Apple Or PC? Everyday Readers Chime In

I have a friend. He is looking for a new , but is not sure whether he wants a PC or Mac. Since I have lived in , I could tell him the pros and cons for both. However, I am a techie. I suggest a computer based on my techie knowledge.

We both agreed that he wanted a “Everyday” opinion. We went out to the and talked with the people and the computers they used.  Some have it for work, others either got their computers as gifts. Those that did buy their own computer got the info from another IT person.

There was one that did use to choose his computer. He was happy with his machine and it weighed in on my friends decision. But he wanted a lot more.

Therefore, we appealed to the everyday reader. I posted the question “What would you suggest and why?” The response was overwhelming. Nonetheless, here are the responses we got. They are mostly uncut – I did correct some . Here is what they said:

I walked up to meet a speaker whom I was to introduce for his at a conference and commented “Oh, you use a Macintosh computer too.” He replied, “No, I don’t know how to use a computer. That’s why I have a Mac.” ‘nough said.

Bill O’Hanlon

it’s simple…. i had multiple pcs in my past…. dell, hewlett packard, gateway…. all of them caused multiple problems over the years,
multiple and freezes, had to be on technical support for hours, had to reinstall windows several times…. constantly an aggravation.
then i got a mac…. case closed…. not a single problem or aggravation… going on two and a half years now….

Walter E Jacobson, md

I could help out with that…

I’m an online , use my machines constantly, and need reliability and speed.I just switched to a mac book pro, after months of internal debate.

I’m never going back, 90% of the programs I need are available for mac, and those that aren’t I can use vmware fusion, and they run just fine.

Far superior hardware that works, out of the box!

Kirt Christensen

I have owned Macs since the 512E in 1988. Moved into most others and now have the Macbook with dual processors. In the old days the argument against Mac was the lack of software. Since user experience was never used to position the machines, the price point for the products became an issue. Today, there is no excuse for being satisfied with a PC user experience. Even if you want to run PC software, my experience is the Mac runs it faster.
As with any experience with technology, the more you use it the more you appreciate it. I could go on but you let me know what you actually want for details.
Chuck the Mac Evangelist

Short answer: PC, because they do everything a Mac does, and are about half price.My girlfriend and I each had a computer. Mine was a PC, hers: a high-end Macbook. In her apartment, she had a wireless network set up for her Mac. She was unable to connect to her router’s administrative page to get the key so that I could connect to her network with my PC – but I could, no problem.

When I changed apartments, I had no trouble connecting my PC to my new wireless network. We struggled to get her Mac to connect – in fact, we eventually gave up.

Repeatedly, we would try to do things on her Mac, and end up finding it either impossible, or simply easier to do on the PC. And lest you think these are the struggles of beginners, I spent a portion of my career in network support at a university, and a portion of my business is designing and coding Web sites.

After a while she sold her Macbook, and we bought her an Acer, and went away for the weekend on the profits.

-John Cloonan

I would love to tell you why I love my Mac. I have been a PC user since 1992 and I just switched to a MacBook one month ago. I had never used an Apple and I am now wondering why I waited for so long. I am 54 years old, and it took me less than 2 days to get acquainted with the Apple set up. I whole heartedly recommend Mac – “once you go Mac, you never go back” – a phrase I heard in the Apple store and have come to believe.Rachel Goeres

Hey Jeffrey – my wife forwarded your query and I though it might be interesting to reply, especially if there is the opportunity for exposure for my business. I have been a mac guy for ten years. I find their platform more stable, less adverse to virus, and overall more intuitive.Recently I became a Realtor in Santa Monica. The real estate world is almost entirely PC based. And I am bucking the trend. When I first started, people laughed at me and just told me to buy a PC. Being the stubborn man I am, I am happy to say I successfully run parallels to do my real estate business and since the technology is so good, I am very happy with it.

David Bruce

I recently switched to Mac (late ’08 MacBook Pro) and feel the computer is better at memory management. I seem to have less available resource issues, despite consistently having several applications open at once. It is also more graceful with install and uninstalls. It gives me the perception the entire file is gone, unlike Windows that leaves little traces of software behind and bogs down the machine over time.However, Mac is still a computer and still has issues. My biggest issue is around dual monitor use. The software menu structure is anchored to the primary monitor and not the software forcing A LOT of mousing to access menus. It struggles in this area with applications running off screen when my laptop is not connected to the second monitor and in extreme cases causing software to crash and not start if not connected to both monitors . It can also be sensitive to older peripheral hardware which will cause crashes.

It’s a nice machine, and mostly happy that I switched, but it’s not computing bliss.

Kevin Dwinnell

… and the answer is, neither!Apples are overpriced, non-standard hardware, and hostile to users. One of my favorite quotes about Apple is it’s like a five-star hotel you can never leave. (Jim Zemlin said this…) Its software is great to use, but very difficult to export your data if you need to switch to another system. It’s also quite hostile to developers outside what it does–several Mac developers have quit after Apple decided to implement the functions of their software right into the OS, because it was so popular–with no reward to the developers.

Windows is way too much work to keep running. Spyware and viruses are endemic, and you need to be diligent in keeping your machine clean or else it’ll quickly get hijacked and used to spam the rest of the world.

I would steer your friend to a laptop running Ubuntu, or one of the many new Netbooks out there that come with Linux, unless there’s some compelling reason he needs a specific OS.

these are great systems, capable of doing everything you need to do. I’m running a 9-person company completely on Linux laptops (and servers), and have installed Linux for my sister, mother, and even grandmother.


John Locke

Hi,I’ve looked at Macbook Pros and Macbook Air, because I wanted something durable, with good value and that I could use every day. In the end my laptop of choice has turned out to be a PC netbook – the Acer Aspire One.

It runs Windows XP, is portable enough that I carry it anywhere and cheap enough that I don’t care if anything happens to it. With the extended battery I get 6 hours, which is enough for me to fly from Honolulu to the US west coast and work the whole time.

Sid Savara

I like my mac (MacBook Pro 15″ circa Summer 2007) because I’ve:Dropped A Steel Beam On it [ON THE SCREEN!]
Fallen down the stairs on top of it
and Dropped it from my laptop case onto a concrete floor

And it still runs like a champ. From a purely physical standpoint, it’s engineering is superb. The price is steep, but I probably would have had to buy 2 more mid-range PC laptops in the same time period. Through all that, I’ve had only a few small dents in the outside, and an unnoticeable scratch on the screen.

Issac Kelly

I made the switch to Mac in Fall of 2002 and I never want to go back.I was not always this way. I grew up on PC, played Frogger, Lunar Lander, and King’s Quest II on an IBM when I was little, and moved on from there to a series of Compaqs, HPs, Sonys, and Dells for the next 15 years. I thought Mac was essentially a non-starter, that you couldn’t find software for it, that it wasn’t compatible with PC files, that it was only for graphic artists, etc. Basically all the Mac myths of the 90s. My only Mac experiences were in middle school with what seemed to be archaic IIGs, which only further cemented my disdain for the house that Jobs built. But as I began my search for a new computer in late Summer ’02 I was taken aback when a close friend strongly encouraged me to take a look at Apple. When I protested, he countered every one of my arguments and basically summed it up that it was a new Apple and the game had changed.

I did my research, spent hours in the Apple store and was quickly hooked. The best way I can explain it is to use a group project as a metaphor. Whether in school or professionally, when a group has to complete a project, you can usually judge the final outcome by the group’s work process. There is a huge difference in the overall quality of the final project between the group who divvied up the duties (you do the intro, I’ll do first part, you do the second part, and you do visual aids), and the group who worked together as a cohesive unit from beginning to end. The first group often yields an erratic, uneven, disjointed product. It becomes clear that there are gaps in the information, that the visuals don’t match the data, and that often the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. Presentations break down with ums… uhs… and general stuttering as they try to cobble together a unified presentation. The second group, however, turns in a seamless presentation which flows effortlessly from beginning to end and each component is in perfect sync. Each team member can finish each other’s sentences, jump in where needed, and the results are dazzling.

That’s how it is with Apple. They control all the variables and have complete visibility in how their products work together. I mean, you have to hand it to Windows to a certain degree because they make a product that works at least MOST of the time with what is essentially an endless stream of variables (sound cards, motherboards, processors, memory, etc.). But at the end of the day, it just doesn’t compare to the Apple experience. It just works. My initial PowerMac G4 (from Fall ’02) is still in use and has been joined by a new MacBook Pro last year. I’ve also become such a brand enthusiast that I’ve influenced over 10 Mac purchases, including dad, two sisters, an ex-girlfriend, and even our company’s President and Co-Founders.

I submit that if you’re still using a PC, then you just haven’t tried a Mac. To use a Geek analogy: Apple is as superior to PC as The Dark Knight is to Batman & Robin.

Scott Caldwell

I don’t agree that it’s as clear cut as that. Your decision should be based on your comfort level as well as your needs.There are many reasons to choose one over the other:

· What are you use to?

o If you’re older and have always used a PC, why switch?

o If you’ve always used a PC and it meets your needs, why switch?

o If you’ve always used a MAC and it meets your needs, why switch?

· What are you using your computer for?

o Lot of graphics and managing photos? Look at the mac (although there are many programs for a PC that are just as good)

o Internet, email, documents, etc? if you’re used to and comfortable with a PC then stick with it.

It comes down to comfort level and your needs.

Regarding a PC, my preference is Dell for personal needs. OS should be Windows XP, Vista Business (or Ultimate if you must, though nothing less) or, if you’re willing to wait until the fall, Windows 7.

Susan B. Shapiro

On the next page, we look more at reader responses.

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