Why Switch to the Mac? Five Top Reasons

50 Comments

Although the types of tech writing that I do require me to spend the majority of my  time on Windows PCs (and some on Linux systems), I also use a MacBook, and have accumulated a list of Windows-vs.-Mac gripes over the years. I know that a lot of readers of this blog use Macs, but quite a few use Windows machines, too. If you’re considering switching to the Mac–and more people are than ever–here is my top five list of advantages the Mac offers.



An actual file system.
Microsoft has been promising a fast, full-featured file system in Windows for years without ever delivering one. WinFS, which was supposed to be a Mac-like, robust file system was planned for Windows Vista, but then shelved. The speed with which I can retrieve anything on my computer with the Mac is a huge advantage.

Much better video and graphics. The Mac OS and Mac machines have been recognized for years as trouncing Windows PCs in these areas, but I don’t see this as just a hardware or operating system issue anymore. That’s especially true now that Apple uses Intel processors. It’s the applications I can use on the Mac that have become more robust than their Windows counterparts. Even iMovie is more robust than Windows video editing applications that cost hundreds of dollars.

Cooler looking machines. Hey, it had to be said. Apple dominates at design. The Mac OS also looks slicker than Windows XP or Windows Vista.

True plug-and-play. Mac users, when was the last time you tried to plug any peripheral in and ran into problems? Even after years of Microsoft’s plug-and-play initiatives, I still run into nasty driver issues and incompatibilities. I think the key here is that Apple keeps compatibility simpler for developers and hardware manufacturers.

More reliability. Macs are more reliable than PCs for several reasons. The operating system is far less prone to crashing. Support is head-and-shoulders above what you get with a PC. And because the user base is smaller than Windows’, Macs and Mac applications are less of a target for hackers.

Mac users, what would you add to this list?

50 Comments

Alan S

I think your forgetting that Microsoft is primarily a software company and the Windows is an Operating System.. The point I’m trying to make is that microsoft cannot control all the hardware manufacturers that build machines that run their OS or the peripherals that are made for their OS… this is good and bad for users because A) they get more choices but B) there is a higher risk for compatibility and quality issues. Apple, on the other hand, is a hardware/software company and have tight restrictions and controls set for their OS and it’s peripherals… good luck buying a sub $1000 computer from Apple and good luck trying to find a bevy of upgrade and peripheral options for your computer… you are tied to Apple..

This whole post is misleading

Steve Johnson

An actual file system. Microsoft has been promising a fast, full-featured file system in Windows for years without ever delivering one. WinFS, which was supposed to be a Mac-like, robust file system was planned for Windows Vista, but then shelved. The speed with which I can retrieve anything on my computer with the Mac is a huge advantage.

This is poorly researched fantasy. While Vista’s new promised FS hasn’t materialized, it’s not like NTFS isn’t better in many respects than Apple’s HFS+ anyway, as NTFS allows for larger files and filesystem level encryption. HFS+ does have some metadata advangates.

Much better video and graphics. The Mac OS and Mac machines have been recognized for years as trouncing Windows PCs in these areas, but I don’t see this as just a hardware or operating system issue anymore. That’s especially true now that Apple uses Intel processors. It’s the applications I can use on the Mac that have become more robust than their Windows counterparts. Even iMovie is more robust than Windows video editing applications that cost hundreds of dollars.

You are selectively picking and choosing amongst applications to make your point. Regardless, you are trying to make an application issue a system issue, and ur has nothing to do with it. I think it much more important to note that only the highest margin of Apple’s product line offers great video hardware puts it at an objective dissadvantage.

True plug-and-play. Mac users, when was the last time you tried to plug any peripheral in and ran into problems? Even after years of Microsoft’s plug-and-play initiatives, I still run into nasty driver issues and incompatibilities. I think the key here is that Apple keeps compatibility simpler for developers and hardware manufacturers.

This being a problem with windows is VASTLY overstated. It’s mostly limited to low-end poorly supported devices and peripherals and is not the fault of Windows. Try this? pick some random peripheral off the shelf at your local computer store and plug it into your mac. A lot of the time it’s just not going to work because of the absense of drivers.

More reliability. Macs are more reliable than PCs for several reasons. The operating system is far less prone to crashing. Support is head-and-shoulders above what you get with a PC. And because the user base is smaller than Windows’, Macs and Mac applications are less of a target for hackers.

The Operating system is not far less prone to crashing. Both are solid provided they don’t have a crappy driver messing up Kernel space. While you’ll see this more often on Windows given the vast amount of devices available, this makes it a platform issue that can be avoided, not an inherent operating system issue.

Support depends on who you buy from.

Security by obscurity really isn’t security.

jshultz

@Richard Why do mac users constantly feel the need to justify themselves and their choice of computer? What’s with the Apple smugness that makes them look down on other PC users? It reminds me of Linux users back in the 90s. Who wants to be associated with that? I don’t. I could give a rat’s but less what computer you use. If it works for you then great. But don’t feel the need to justify your choices to me or the majority of us out here. I like both Mac and Windows. I just don’t care much for Mac users.

shinmai

Ben Byrne:
Everything on your list, I get for way less with Linux. I’m not even going to go into some religious advocation rant here, if you actually get more work done on a Mac, more power to you. The dumbed down candy-UI has always merely slowed me down, when I frequently have to work on Apple-hardware. YMWV.

It these “come to our side”-lists are geared more and more toward UI-fluff, and features present in pretty much any non-windows OS, and less at features actually unique to Macs/Apple.

Apples merits have, and always will, lie in UI/casing-design, beginner-friendly UI and – for those who have money – the all-in-one principle of hardware and software acquisition. For someone like me, with a very tight budget, enough computer skills to not be intimidated when I don’t have the OS hold my hand every step of the way, and the ability to pretty quickly adapt even exotic UI-designs Apples are just a waste of money.

I aplogoize for the somewhat loaded sentences I use. As I said, I whis this whole OS-evangelism would just stop, but I think we can all agree that this whole thing, and the OS-war in general, are pretty much fueled by Apple users, and some of the more religious *nix users…

Roberto

Bah, everyone knows that the AmigaOS is the best OS ever made in the history of the Universe.

Pete

You are all obviously wrong, and possibly evil.

BSD is the best operating system. It is faster and better than both Windows and OS X in every possible way. It promotes a healthy coat and teeth, whereas other operating systems clearly cause the deaths of thousands of poor, hungry orphans.

Brett

I use Windows for work. But that’s because my work is based on the MS platform. I won’t dev inside a vm on a Mac, it’s just not worth it. I need windows, it works, clients pay, the world moves on.
I go home and relax on the Mac. It’s beautiful to look at, delivers lightning response in all my AV programs, and stays clean.
Windows pays for my Mac… interesting.

Elena

There are ridiculous trolls on here who pretend to know the Mac but who don’t have a clue.

For example, MUCH easier than a [so-called missing] right click is a two-fingered-tap on the MacBook trackpad.

michael

@Richard-
I would tend to believe that Mac users are much more threatened, since they feel the need to constantly post such tripe as this article.

The OSs are basically identical — ANY argument of one over the other is ridiculous and sad.

michael

As someone who uses both (and linux) every day — and really has no preference, just as I have no preference of using my Craftsman hammer or my Black&Decker — I’ll say this:

*There is no pro-Mac argument that cannot be intelligently shredded, and most of them rely entirely on opinion (it’s prettier!) The rest tend to indicate that the author hasn’t used Windows in 10 years or so.

*This article says, “Much better video and graphics.” But since the hardware is identical (and easier to upgrade on Windows), it relies on a lame “better software” argument, ignoring that the best graphic/movie software is available for both platforms. And I’d hate to ignore the classic: “The Mac OS and Mac machines have been recognized for years as trouncing Windows PCs in these areas” — which years? ’94 and ’95?

*I would expect a website geared towards professionals to NOT resort to click-trolling. I’ve removed you from my bookmarks.

Richard

Why is it all of the PC people feel so threatened by Macs. It’s just a computer! I’ve used them since 1988 and they work well, but they’re just a computer. If Macs didn’t exist, I would use Windows, which is also just a computer.

Use what you want, but drop the defensiveness. There are more important things in the world, you know?

tom B

To “not-quite”

“1. HFS+ is not that great. Don’t believe me? Ask Linus Torvalds”

HFS+ isn’t “done”. Future versions may be more like Sun’s ZFS. Moreover, HFS+ AS IT STANDS is superior to Windows’ FS, IMHO. How it stands in relation to LINUX? Don’t know. And are yyou looking from the Developer side or the USER side?

“4. Plug and Play? Great, if you can find a Mac peripheral. And you still have to install drivers.”

Plenty of peripherals. And I usually DON’T install drivers.

“5. Reliability? I find XP very good with reliability, and Vista has been outstanding.”

XP doesn’t fully crash often when a browser hangs, but in my experience, it takes a LONG time to get back to a state where it lets me do anything again.

To Ben Byrne:

Agree 100%. Two machines, for slightly more than the cost of one (install Windows via VMWare or Bootcamp on your Mac). This SHOULD be very compelling for a web worker. And the UNIX-level security and stability simply don’t exist in Windows. And it looks like they won’t in Win 7. Maybe in Windows “Midori”, if that ever gets past the vaporware stage. I think it won’t.

Tim H.

“When was the last time you tried to plug any peripheral in and ran into problems?”

Ummm, I have a BIG problem syncing my MacBook Pro with my Blackberry 8830. THE primary reason I got the 8830 was because I could tether it to my laptop and use it as a wireless modem anywhere I went. Now, with the Mac, I do not have that luxury, nor have I found the solution.

Anyone have any suggestions?

d-a-n-i-e-L

I have to take issue with point 5, More Reliability. I have several XP machines and a Macbook Air. I have had TONS of problems with the Air hanging on boot, and crashing after waking back up. Meanwhile I haven’t had a BSOD on XP since SP2 came out.

I think Vista and pre XP SP2 machines had tons of problems, but XP just works.

Brian

Number one reason to switch is that windows just blows chunks by comparison.

Windows has always been a rip-off of Mac, but also including DOS and all the legacy crap.

No freeware for Mac? Are you kidding me? Peripherals that don’t work wtih Mac? Where?

Mac rules and will be at 50% userbase in a couple of years at the CURRENT rate of switch.

Get over the issue, PC users, you aren’t the ONLY game in town any longer. Del key? That is an aberration, get over it. There is no point in TYPE OVER mode, that was a carry over from DOS and character based systems. Windows crowd can’t ever change, and when anything is changed for the better, they WHINE about it.

Brendan

@Michael Thompson
Yoohoo, I’m a “normal” user. Application wise for Windows there is much more out there. Just test it out. Google apple freeware or mac freeware and compare that to windows freeware. No that’s not scientific reasearch, but that should tell you something.

Robert Minch

Jason Kratz says “Really? Is that why Photoshop is faster on Windows? Is that why the next version of Photoshop won’t even be available for the Mac? Because the graphics are better on the Mac?”

Um, no. CS4 will be released as 64 bit for Vista 64. It will be 32 bit for Vista 32 and Mac. CS5 will be 64 bit for Mac. This is because Adobe has to rewrite the CS suite in Cocoa. Adobe has been taking the easy route with Mac development, staying with the Carbon environment, even when Apple said go to Cocoa. Apple canned the Carbon 64 environment last year to force developers (like Adobe) to rewrite their apps in Cocoa.

Viswakarma

Almost all of the gripes about Macs are hackneyed. People, please wake up and smell the Rose (Macintosh)! I use both Macs and PCs every day. I breathe a sigh of relief when I move to the Mac after 8 hours of Microsoft Piece of Crap (PC)!!!

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