Why a MAC May be the Best Computer for you.


by Allison,

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Should You Buy a Mac?

Disclaimer: I'm typing this on a MacBook. My work computer is a Mac Pro that runs Windows XP in Boot Camp.

In the interest of lively discussion, we thought we'd bring up the PC versus Mac debate. There are enough passionate opinions on the Web that claim technical superiority for one system of the other. It's probably enough to say that you can find adequate references no matter your preference. However, there are some good reasons to consider a Mac for your next computer.

First, the vast majority of the malware is written for the Windows environment. Why? Because most computers are running some version of Windows. By most, I mean something like 90% of computers. So if you're a adware developer, you get the most bang for your buck by developing malware that targets the Windows environment. The same for virus developers. If you write virus programs, you need to get a life. But if you want the most publicity and damage for your efforts, you'll target Windows.

Is the Mac operating system inherently more secure? Maybe. Then again, maybe not. But the simple fact is that the Mac OS is effectively more secure just by virtue of the sheer number of attacks targeted for Windows. More scoundrels are developing more software that targets Windows.

Second, a Mac is an integrated system. By that, I mean that you buy a Mac, it comes with a system architecture that is designed to run the Mac OS. You pick your configuration from a list of components that are tested to work. PC folks argue that the Mac is a closed system. Therefore, you probably have fewer choices for how to configure and build your computer. There's probably some truth to that. If you buy a Mac, you probably have fewer choices for hardware and accessories.

But with the current hardware that is available for the Mac, do you really care? Well, maybe if you're a gamer trying to extract the last frame per second in Doom. But in any other scenario, I'll bet that you can find a configuration that will perform more than adequately. And you won't have to install six different drivers to find the most compatible version. Always remember that all those configuration options add layers of complexity. If you're a hobbyist that enjoys tinkering and tweaking, this is a non-issue. If you want your computer to just work with a minimum of hassle, it's a huge point. A Mac is indeed something of a closed system, but that can work to the advantage of the user.

Third, PC users have long touted application availability as a PC advantage. For a long time, there may have been truth in this argument. But the time for that argument is past. In addition to a much better selection of Mac applications, those applications offer much more cross-platform compatibility than ever. Applications such as Microsoft Office and Intuit Quickbooks have lead the way in cross-platform compatibility. And If you absolutely need to run a PC application for work, you can run that application in Windows in Boot Camp or in a virtual environment such as Parallels or VMWare.

I run a variety of Windows applications in both Windows XP on a Boot Camp partition and in Parallels. I run Windows XP, Windows Server, Windows Vista, and Ubuntu in Parallels virtual machines. In each case, the operating systems are fast and stable. They run PC applications without problems. And the virtual machines are dead easy to network.

Fourth, Apple technical support is consistently rated as the best OEM technical support. The last time I checked, the margin was fairly significant as well. And if you live in an area where there is an Apple Store, you can schedule an appointment for technical support in the store. No small advantage.

Ok, here's where the unbiased section ends. I'm a technical writer. I get a first-hand, up close look experience with computers for 8 hours a day. I write about using computers, and I read about other people using computers. And from a user standpoint, Apple has a way of making the complex simple. And elegant. When you use System Preferences to configure a Mac, the interface is clean and intuitive. The design of the computer itself is original and appealing. If Apple had never introduced the original iMac, you could have any computer you want as long as it is beige and a box.