With the increasing prevalence of Apple products in use (iPhones, iPads, iMacs, etc.) we get frequent enquiries from home and business users asking us whether an iMac may be more suitable for their needs. The Windows vs Mac enquiry is often prompted by a family member who is already an Apple convert. Or it maybe because the aesthetics of a beautiful 27” iMac appeal! Deciding which is best for you can be tricky, so here are some questions.
1. What software do you need to use?
A lot of software is designed exclusively for Windows or Mac. More and more programs can be installed on both, but not all. For example, Windows offers more business software, gaming software, etc, etc. Mac has always been strong in desktop publishing, graphic design, photo editing, etc. The quality of the Mac screens add to their leading in this sector. Of course, you may have everything in the cloud, which means that both are equally good.
If you have a software program that you just cannot manage without start by finding out whether it will run on both Mac and Windows. If you do have such a Windows program but still crave a Mac you can have both. Because Apple computers use the same Intel based hardware nowadays as Windows, you can actually install Windows 7 on a Mac computer. You can do this using a utility that is supplied by Apple called Bootcamp. This means the hardware is 100% Apple, but the operating system is Microsoft Windows 7. All programs installed in the Bootcamp Windows system Windows compatible. Neat. The downside to this is the need to purchase a copy of Windows 7, which adds hundreds to the cost. We have done this for our iMac and it works brilliantly.
2. What is your budget?
It is an illusion that Macs are more expensive than Windows – if you compare like for like they are about the same price. It is just that Apple only provide ‘higher- end’ computers. Most people compare a high-specification Mac with a lower-specification Windows computer and say the Mac performs better. It will do. It is not a ‘fair’ comparison. When you compare like for like the statistics on performance are roughly the same. Although the fact that there is rarely any anti-virus software on a Mac also has an influence.
If budget is your main criteria in the Windows vs Mac debate, you can get a Windows computer that is not ‘all in one’ at a substantially cheaper price than a Mac. And, for most people, it will probably do everything you need with a performance that is acceptable.
3. What do you send to others and receive from them?
The majority of the world is Windows, so if you need to send files to others you need to think about whether they will be able to open them (and whether you will be able to open files sent to you). Think about the files you send and receive – documents, spreadsheets, accounts, etc, etc. Also, what do you participate in?
4. How safe is your browsing?
Apple are less open with their Operating System than Microsoft, which definitely means that you are less likely to get viruses and malware – even if you do love downloading from sites that are suspect.
5. How quickly do you adapt to new?
No-one can truly say whether with Windows versus Mac which will be easier for you to use. It all comes down to what you are used to, and how quickly you adapt to new. For someone who has used a Windows operating system for years, moving to a Mac will seem alien and unfamiliar. And vice versa. If you are someone who has always struggled whenever things have changed due to an upgrade then you are definitely likely to struggle. If it is always easy for you, then you will have less of a problem.
6. Are you likely to want to ‘tweak’ the hardware?
If so, then Windows offers a plethora of options at all prices. It is easy to purchase and install additional hardware for Windows based computers. Macs traditionally have always been restricted – you need to think carefully about exactly what you are going to need at the time of purchase. One of our customers still uses an ‘old’ video camera and another who has old movies they like to burn to DVD. With Windows they were able to track down and install specialist hardware – they would not be able to do this with Macs
7. In the Windows vs Mac debate how bothered are you by “street cred”?
Macs still have all the street cred, although they are losing this as a result of Windows 8 touchscreens, and android devices.
One last thing that I should mention is integration between devices. Mac used to be the only provider who had seamless integration between computer, tablet and phone. Windows 8 changed that though.
If you are unsure whether to buy Mac or Windows and would like advice, telephone Glen or Rebecca on 01787 881475 for an informal chat.
We originally wrote this article in 2010 and until recently it was the most visited blog on our web site. Things have moved on since then, so this is the updated article.
Updated 20th June 2014