Thoughts on a Mac

Thoughts on a Mac | Tech Tips Podcast by PcCG

Mac vs. PC

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I get asked what I think about Mac often. So let me start by saying that I’m not writing this article because I have a chip on my shoulder. I am sure some of the mac fans out there will view what I have to say here as sacrilegious, which actually gets to one of the core points I will be making.

I am not a Mac/Apple fan. I can work on them, I can fix them, I know how to operate them… I am just not a fan.

The Apple operating System(s) are stable, reliable and efficient. Of course I contend that they are not truly “apple”. OS-X is an adaptation of Linux (or Unix for those who want to split hairs), which is a completely different operating system. There was a major change in the Apple OS(Operating System) from OS9 to OSX (10). The change was… Apple ditched its own operating system, grabbed a linux variant and threw an apple interface on top of it. Nevertheless, OSX is good! But it, like any OS is far from perfect.

This will probably shock many of you out there but… Mac’s do get Viruses. Don’t believe me? See here: 600,000 Macs Infected. In this CNet article we find that Macs are not impervious to viruses. 600,000 Macs are infected with this virus alone. And yes, you can (and should) buy anti-virus products for the Mac to protect against this.

It is true, Mac’s get far less infections than PC’s, but it’s not really because the Apple OS is some iconic beast, fending off such badies left and right. It’s much simpler than that. With Mac’s consisting of less than 10% of the market, it doesn’t make much sense to invest time and money into developing viruses for Apple machines. You get a much bigger bang for your buck by going after the 90% of the computers, the Windows machines. But why are there so many more windows machines?

Price and competition.

Apple is a rather closed system. Nobody but Apple can produce Macs. The Apple OS can’t be loaded onto any other computers, only those produced by Apple. Therefore you get HP, IBM, Dell, Gateway, Lenovo, Acer etc. vs Apple. Incidentally it also means if one of them tries to artificially inflate their prices, people will say “forget that noise…” and buy from the competition… except if you are in the Apple world where there is no competition. If you buy into Apple, you are stuck with Apple. I don’t like such harsh restrictions being placed on me. I don’t like being married to a particular company. I am not ready to sell my soul to Apple computers and just “take it how they give it”. In the Apple world, it’s their way, or the highway. A perfect example of this is the iPod in which you MUST use iTunes or you can take a hike (I know there are ways around this). I’ll come back to iPods later.

Now Apples business strategy does have some strengths. If you do indeed buy all Apple products, they can best guarantee compatibility and inter-operation between all the products. Your Apple T.V. is likely to work fine with your iMac and your iPod. The down side is if you want something with a different set of features besides those provided by apples limited number of products, you are out of luck. If you like the creative Zen better as I do (better battery life by far, native support for many more formats etc), tough luck. Again, I’m not ready to sell my soul to Apple. I like having the freedom to choose between a huge number of products, and go with whatever company I prefer at the time.