Mac vs. PC: The Apple and the Butterfly

pcmac.jpgMany of you reading this will feel strongly one way or the other. I don’t. What I do feel strongly about is the Mac’s indoctrination of its customers, so that they feel it is their duty to be the lifeblood of the company; it is their responsibility to convert as many people as possible to the wonders of the Mac family. It’s like the Branch Davidian of the computing world. I admit I’ve never owned a Mac, but some very close friends (both geographically and socially) of mine do.

I’m happy to say that our coexistence has been peaceful, but every now and then I find a hostility in some Mac users of which I’m not sure of the origin. In my limited experience with Macs, I must say they are nice to use, and the scroll buttons are pleasingly cornerless and colourful. No hostility there… When a program is loading, a calming spinning rainbow wheel is displayed. Hmmm. Seems pretty benign and promotes gay rights and racial unity. No anger in that…

So, why, then was recently I told: “Don’t talk to me,” by a Mac user when I told him I use the same Adobe Photoshop he uses, but on a PC? Why, then, did Mac come out with this ad, which not only disparages PCs, but does so in an offensive and condescending way? The ad basically suggests that PCs are “dull little boxes, dutifully performing dull little tasks.” Are there secret tasks that Macs and Mac users perform that only they are privy to? Every time I’ve seen a Mac being used, it was being used to watch internet videos, look at websites, edit photos or movies, or listen to music. While highly useful and entertaining, I wouldn’t classifly any of these tasks as “extraordinary”. Where is the “cure hunger” button on a Mac? What about the “locate nearest untapped oil well” command?

I can’t see that TV ad appealing to anyone except for existing Mac users, many of which will probably smile with a sense of knowing superiority and then return to downloading U2 music. In fact, I can see the ad doing the opposite of what an ad is supposed to do: attract more customers.

I’m interested in technology. I want to learn about what’s better and why it’s better, but I can’t ever seem to get a clean answer about why Macs are supposed to be better. It’s always something vague like “they’re more user-friendly” or “they’re more intuitive.” That’s cool, and I do understand that there are extremely fewer virus vulnerabilities for an Apple computer, but there has to me even more, no? Even searching on the web, it’s hard to find articles that are not extremely partisan one way or the other.

I did find this web page, though, which gives a point by point comparison between Macs and PCs; see what you guys can get out of it. Maybe some day, I’ll make a switch to a Mac if I discover some clear benefits that have nothing to do with group identity and corporate culture. But for now, I proffer Mac users all the love in my heart. Please love me back, and not hate me because I like computer games.

Your computers are nice. Let’s hope your company can learn to be too.


6 Responses to “Mac vs. PC: The Apple and the Butterfly”

  1. February 2, 2006 at 8:00 pm

    As someone who was weaned on DOS, and graduated through Windows 3.11 to 95, 98, 2000 and finally XP, I thought it would be very difficult to make the switch. I bought a Powerbook in December, and haven’t looked back. Here’s what I’ve found so far.

    – Macs are far easier to manage. There is no registry, so you can put applications wherever you like, in some cases, move them around, and when you’re done with them, drag them to the trash. That’s all there is to it. No remnants of third party apps left behind, nothing tangling up your OS – it’s just gone.

    – They’re graphically much better. You’re running the same photoshop as I am, but in 9 out of 10 cases, I can see more detail that you. That’s less a microsoft is bad thing than a mac hardware is better thing, but it’s a big point for me.

    – There is much better software available, much cheaper. The development module for Mac is really powerful, so there are a lot of amateur developers creating fantastic software that costs $20. I have three applications that I would gladly buy for PC if they existed, but nothing comes close.

    – It’s nice to be left alone. I run a lot of the same software on my Mac as I do on the PC. But, on the Mac, I’m just a fraction of the market, so there is much less prompting to upgrade, download, register and all that crap.

    – Macs work well out of the box. Again, this is more the fault of the manufacturers, but when I opened up my mac for the first time, it worked, and I didn’t have to delete endless “Free AOL” and “Sign up with” programs that came preinstalled.

    – Macs are far better designed than PCs. Everything about this mac is thought of. It’s an inch thick closed, and has about 15 different ports on it, which have all come in handy. Even the design of the power adapter makes it easy to wrap it up and take it away, which is not the case with ANY PC laptop I’ve ever seen.

    – MacOSX is FAR more secure and FAR more stable. I don’t have a virus checker on my Mac. I don’t need one. I can’t open most of the virii that get through my email, and in the unlikely event that I downloaded a Mac virus, I would have to put in my adminstrator password for it to even work, which I would certainly not do. OSX is based on FreeBSD, which is an OS built for the web with security in mind. Ironically, the only viruses that Macs are really susceptible to are Microsoft Word Macro viruses

    – I have shut off my computer exactly twice since I bought it. The rest of the time, I close it, and it goes to sleep. When I open it, it wakes up, and has barely used any battery power. On Windows, getting a laptop to wake up after being put to sleep for a few hours is nothing more than the fevered dream of a madman.

    All this is to say that every time I’ve ever done anything on the Mac, it has been a pleasurable experience. It’s designed rather than put together. It’s more intuitive, and it automatically does everything that I’d wanted Windows to do.

    With regards to the commercial, it’s referring to the fact that PCs are typically used in the drudgery of office jobs, where Macs are used in creative young firms that really care about creativity. True or not, that’s the position they hold, and that’s where that message is coming from.

    Mac users are sometimes rabid, but I think it’s because of the general misunderstanding from Windows users. I can objectively say that MacOS is an all-round better operating system than Windows, and Macs are much better designed than PCs.

    What you use is your own choice, but I’ll never go back.

  2. February 2, 2006 at 8:41 pm

    I knew this post would finally stir some genuine commentary. First of all: thank you for explaining to me some concrete differences, and, to be honest, some of them are quite intriguing.

    The “no registry” one alone jumps out at me. Every time there are major speed or startup problems with a PC, you (as in technicians) have to go into the “registry” in order to clean up, filter out, or re-arrange something that has long become twisted and inefficient.

    Also, the comparative article I linked to did mantion that with mac artistic programs, the colour transfer is generally bang-on. As in, the colour you see is the colour you get on tranfer or export.

    My main point (please notice I was trying to write an unbiased assessment) was the approach that Apple takes to expanding its market. If only they could explain just a fraction of the benefits of a Mac, probably a lot of people would consider switching. Although, in a way, that’s probably not what they want. If everyone switches, the caché of the mac community is gone, no?

    Where they lose on the market share of computers, they make up with the iPod. So why not keep an elitist attitude? It’ll help Apple maintain its position as the hip other guy.

    Anyway, Ryan, you’ve opened my eyes. I’m sure, one day, I’ll be a Mac owner, but right now I’m still a bit too cheap to take the plunge.

  3. February 2, 2006 at 9:11 pm

    You have to consider the average user, though. Most people don’t know why or how their computer works, and are happy just knowing how to open MS word. Threatening to change the way their computer works – even if it’s for the better, scares the hell out of them.

    Their position is in the creative market, and the only way to get to the general user market is through well-designed consumer electronics that lead users to the Mac. iMac was good, iPod was better. However, if I were Mac, I’d be perfectly happy with my position in the marketplace. Don’t forget, you buy a PC, you’re probably buying from some dude. If you buy a Mac, Steve is getting your coin.

  4. February 2, 2006 at 9:19 pm

    Hey, I forgot about that. Of course, I also have the equivalent business skills of a moist sponge. For the thousands of companies that produce PCs, there’s only one Apple. Compare Mac to, say, Dell, and now we’re talking actual brand comparison.

    (Note: I won’t be doing the comparing. You guys can do that.)

  5. 5 erica
    February 4, 2006 at 9:51 pm

    some days i like mackies more than google snobs.

  6. February 5, 2006 at 1:01 am

    Well…uh….no, YOU ARE!!!!

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