There has been an ongoing struggle between the world’s two major competitors in the technological market, Macintosh and Windows PC. Both systems have dedicated users that highlight the benefits of their favorite system and criticize the disadvantages of the other. However, Mac and PC feature both considerable differences and evident similarities (Nevid and Pastva 31).
Many people refer to computers with Windows operating system as “PCs,” although both Mac and Windows are personal computers (PC). This abbreviation is used for differentiating between the two. PCs are IBM-compatible devices. It implies that their architecture relies upon the IBM microprocessor. The most widespread system compatible with PCs is the Microsoft Windows operating system. However, others include different variations of UNIX (Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, etc.) (Nevid and Pastva 32).
Macintosh (Mac) is a name that stands for a whole range of personal computers that are created, produced, and sold by Apple. Mac is considered to be unique because it is now the only computer that supports all the popular operating systems. It can run Mac OS X as well as several versions of Windows. Besides, the application of Parallels Desktop software allows users to work with several systems alternately (Pogue 8).
As it has already been mentioned, both systems have their proponents because both have certain benefits and flaws. The basic points of comparison of the two include:
- Developers: Macs are developed by Apple while PCs are designed by Microsoft (Windows), Ubuntu (Linux), Sun (Solaris), etc. (Pogue 9).
- Manufacturers and distributors: Mac computers are produced and distributed exclusively by Apple whereas Windows PCs are manufactured and sold by several different companies (HP, Toshiba, Dell, Lenovo, Samsung, Acer, etc.) (Nevid and Pastva 32).
- Users: Both PCs and Macs are meant for home users and businesses (although the latter are mostly used in creative departments of various organizations) (Pogue 3).
- Price: Mac computers are considered to be rather expensive because the potential customer will have to pay from $500 for the Mac Mini desktop, $900 for the Macbook Air Notebook, and $1,100 for the iMac all-in-one. These are the cheapest models available. In contrast to Macs, Windows PCs are much more cost-saving (approximately 40% cheaper than Macs). Besides, you can build your hardware for very little money (“Mac* vs. PC Debate” par. 8).
- Appearance: Even though both PC and Mac computers are seemingly similar in their desktop design (both have the monitor, CPU, etc.) and laptop build (featuring control-pads, screens, and built-in keyboards), they are still different if one takes a closer look. First, the main body of a Mac consists of a monitor screen. The CPU is built into the screen, which allows Mac computers to have a much more attractive design in comparison to PCs that use standard separate CPUs (Pogue 8). As far as the keyboard is concerned, PCs and Macs use the same standard formation with 26 letters. The major keys are also shared (both computers have “enter,” “shift,” “space,” etc.). However, some keys performing the same function are named differently (e.g. “backspace” in Windows is “delete” in Mac). Besides, “control” and “alternate” key roles are mostly performed by the “command” key in Macs (Pogue 22).
- The most recent operating systems: The two latest operating systems used by Mac computers are OS X Yosemite (version 10.10) and OS X El Capitan (version 10.11). The advanced proponents of PCs now use Windows 8/8.1 and Windows 10 (which allowed upgrading for free even for non-licensed copies of the product) (Pogue 4).
- Compatibility: Mac computers can open practically all PC files (doc, exe, xls, etc.). There is a lot of software allowing users to open other file types. Besides, there exists a possibility of installing Windows that will be compatible. PCs do not allow opening Mac files by default. However, as well as with Macs, it is possible to install programs to read and write Mac files (“Mac* vs. PC Debate” par. 13).
- Software: The two competitors are very different in terms of software. PCs mostly use different versions of Windows (Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, etc.) that are further subdivided into Home, Professional, and other sub-versions. In comparison to this diversity, Mac software falls into two categories: the earlier version of the software is called the “Mac OS series,” while the most up-to-date version is known as “Mac OS X.” According to the opinions of users, Mac interface is more creative and interactive. Besides, Mac displays have higher resolution. Besides purely aesthetic reasons, Macs do not have such frequent technical problems as PCs. The latter is notorious for freezing, bugs, crashing, inferior graphics, and performance consistency. Despite this fact, most programs are created for PCs (including office packages, editors, games, etc.) (Nevid and Pastva 34). The most popular application for Macs include Photos, Pages, iMovie, App Store, iBooks, Photo Booth, Keynote, Safari browser, Mail, Messages, Numbers, iTunes, Calendar, etc. Those for PCs are Microsoft Office (MS Word, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint, MS Access, etc.), Media Player Classic, SkyDrive, Chrome browser, Opera browser, VLC media player, etc. (Pogue 145).
- Games: There are very few games that were created initially for Mac computers, despite the growing number of applications appearing in the App Store. In contrast, PCs have a huge catalog of games. Besides, there are a lot of different graphic cards available (Nevid and Pastva 35).
- Virus attack susceptibility: Macs are not as widespread as PCs. That is why much less malware is created to attack them. However, they still run the risk of viruses from Java. Because Windows systems are the most popular option among users, they are threatened by a wide range of malicious software (Pogue 184).
- Piracy prevention policy: Mac system does not require any activation and users can reinstall it as many times as is necessary. On the contrary, Windows has a unique activation key for each package. However, other operating systems are free (Pogue 31).
- Performance quality: Mac computers are famous for operating smoothly without bugs, lagging, instability, etc. This happens due to the company’s close attention to hardware and software control as well as regular updates. Unlike Macs, PCs do not often have necessary drivers, which accounts for lagging and incompatible software. The performance is in most cases disappointing (Nevid and Pastva 35).
- Repairs and upgrades: The two systems are similar in this aspect because any advanced user can do repair work and upgrade the computer. For those users who cannot fix problems by themselves, local computer-help stores can provide all the necessary services (Pogue 3).
As it is evident from the comparison, each system has its strong and weak points and targets different categories of users. Thus, when choosing a computer, the potential customer must take into consideration that the PC was designed to be affordable, efficient, and compatible, which makes it perfectly suitable for a business environment. On the contrary, Macs (with their perfect color rendering and high resolution) are produced for technology lovers, people engaged in creative activities (graphic designers, video producers, software developers, etc.), and all those who value design and performance greater than low prices.
“Mac* vs. PC Debate.” Intel. Web.
Nevid, Jeffrey S., and Amy Pastva. “I’m a Mac” versus “I’m a PC.” Personality Differences between Mac and PC Users in a College Sample.” Psychology & Marketing, vol. 31, no. 1, 2014, pp. 31-37.
Pogue, David. Switching to the Mac. O’Reilly, 2015.