’s a subject I’m sick of hearing about.
There are a FEW of us who still remember the AMIGA…
I remember Amiga very well. I have owned just about every model from the original 1000 to a 1200T any many in between. It’s really a shame that Commodore destroyed them. In their day they were vastly superior to both the PC and MAC.
You sound like me! Imagine what the world would be like if Commodore management had a brain and the vision to develop the Amiga to its full potential! There might not even be a Windows computer today… and perhaps not even a Mac!
My wife’s Amiga 3000 (successor to her 1000, then 500, then 2000) is now semi-retired, i.e. it’s still plugged in but little used. But that’s only because she has the Amiga Forever emulator on her Windows 7 Prp Dell Vostro, and an external floppy drive. And she agrees with all of the above loyalists.
I agree. Most of what I do is online. Even most of my “Office” type work is routinely done in Google Docs. Most of my offline work is editing of JPEGs, which is just much faster to do offline, and I regularly edit sound files with Audacity. I stick with Windows because it is what I know and because it is so much cheaper, at least with the lower end machines. The Mac hardware is beautiful but just too expensive for me.
I agree with you up to a point. I occasionally run OSX, and because my wife will never leave Windows, I also run Windows, but I pretty much can do everything I need to do on Linux: I develop on Linux, browse on linux, maintain a blog, a facebook page, a twitter feed and two mailing lists on Linux, do bookkeeping and correspondence on Linux, etc. The ONLY thing I do for myself on Windows is my taxes, and I could do even that on Linux if I trusted web-based tax preparation. For me the debate has been over for a long time, except for one thing. I buy PC hardware because I can’t see paying Apple bundles of money for overpriced hardware. So I buy a cheaper laptop and a dirt cheap custom-built desktop, install VirtualBox, and run both Windows and OS X on VirtualBox. The debate now, I think, is Android vs. iOS, and here’s the reason: Apple has made every attempt to close off it’s environment, so that if you buy one Apple device, you must buy Apple, or Apple-blessed, if you want another device to talk to the first, and your choice of hardware is very limited. Android, on the other hand, comes in so many devices that the difficulty is which one to choose. For me the best part of Android is the fact that I can develop for Android on Linux, using the Android Studio development environment and the Android x86 port. Try doing that with iOS, on any other platform besides Apple’s.
I always go with Windows PCs and laptops. Not just because I have used Windows for 17 years and know how to maintain it and fix problems on it but also because in my experience, Windows PCs and laptops are ALWAYS cheaper than Mac ones – at least they are in the UK, where I live.
All my family and friends have Windows PCs and/or laptops too, probably for the same reason: because they are a lot cheaper than Macs! And I am their go-to person whenever they have software or hardware problems and I have never yet failed to resolve them :-) The only two people I know who have Macs are my best friend’s son and daughter and they are a graphic designer and a fashion designer respectively and Macs are considered superior for their purposes. But if they ever have problems with their Mac laptops, I cannot help them because I know nothing at all about Macs. So when Lauren had a major problem with her Mac, she had to send it away to get fixed and pay heavily for the service :-(
Is the issue not that some things might be better on Windows and some elsewhere but one does not necessarily wish to learn multiple, potentially confusing, user interfaces (you Leo seem to use three), so one is forced to choose?
I used to be 100% anti-Mac. I felt that they were overpriced and you could *never* get the absolute bleeding-edge hardware on a Mac that you can get on a PC. (e.g. when a new video chip was released by nVidia or AMD, it always took 6+ months to see it in a Mac, if you ever saw it at all, whereas it would take a month or less to appear in the PC market.)
Anyway, the “bleeding-edge hardware” thing is still true — but there’s a reason behind it. Apple wants to be 100% certain that any hardware they choose to use in their machines is as reliable as possible, and thus they will not take chances with unproven hardware.
The price thing is no longer really true — if you compare apples to apples (no pun intended). Take a Dell XPS laptop (their ultra-thin, all-metal one that’s comparable to the MacBook Air) and configure it *exactly* the same way as a MacBook Air (same CPU, same RAM, same screen-size and resolution, same flash-based storage, same warranty, etc., etc) and you’ll find that the price is generally within 5% or so, depending on who’s having a sale or not.
So, I’ve gradually come around to owning Apple products. The thing that really decided it for me was this: I can do *any* Windows thing that I need to do on a Mac, because I can run Windows in a VM or a dual-boot setup on a Mac. The reverse is not true — I cannot run OS X on a PC without major hassles. (And, of course, Linux will run on anything, so it doesn’t matter if I have a Mac or a PC, I can still do Linux stuff.)
When I started to have to develop mobile apps for work, there was no computer other than a Mac that would allow me to develop for iOS, Android, *and* Windows Phone. So that was pretty much the clincher for me buying a Mac.
So I have a Mac as my primary computer because it is the most versatile — I can run OS X, Windows, and Linux on one single computer. Can’t do that on anything but a Mac.
It isn’t over for me.
I switched to the Mac because it was a pleasure to use. I put it to sleep and with one click of my mouse It opens in less than five seconds.
Previously, I had a Dell desktop windows and I had a virus protector, and two other kinds of protection software installed to protect me.
When I wanted to open my system it took a lot longer, many minutes in fact before I could start surfing or doing anything because all my protectors
were checking things out. With my Mac I haven’t put in a virus protector, nor any of the other things you automatically install with Windows because you
need it to protect your machine from being taken over by some bad guy. Maybe Mac has those things installed also but I don’t know it and I haven’t once
had an issue with intrusion in the five years I’ve had my Mac.
If you have an AV program plus two other forms of protection, you may have two forms too many. Let’s hope the other two aren’t AV programs as you’ll end up in a catfight with those three sorting each other out. If it’s not AV, what are the other ‘things’?
I chose to stick with a Windows PC because I have a Xbox.
I tend to agree Leo, 90% of what I do is online. I have those one or two applications that I use for banking and amateur radio that only seem to run on Windows.
If they would run on Linux I would have probable switched to Mint a while back but for now Windows 7 Pro meets all of my needs. I find the Mac products to be quality based and user friendly but maybe not so friendly to the wallet. I too like to learn constantly, at my age it keeps the mind sharp and since I am still working in this field I have many resources to call on to get me over any stumbling blocks, (you included) . I enjoy the articles and the advice so a heartfelt thank you for all you do. de AF0X
I run window’s pc’s because I only know a little and it’s about windows….bought first pc in 1993, keep up the great work Leo
Excellent job handling this question Leo.
I have used both platforms for many years and worked as a MAC Tech Support and trainer years ago as well as a Windows architect more recently. I currently run a MAC Book Pro with Mac, Linux, Windows 7, and 10 virtual machines. This gives me the ability to keep up to date with multiple platforms. Also I can keep my primary OS clean and working while, by using snapshots of the VM’s, test software, beta applications, etc and quickly get back to a working state should something go wrong. A fantastic solution for QA testers, and anyone who likes to play with latest software releases.
Great video- one thing you didn’t include/I didn’t hear was the concept of what platform people KNOW. I don’t think I would say windows is better than apple, but it would be necessary for me to learn from scratch basic activities, and i would find that too time consuming. thanks, russ
That was very interesting and took a lot of the mystery out of the always burning question for me. As just a home user now, my knowledge on this subject has always been limited. My belief, for whatever reason was that a Mac was just better, basically because the reputation and that of the price. Kind of like folks having this myth about Harley Davidson motorcycles being “the best”. I have debunked that myth in my mind by owning other brands now.
Thanks for the insight.
I worked as a COBOL programmer, starting in 1979. Even though IBM was everything, I bought a Mac for the home in 1984 because I realized that unless you used a computer constantly, you couldn’t memorize all those commands. Now that PC’s run Windows, I am a pc owner. You didn’t mention cost. Mac’s are more expensive than PC’s and that is a consideration for many of us.
Also If one has sufficient budget, it’s good to have both.
Windows for Gaming and accessing 98% of softwares or for everything.
Mac for especially accessing 2% of those rare softwares. And let’s not forget, for show-offs haha
i can get more done in less time with the right software tools on an old windows 7 pc.
i challenge you! =)
My PC was purchased in January, 2004 from ZT Group in New Jersey as a custom configuration of components mounted in an Antec tower case providing a good power supply and four 3.5″ hard drive slide-in slots. In 2008 I rebuilt this computer with a new Intel DP35DP motherboard and faster 3 gHz Intel E8400 Core 2 duo processor. I Over the years I have added an eSATA port and 4 USB3 ports. It has two Optical CD/DVD Read/Write drives, and SD Card ports. It has four internal hard drives and four external hard drives providing almost 8 TB of drive space. The graphics board was upgraded to an NVDIA GeForce 8800GT Display Adapter. It started out as an XP machine and now runs Windows 7. I also have a Lenovo laptop with Windows 8.1 (corrected with Stardock software) and instead of upgrading my desktop to Windows 8.x I am watching for the progress on Windows 10. I have made good use of the ability to expand the capabilities of this machine with pci and pci express bus slots. Now, eleven years later, this big old desktop is still very quick and functional. When my current hardware becomes too old or obsolete, I expect to rebuild this machine again. My wife has always had Macintosh computers. In my experience, whenever we look for software to do a new function, there seems to be about five or ten choices for the Windows environment for each choice for the Mac environment, and often the Windows software provides better functionality than what we can find for the Mac.
I have not heard of any Macintosh custom machines providing this kind of long term expansion and customization capabilities.
As I listen to this Video on my Android Tablet, I realized that I do most of my stuff (Web surfing, email, causal games) on it. When I need something with real power I use my Windows PC. This reminded me of the days early in my career as a Mainframe application developer, when we didn’t see the PC as a threat.
Thanks. Excellent response to the Mac-PC question. I dislike aspects of Linux, Windows and Mac alike, but I get the best service for the Windows platform so that’s where I am. I recommend Macs to my video, musician and graphics artist friends. It appears the Mac has the best software out there for those uses, and decent service is available for the Mac.
I’ve never owned an Apple product. I refuse to pay unjustifiable, inflated prices for devices that are really no better than what the competition offers. I suppose the diehard Apple fans would buy a steaming pile of horse manure if it had an Apple tag on it.
I ran a small VAR biz for 10 years and this issue was always coming up.
An Apple guy visited me one day and asked if I was interested in doing 3rd party MAC service. I told him I needed a month to do some research and would let him know. In that interval, a friend called me about a Mac problem. I asked her to bring it in. There was a long pause “but it weighs 20 pounds and I don’t have a box”. So I made a house call (something I rarely did – I couldn’t justify the invoice for my time). Turns out she had a virus, to which, in a rage, she replied “That’s impossible! Macs are designed not to get a virus”
Grudgingly, she threw the whole kit in the back seat of her car, and schlepped it to the local dealer and signed ‘something’. They kept the Mac for a week and had to re-format the drive without telling her – seems this is or was the policy of Apple, otherwise they would get involved in the messy business of saving customer’s data. She got the Mac back with a $250 invoice – never switched it on. As far as I know her Mac is still in the bottom of the cupboard behind the ski boots where its been for the last 18 years.
My decision to handle Mac service had been made for me. Fortunately, we’re still friends.
Leo, great talk. I have arrived at the same conclusion, I use MACs in my studio (recording) because I run Logic Pro, and several mac-specific programs. I use a PC in my office because of MS Office, but I haven’t tried a MAC running windows. I do lament that my MAcbook laptop is one generation out of being able to upgrade to the newest OS, so is becoming obsolete for the newer functions. I don’t know if Apple does this on purpose, or if it is a necessity, but it is somewhat annoying to have to replace a perfectly working computer. I appreciate your work, and have been listening for some years.
That’s one of the prices of progress. New capabilities are developed which need more fire power. When I upgrade, I always find some use for my old hardware. Sometimes that means giving it to someone who only needs a computer for the web, email and a little office functionality.
My son who is deep into music production uses mac’s. I am more into photography and video. I recently built a 1:7 4ghz 32 gig ram, 1200 watt power supply, 512 ssd 64 bit, plus of course 1tb internal 1tb usb 3 external for back ups. Saying all that to say this, I built a “beast”, it processes hd video in real time or better, can open fifty photos at once in photoshop ect.
I as other comments have said have no less than six video editing programs installed from which to choose depending on complexity of coding I want to do vs. speed of set up ect.
Having played with my sons (same basic specs) I just dont see a reason for argument about which is “best”. You can build, yourself anything you need in pc. I dont see that possibility with macs. For me, a builder who loves to play with the guts of the box almost as much as use it, it’s a no brainer for me.
I tend to agree with Mike Gaskin, For music Garage Band is good, but Logic Studio is far superior to anything available for Windows. I got my son an iMac when he was doing his Music Technology degree, although apart from the Apple he has a Windows laptop and a desktop.
Great video Leo
Leo, that was kind of un-satisfying. What I, and I suspect most people, wanted from that was your thoughts about whether the significant price difference between Windows and Apple machines can be rationalized. Your own choices of Apple hardware seems more informative than anything you said. I’m curious why you prefer the Apple hardware. Since your choices must have involved more than a coin toss, I really want to know what specifically influenced your choices.
I agree with Sheri. The issue is, as it has always been, cost. I have always liked Macs and had to use them at work. But when it came to selecting a computer for my home use, I’ve always had PCs based on their lower cost.
Any thoughts on which is more vulnerable to malware/viruses? Last I heard, Apple has the advantage here.
I’ve been using Windows/DOS since 1987. Recently (2 yrs ago) I got a Mac. My view had always been that every year or two, Windows needs to be reinstalled, as the registry gets gummed up and no amount of cleaning and defragging will help. 2 yrs on, the Mac appears to be running as fast as it did when new. Macs also seem to either be more resistant to virus attacks (or less targetted). The interface is quite good but this is purely a preference. Macs are more expensive but seem to give equivalent performance with lower memory and CPU speed. I prefer the drive system on Windows (or possibly have just become more comfortable with it). If I could go back to 1987, I would probably choose the Mac but I accept that both systems have their own aspects. FWIW, Macs may be made up to a better (hardware) standard and the componentry appears to be of a better compliance. In the old days, Windows were a headache with incompatibility issues. This is less of a problem now but hasn’t quite “gone away”.
Most of your comment is just wrong… I generally have my “home made” Windows machines for 5-7 years and have NEVER re-installed Windows on any of them… nor felt the need to. You are right about malware… Apple products are a smaller target but… writing malware for the Apple OS is not difficult for motivated programers and to be honest… as far as security solutions go… Apple OS is virtually “wide open” so when malware strikes the Apple OS… when they do finally get around to it… the solution is a complete OS “upgrade” not a fix for the existing OS. This works when malware attacks are infrequent, but should Apple become as big a target as Windows machines, rolling out a new version of the OS would not be very practical for every malware attack. While the Apple OS might use equivalent hardware slightly more efficiently than Windows… For much less money, you can build a Windows based PC that will blow away any Apple machine with whatever optional hardware that can be ordered from Apple at that time. Given the Apple business model, had Apple won the PC race 30 years ago… we would be running processors 10 generations prior to what is available today and paying 5 times as more for much inferior hardware, packaged in a pretty box, for people who are marketed into believing that buying the “sizzle” and not the “steak” is the right choice!
Excellent presentation and analysis of the question “Mac or PC”. I am a retired chemistry and physics teacher (2007) and since then I have been providing computer tech support. Many of my clients ask me this question. What should I purchase or what should I use? Your take on this is right on! Thanks Leo for putting this together. It will go in to my items to save folder…for a refresh as time goes on. You should get this video presentation out in to the general viewing area. I suspect that you have already placed it on You Tube but in addition it is good enough to go to some television stations. If you go that route it would have to be reduced in time because TV networks provide very little time for presentations.
Hi, Leo! I enjoyed your clip but i think that you did not address the issue of “clunkiness,” Every windows machine i have ever had, both desktop and laptop, were and are painfully slow when surfing the net. Apple goes to sites and downloads pages at least three times faster, no exaggeration. There are many sites on the net which discuss this problem and give possible explanations, so it is a well known phenomenon. And everyone whom i know complains about the same thing. My next machine will be an apple.))))
Think I’ll call you on that one. Three times faster is WAY exaggerated. Can you cite some of those sites (not fanboy sites). And surely you’re not comparing Safari with other browsers (well, Safari is faster than older versions of IE but so is cold treacle) but nothing IMHO, beats Chrome. If you want blink speed for browsing, use a Chromebook.
Are you kidding me? Try the Comcast Infinity page and see how long it takes to get completely loaded with any windows machine. Same for all of my newspaper sites in the Boston area: Boston. Com, Boston Herald.Com, PatriotLedger.com and so forth. I did not create this topic. Please google “slow microsoft”: and see the hundreds, possibly thousands, of comments on this topic in the various chat rooms. Yes, my solution to this problem is downloading Chrome onto Windows 8.1 Thank God for Chrome. At night in bed I use my IPadMini and I can fly thru all the sites that i want to visit in less than one third of the time it used to take me on my HPlaptop with Windows8.1
We all win because competition between 2 good competitors produces the best products and Linux keeps them both honest.
What are your thoughts on the Chromebook?
I would like to purchase the unit, but all my friends and I use Skype. There for I have to put off this purchase until
Skype is available on the Chromebook.
I may be purchasing a windows 10 when it becomes available only because it has Skype installed on it.
The Mac is just too expensive for me.
A good question which I hope Leo (or someone else) will answer or comment on as I am also interested in that computer. Chromebook appears very cost effective and ideal for a first user but I would assume that, like android machines, it is restrictive and focussed on Google’s applications only. Skype, though, can be downloaded onto android tablets so I would have thought it would also work on Chromebook.
Ultimately as I think someone else pointed out: as long as it runs the software you care about, it seems a viable machine.
You put forth some interesting thoughts. I began playing with pc’s and Windows when they pretty much relied on DOS and then finally Windows GUI. Being retired now I truly just enjoy sitting down and using my computer and not having to constantly be fixing or tweaking it. Then I discovered MAC about three years ago and firmly believe, now, the phrase “it just works”. I still keep up with Windows because I still enjoy helping friends get out of their Windows dilemmas. I am currently running an iMAC desktop OS X 10.10.3 and also run bootcamp with Windows 8.1 as a dual boot. In Oracle Virtual Box I run Linux Mint and also am running Windows 10 Technical Preview. In reading some of the other comments, many are commenting about the price of Apple. If you compare equally an Apple product with any Apple “copy cat” that is of equal spec. I think that you will find that there is no price difference. As the old saying goes “you get what you pay for”. Many PC’s and even Linux boxes can be very expensive, depending on what you put into them, so I’m not sure that price is truly a valid argument when comparing a MAC to a PC. As far as what’s included with a MAC, and I’m not talking bloatware, compared to what is included with a PC, I prefer my MAC.
Perhaps so, on price – however, unless things have changed, you pretty much have to take what they offer for Mac – I don’t know how many options they have, but the PC can be customized down to each individual component (which can also then be more easily upgraded in the future).
FWIW: I have both – I bought the Mac used and super-cheap – and installed Linux Mint on it.
I have a question and maybe my assumption is incorrect.
If you are in the business world and running a mac. You send a file to someone in TimBukToo and they only run a Windows pc.
Can that person open the file? And what if it is reversed?
I have always thought that it would be a problem for your average mac or windows user to open a file created in the other OS.
It will depend on the file. It’s actually more program specific than computer specific. For instance pdf’s, images, video, and audio can be played on anything, even smartphones and Linux. The thing is that you need a program to run a file. Almost anything can read an image, audio files can be read by numerous audio programs, and on an on. But if you have a specific Windows based program (for instance Photoshop) you can only read it on a computer that has Photoshop. To read it on a Mac you would need Photoshop for Mac. Not all programs are available on both platforms. So the answer is that most things can be passed, and some things can’t!
It depends entirely on the applications used to create the file. Word documents, as one example, are pretty much platform independant these days with may options on almost all platforms to open, edit and more. My Final Cut Pro files, though, would work only on Macs since Final Cut Pro is a Mac-only solution.
Somewhat relevant — Macs are a little more user friendly. I’ve seen older people with low computer literacy, take a Mac out of the box and use it and enjoy it right away. I have not experienced that ease with PCs.
I bought my first computer in late 1985 or early 1986. It was an Apple 512K with an external floppy disk drive to enable me to run Microsoft Word I to write my thesis. Through the years I have continued to purchase Apple products for my personal use — all the way up to my present iMac. I was lucky because in graduate school I was required to be cross-platformed while learning a little programming on both platforms. During one of my jobs in the 1990s I used an Apple exclusively for graphics and desktop publishing. But I continued to be cross-platformed. I learned how to code on Linux. My current non-profit employer is slowing upgrading to Windows 8.
Leo, I think you are correct saying that it all depends on the software you want to run.
I agree that the PC/Mac decision has to be made with support and availability of parts, no matter what you need to do.
I have never had the PC/MAC question during my career. My specialty was POS systems for medium size (multi-city) retailers. It had everything to do with cost, maintenance and support. Started out using UNIX system V, but eventually turned to Windows for reduced license fees. Hardware had to be interchangeable, easily available and easily supportable. Apple just never met the criteria, especially cost.
As for the Apple “advantage”, the line is a very thin one. The evolution of the Windows PC, OS and Hardware, has brought power and efficiency to even the most basic configurations. Software development has also increased the user experience to an almost intuitive level.
The Mac vs. PC debate is just not valid. It comes up to personal preference.
My 2¢ CAN.
Ken. Edmonton, Canada
PS. THANKS LEO!
First, thanks so much for reading all emails.
Some feedback. I am a pc user since I started on Windows. It has been a challenge to keep up with Windows, but I feel comfortable with it and almost always can find solutions on line when I have problems. I know how to change parts in a Windows machine and how to reinstall in a Windows machine. Also, I’m miffed that Apple has tried so hard to make everything proprietary. Additionally, you have to pay a premium to buy their products. So if a Samsung or PC is just as good, I go with the non Apple product. Except for iPod. I have an old iPhone that I now use as an iPod, which has lots of storage, and the battery lasts. I appreciated your video.
This is a battle that wasn’t for me, ever. I started with an 8088, came on up through the 286, 386, 486, on and on. Never saw a reason to consider a Mac, plenty of reason to not consider one, so didn’t. Unless it can print cash, it doesn’t do anything my PC can’t do, it just does it more expensively.
This was a pretty timely and thought provoking presentation for me. I’m in the market for a laptop, and I want to get a good one this time. I’ve pretty well narrowed it down to a HP Spectre x360, a Dell XPS 13, or a MacBook Pro. I’ve gone over and over it, and I think it comes down to cost in the end. I suspect that all three of these are good machines, but I would like a touch screen, which rules out the Mac. At work I run a Lenovo Helix and I’ve gotten used to being able to use the tent approach. So in the end that would narrow it down to the HP. But the higher resolution screens are pretty attractive, and the Dell shines there, along with the Mac. But the Mac is more money…. Anyway, you get the picture. But it’s nice to be set free from the Windows vs Mac debate.
Keyboard! I don’t think anyone so far has mentioned the keyboard. I once considered a MAC but there’s no way I could exist without both a Backspace and a Delete. Also, when working on a MSWord document, or anything else for that matter, when I stop to think I automatically hit Ctrl+S to save. It would drive me crazy for the (equivalent of) Ctrl (and Fn) to be in a different spot. The keyboard is thus, for me, a deal breaker.
Someone mentioned boot and sleep/wake speed. I have a new Dell XPS 13 9434 (the new i7 one). It boots, hibernates, sleeps, wakes so fast I couldn’t want for better.
Oops, I meant Dell XPS 13 9343. Lester, see my earlier comment. I don’t use the touch screen much, but it’s great for very precise scrolling while reading (I use a bluetooth mouse to keep the USB slots available). The XPS 13 exudes luxury in look and feel, and functionality too as it really is smaller in footprint for the screen size. The only downside is that the Home, End, PgUp and PgDn are the arrow keys with Fn pressed, which is a minor pain. But note–you get to keep the Windows keyboard and don’t have to relearn the MAC one (I’m 72 yrs old BTW, so such relearning is perhaps more of a burden to me).
The keyboard on a Mac can definitely drive a Window’s user nuts. I agree with that Another problem with Macs is that people never shut them down. It’s unclear (and not easy) to shut programs down, so things eventually get discombobulated (technical term.)
CMD+Q (Quit) is the moral equivalent of ALT+F4 to actually, truly, shut down a program.
A superb, valuable and very informative video. It gave me much room for thought, I have been considering a Mac for some time principally because the one aspect of Windows 7 that irritates me is the continual updates….at least 7 or more each and every week. Perhaps I am overlooking something ? But my tech friends here tell me that this problem is very infrequent with the Mac. If you have a moment out of your (undoubtedly ) heavy schedule I would very much appreciate your comments. Needless to say I am, as always, very thankful for your invaluable advice. All the best. Terence,
Mac also updates very regularly. Lots of those updates actually require action instead of updating silently in the background like Windows does.
I’m not sure what to say – my Macs update pretty regularly as well – and I want them to. I want security issues and bugs to be fixed.
I found your video on Mac versus Windows really informative – bravo!
However, one point you overlooked was the battery life of Macbooks versus PC laptops. I had been an expert user of PC laptops until circumstances forced me to get a new Macbook Pro, and I am so relieved that I get a much longer battery life than I was used to. In addition, my Macbook Pro syncs seamlessly with my iPhone and I will never go back to a PC laptop.
Thanks again for all your invaluable info and help over the years.
Well Leo thank goodness the debate between the Mac and the PC is over and all strident comments and futile passions regarding the subject have been put to rest. Phew, I was beginning to despair there for a while. But I’m okay now. :)
Great comment on customer service!! I purchase much of my gear/instrumentation/dataloggers based upon customer support. I would award 20 extra percentage points for customer service alone.
I’m glad to hear that you are running windows on a Mac Pro. I’ve been thinking that maybe I’m wrong for doing it but now feel reassured. I’m hoping you can help me: When in windows, all small text is blurred and when I go into Quicken, the display flashes for several seconds and when it comes up, everything is jerky. Apple says it’s a Windows problem, Microsoft isn’t any help. All my software is up to date. New 15″ MBP, Thunderbolt display but it’s this way even on the 15″ MBP display.
Hard to say. It depends on HOW you’re running Windows on your Mac. (Bootcamp? VirtualBox? Parallels? VMware? Something else?)
This *feels* like a video driver issue – as in the video drivers used by Windows in boot camp either aren’t appropriate, or aren’t configured correctly, Unfortunately I have zero experience with bootcamp. I run Windows in a VM – which means it’s running within Mac OS. I couldn’t live with the hassle of dual booting every time – I need it all to run side-by-side. Sorry I don’t have any good advice here.
May I ask what software do you use to run windows on a mac?
I have only bought PCs and the reason is money. My last PC was a brand new Windows 8 tablet for $150 (A Dell Venue 8 Pro). I have not spent more that $500 for a PC for a couple of decades. Most of my PCs cost more like $2-300, with a couple of super IBM-Brand servers for $100 when they were 2 years old and being replaced as part of an installation-wide preventative measure. I find that PCs really stand out in price-performance, even tho Macs may have a superior architecture aesthetically. Comments welcome.
I’m generally an advocate of buying a lower cost machine if it fits your needs. For example, buying a $300-400 machine versus buying an $800-1000 machine. The more expensive machine might run well for a year or 2 longer than the cheaper machine, but if the cheaper machine gets sluggish and no longer performs well after say 3 years, you can buy a new $300-400 machine which is much more powerful than the $800-1000 machine you would have bought for less total cost. And, you’ll have a second serviceable machine to use or give away.
I don’t recommend that for everybody if your needs are for something more cutting edge, but I believe it is viable for many.
Also, you can plan for upgrades to extend the original PCs life even more.
Your comment about “What is your ring of support” really hit a strong note with me. I agree that that should be a major factor in which platform you use.
Question: Does Mac get as many viruses as windows. Or is it protected by apple. I heard that I pad very rarely get viruses.
So far Mac has not been targeted by malware designers. Phones and tablets are currently experiencing a huge problem with malware apps. What these apps do is gain permission to your device and then use it to mine your contacts, track your locations, or basically what ever they want. So I certainly wouldn’t think that any type of device is safe from viruses.
Nice article Leo. Basically I agree completely. However, last year I needed a new laptop for no other reason that the old eyes ( and they are old) were just not doing the job. So I go to the local box shifter and no, they only sold 1360 x what-ever-it-is laptops This was too blurry and not enough on the screen. So off to there ‘posh shop’ who did higher res laptops; MSI etc with a spanking 1920 by 1000 or so on a 16″ display. Better but still too cramped although I did buy one.
My wife said what about an Apple. Well, yes they look good so we went to the local, if 15 miles is local, Apple store and I looked at a 27″ IMac. Oh wow! this was CLEAR and so much space. So why space? Because we do an awful lot of genealogy going back over 40 generations. So, put the clarity of the screen and it’s size together with a high end cpu 16G ram, 3T drive my computing is now good, really good. For the most part as you said, I use the web for math(s) as well as the genealogy. The whole package is what worked for me, and in this case was a humongous IMac.
But the make of the computer wasn’t really a problem although a decent quality construction and innards were. This time it was an Apple.
PS Thanks for a great web site.
I talked a friend of mine out of posting a rant of approximately 25,000 words detailing for you all the ways in which the “war” is far from over, and will never be over until the evil that is the PC has been eradicated from the earth and everyone has found salvation in the Mac.
I do know that there are people that feel that way. I remain agnostic.
Be careful what you wish for. Without a competitor like Microsoft, the quality of Apple software would very likely deteriorate. Use what you prefer, but criticizing something you don’t use is a waste of time.
First of all, I love your news and advice, for a couple of years I have learned a lot from your perspective. I consider myself an analogue guy trying to survive in an ever-changing digital world… with that being said, I have always WANTED a Mac (my wife loves that platform) but the high dollar cost has kept me in Windows. What frustrates the daylights out of me is Windows is ALWAYS modifying their platform, when I was totally thrilled with XP. Microsoft “forces” you to purchase a new machine every few years, and I don’t need the latest bells and whistles. I am tired of keeping up with the nuances of what Microsoft THINKS I need, when I am such a basic user. My understanding is that a Mac platform is much less dynamic in it’s changes as it evolves, and that is what attracts me to a Mac. I only use about 10% of the capabilities that my pc offers, and it drives me nuts that every time a pc evolves, I need to focus on stuff that takes away my productivity. I wish someone would just offer a bare-bones basic machine that was affordable and user-friendly! I only need a Chevy, yes, a Cadillac would be nice, but I don’t need to pay for extras when a Chevy gets me from point A to point B just fine…. Thanks for your news and advice! Keep up the good work! I am a big fan. Brent
One alternative is the Chrome Book from Google. It’s quite bare bones. Most of the work is done using the browser and on-line apps which run on your browser. It might suit your needs, and it’s even cheaper than a Windows machine.
Change is constant. Mac’s absolutely DO change, often to the frustration of folks using whatever it was that changed.
You sound just like John V Guttag, the instructor at MIT who teaches the online version of python on the edX site. When your video started I wasn’t looking at the screen and I have been watching the edX course prior. I heard your voice and had to look at the screen I thought I somehow had the edX course playing.
Interesting article.My brother is a Mac fanatic and has been trying to convince me for years to change from Windows. One of the major reasons was security. A few years back the feeling was that Mac’s were more safeguarded against virus attacks than Windows, but that may be changing.
The reasons I may consider changing from Windows are:
1. Windows upgrade their software to versions that are not compatible with older versions
2. we now have to pay/renew every year Windows Office software.
3. Mac owners seem to genuinely feel that the company is there for its customers. Windows on the other hand show no evidence of loyalty to its customers, and appear to want screw its customers for every cent it can. If that attitude continues, it will be its eventual downfall.
I’ve been using PC’s since before they had hard drives, mostly due to the demands of work. Nowadays, it is more a matter of retail price. I simply can’t afford a Mac. Frankly, I’ve gotten better deals on PC’s in terms of hardware and software offered for the price. I would certainly try a Mac if either they became less expensive, or I was better off financially! Everything I have read or heard about latter day Mac’s suggests they are perfectly fine, and you can get virtually anything you want in the way of software for them. That wasn’t always the case, but they have come a very long way. (I do understand that there is a difference between value and price. But you have to first be able to afford something!)
All I know is that Apple is much more expensive than a Windows PC for the same thing. And you have a lot less applications on Apple than you can find for Windows. I would never buy an Apple product.
Just can’t stand it anymore. I have to scream it from the roof tops. A MAC AND A PC ARE THE SAME THING! They are both personal computers. Call it as it is. Apple versus Microsoft. Mac versus Windows. Whatever. I owned an Apple 2+ and later an Apple 2C. Then a Win 3.1. They were all my (PC)’s, personal computers.
They are not the same thing.
Where’s MACs dedicated GPU via Nvidia or AMD?
Mac still doesn’t have skylake processors in 2016, skylake came out in 2015.
Mac users still waiting???
And my god look at the price point.
You’ve got a $779 refurb mac on tech bargains with a HASWELL dual core CPU.
Do you know when Haswell came out?
Yet you can buy a Acer with an i5 6200u skylake (2015) for $379.
Still think they’re the same thing.
Hope this wasn’t already in a comment. Too many to read them all.
RE: Skype on Linux.
Pretty sure I wouldn’t buy a type of computer I didn’t want, just to run Skype (or any other program).
Use a Linux live disk or USB drive. Skype has a web-based app for folks who can’t or prefer not to download the Skype desktop client.
Hope this helps.
I’d have to say that it is still an issue. Having used both a Mac and a PC, I would pick a Mac over a PC any
day. Yes, it can be more difficult to find someone to work on it but it’s
worth it in my opinion. The time and energy and money that I’ve spent on
repairs for my PCs is way more than I’ve had to spend on my Mac. And this
probably sounds silly but to me, the compact design of the Mac and the
beauty of its graphics and the display is just something that a PC can’t
That seems the best solution and she can opt for PC or Mac. Windows 10 is rubbish…but then again El Capitan is pretty pants as well. I use both and hate Microsoft and Apple with equal vitriol.
I have been a subscriber sent 2009 and was using PC’s for years. I just started using 27″ iMac and Mac Book Pro’s and i wanted to receive information via email on how to improve my apple operations. other words, how to improve various things like organizing pictures, creating folders and organizing files. I find it hard to locate downloaded pictures and files and then put them in folders in order. Also, do I need Virus Protection or Malware
If it wasn’t for the clever marketing and personalised service I doubt apple would sell to many of it’s overpriced products.
If you consider that Apple uses high quality components and add in the value software which comes free on a Mac, it’s not really overpriced. Additionally the fact that Apple controls which components go into a Mac, although it doesn’t cost more, adds a layer of stability to the system. I don’t use a Mac, but I might if I didn’t need to stay up to date with my Windows skills.
“I think the whole Mac vs. PC debate is over or irrelevant.” Come on Leo. irrelevant, absolutely, but over? That I highly doubt :-)
interesting to read these older posts. I have been on the Apple side of this discussion for a great many years. I may finally be willing to say I was wrong. Sounds like Apple is going to leave me in the cold once again as they abandon Aperture. I will probably buy an Apple washer and dryer when they make one though.