The PC versus Mac debate is raging in my house. We have both available for use, so hopefully, the opinions of those around me are at least somewhat based on actual experiences. So why are their views so polarized?
I have an aging iMac desktop machine at home that works just fine for everything I need to do, including the usual email, web browsing, video editing, and photo management. At work, I use an Intel-based PC that is just amazing for all the applications I need to run there, usually 5 to 7 at any time. I couldn’t ask for a more capable machine. It has lots of RAM and a nice big 21-inch LCD screen. I love it.
On the other hand, my teenage son wouldn’t touch a PC unless a gun was pointed at his head. He and his friends seem to think that the PC or anything Microsoft is to avoid like the plague. Although they seem to go mute when I point out that the X box they are playing is a Microsoft product. Selective preferences seem okay for them when it suits their entertainment needs.
Having capable computing power when and where I need it is much more important than the cool appeal of whatever type of machine I have available. I couldn’t give rats behind whether or not the device has any sex appeal as long as I can get it to do what I want to ask of it. If I could make an old Commodore 64 do what I needed, that would be okay. I suppose I don’t look at my computer as any status symbol.
I look at computers as appliances, just a means to an end. I don’t expect my toaster to add anything to my social status beyond making toast when I put the bread in. And it’s no different when it comes to computers. They are there to do our bidding. Nothing more. If a Mac is better at running graphics software, then that is the platform to use. And if a PC is better suited for business applications, that is great too. It’s just an appliance! If it does what you are asking, what more do you need? My car is an aging Toyota Camry (an embarrassment to my son) that will easily exceed all posted speed limits, so why would I need something faster? To me, the car is just a necessary transportation appliance. Nothing more.
Why do so many have such strong opinions on the PC vs. Mac systems? Is it just marketing? Or maybe they want to belong to a community of like-minded individuals. I don’t think you can ever underestimate the power of the herd mentality. If all your friends feel that the Mac (or PC) is the only way to go, buckling the flow and going your own way becomes tough. You risk having to justify your choice to your peers with the possibility of great ridicule. As if it matters, in the end, what type of processor works for you?
However, I have noticed the relative lifespan of the two platforms as a distinguishing point. As I mentioned, I have an aging Mac at home that works and the day I brought it home. On the other hand, my PC friends seem to be in constant need of an upgrade. Over time their PC gets slower and slower. This is despite all their efforts using firewalls and virus scanners. Things that are unnecessary with a Mac, of course. At least for now, while the Mac has only about a 5% market share, that leaves little incentive to write those viruses for so few. Does that make the PC an inferior platform for our needs?
Not at all. The PC is still the choice of most of the world’s desktop computer users. The huge array of software available for the PC is one of the many reasons it is king. There are a huge number of companies providing both hardware and software that use the Windows operating system. Resulting in a highly competitive marketplace that has, because of this competition, kept the prices at astonishingly low prices. You can now buy a good laptop complete with Windows and other companion software for under $500.00! And desktop computers can be had even cheaper. Just try to get a Mac for anything less than double that.
The cool appeal certainly is a huge factor. Macs have that in spades. Even with the higher entry price, they have a rabid fan base. Mac users are so dedicated to their machines, almost to the point of obsession. They believe this strongly for reasons that could only be rooted in loyalty to Apple’s vision of a unique alternative to the Microsoft’s near-monopoly. There will always be a segment of the population that feels the need to rebel against a successful corporation. I know people that refuse to drink a Starbucks coffee, and not that they will likely admit it, but I suspect it is just the fact that they perceive the company to be too corporate. Too successful. Microsoft is all of that.
A large, very successful corporation, therefore must be hated. It’s all good, of course. It makes for a healthier marketplace to have some competition for the large dominant corporations. There is always room for more choices available to the consumer.