Thursday, December 15, 2011

An Apple a Day...

I believe that the Macintosh is superior to the Microsoft PC in almost every aspect, but especially those of hardware and software. I have used Macintosh computers for almost three years, and have found them to be the best computer no matter the application. Although often portrayed as the underdog, the Macintosh has now become a leader in the computer industry, both in terms of technology and of innovation. No longer does one have to take a huge risk to switch to the Mac. Despite this, Industry and Academia are just starting to realize the potential of the Macintosh.
In addition to being superior in hardware and software, Macs are also highly rated in customer satisfaction. As John C. Wood observes, “Additionally, we note a finding that we did not encounter in this study. Namely, not one participant in our study was unhappy with their Macintosh computer. On the contrary, all of the individuals were enthusiastic – die-hard – users” (14).
There are many reasons to buy a Mac. First, there's usability and intuitiveness. The Macintosh is designed to be easy to use. In a perfect world, the easier to use system would win out over the competition, but this has not happened with the Macintosh. Instead, most users are stuck with  an operating system that forces them to hit a button labeled “Start” to turn off their computer. Most users have simply accepted this poor design over time, not knowing that there is a better alternative, or simply not willing to leave the comfortable confines of what they know.
Most of the power of the Macintosh lies in it's operating system. OS X (the operating system that Macintosh computers run) is based on a UNIX core. Technology reviewer Jan Ozer finds that, “OS X is equally impressive. Connecting to the Internet via Mindspring or an Ethernet connection was a breeze, and I was able to successfully load and run Microsoft's Office Suite, as well as Final Cut Express and the iLife suite...” In addition to being easy to use, OS X is also very stable. Because the OS is based on UNIX (which has been around since the dawn of the computing age) Macintosh users experience far fewer crashes or program freeze ups than their PC counterparts. The dreaded but often used “Ctrl+Alt+Delete” shortcut, so depended on in Windows, can be forgotten once one begins to use a Macintosh. OS X also offers the welcome advantage of being susceptible to far fewer viruses than the PC, making it a far more dependable and durable machine.
A Macintosh also makes it easier to be creative. Most high end professional video and  image editing software is available only for the Macintosh. The Macintosh has built in tools such as the Digital Color Meter and the system wide color profile settings that were designed specifically with artists in mind. Even the user interface is designed using neutral colors, so as not to affect color perception when an artist is editing images.
So, if the Macintosh offers all of these advantages, why is there not a massive rush to snatch up every Mac available? The PC crowd offers many reasons why the Macintosh is a second rate choice, and most of these arguments can be broken down into two categories: price and compatibility. We'll start with price.
In his buying guide entitled “How To Buy A Pc.”, Brian Kennedy points out, “Most of the world uses PCs, so they're cheaper, have more software and more plug-and-play peripherals.” and “PCs also tend to be less expensive than Macs that have the same features.” Macintosh computers can be expensive when compared to their PC counterparts, but I think a basic principle of economics holds true: “You get what you pay for.” This is the case with the Macintosh. Macintosh computers are known to last longer than their PC counterparts. There are two reasons for the Macintosh's unmatched longevity; the quality of the components and the fact that it contracts fewer viruses. There are ten year old Macintosh computers still selling for two to three hundred dollars, something you will not find in the realm of the PC.
Lastly, and most importantly, compatibility. According to Brian Kennedy “PCs account for more than 85% of the desktop computer world; Macs represent a mere 10%. That's why software developers (especially game companies) make a lot more programs for PCs.” For a long time, major software packages were available only for the PC.  This is one area where PC proponents held the upper hand for a long time, but this in no longer the case. Macintosh users now account for a large enough percentage of users that software developers are giving them quite a bit of consideration. As stated earlier, Microsoft's Office suite can be run natively on the Mac. Every day, more and more work is done through web browsers reducing the need for specialized software. And if that wasn't enough, the Macintosh can even run Microsoft Windows for the ultimate compatibility.
These are the two main reasons for not buying a Mac, and I believe that the other reasons are quickly becoming fewer and less relevant as time passes. David Beckman and David Hirsch also share this belief. They conclude that,
Every few years we nostalgically look at, and sometimes write about, the Macintosh. Invariably, we conclude that most of Macintosh's features are better than conventional Windows, but not so much better as to overcome Windows warts. Things are different now. It used to be difficult to mix a Macintosh into a Windows network. No longer. It is pretty much plug and play. There used to be many must-have programs that only ran on Windows. That is becoming less and less true now.
Keeping all of this in mind, I would recommend a Macintosh to any friend or family member without hesitation. It is the obvious choice for someone seeking an easy to use, yet powerful and stable machine.

Works Cited
Beckman, David, and David Hirsch. "Big Mac Attack." ABA Journal 90.12 (2004): 60-68. Academic     Search Complete. Web. 11 Nov. 2011.
Jordan C. Wood, et al. "Self-Admitted Pretensions Of Mac Users On A Predominantly PC University Campus." Educational Media International 47.1 (2010): 1-17. Academic Search Complete. Web. 17 Nov. 2011.
Kennedy, Brian. "How To Buy A Pc." ON Magazine 6.7 (2001): 44. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 14 Nov. 2011.
Ozer, Jan. "ESCAPE From Freedom." Emedia -- The Digital Studio Magazine 16.8 (2003): 48. Academic Search Complete. Web. 11 Nov. 2011.

No comments:

Post a Comment