In years past you have likely seen the Apple commercials showing the cool, fun, tech savvy, Justin Long stating “I’m a Mac” followed by the nerdy, boring, suited John Hodgman stating “And I’m a PC”. The commercials were witty and very effective in landing the message: unless you are boring, and want to do nothing more with your computer than build spreadsheets and enter data, you should own a Mac. So effective in fact, that Microsoft retaliated with a series of “I’m a PC” ads designed to show everyday people, not just boring cubicle inhabiting drones, to be “PC’s”. Ultimately, the win for this marketing battle went to Apple, as their market share increased, and it suddenly became “cool” to own an Apple computer.
Years have passed, and Apple is now the king of not only the tech world, but of Wall Street, recently becoming the most valuable company in history at over $600 billion (yes billion with a b). Apple’s success has come in large part from brilliant marketing and product design, combined with a unified Apple ecosystem. This marketing, design, and ecosystem is physically embodied in Apples retail stores, as their physical shops are beautiful, hip, and connected (and always busy as a result).
In response to Apple’s success, Microsoft began a restructure of how they do business, in an effort to stay relevant in a changing technology climate.
In 2009, Microsoft began opening retail shops to rival the Apple stores. In preparation for the Windows 8 launch, Microsoft has accelerated the growth of their retail footprint.
Microsoft has changed their company logo for the first time in 25 years (to an arguably blander version) and is now entering computer hardware manufacturing for the first time ever with their Microsoft “Surface” tablet.
The Windows 8 Operating System is a drastic departure from Windows 7. This is a big change from Microsoft’s previously consistent business strategy to focus on keeping the Windows experience relatively the same, but with the addition of new features, upgraded security, and a “prettier” interface. With Windows 8 it is clear that Microsoft is attempting to build an ecosystem for all of their products, as Windows 8 will run on desktop and laptop pc’s, tablets, and Windows phones.
Not to be left out of this new ecosystem, the Xbox360 has been integrated with the Windows 8 environment via Xbox Live. All of the aforementioned devices will have access to some of the Xbox Live Arcade library of games. They are adding additional cross functionality by allowing you to control your Xbox 360 via your Windows Smart phone utilizing what they call their “SmartGlass” App.
Whether Microsoft’s transformation will work in their favor or against it is yet to be determined, but you won’t have to wait much longer to find out, as Windows 8 launches October 26, 2012, and the Windows 8 phones won’t be far behind.
With all of the information above, you may be asking yourself “well which is best for me, a Mac, or a PC?”
The answer to that question comes down to a few different factors. To help you determine which direction is best for you, consider the following:
Have you ever worked with a Mac before?
While many Apple users consider the Mac Operating System to be more streamlined and intuitive than Windows, this is not always the case. Individuals that have worked with nothing but a Windows PC often find the learning curve to be steep, and sometimes feel that the Mac OS is more convoluted and backwards from what they are used to.
What is your budget for a new computer?
This is a big one for many people. While you can typically get an entry level Windows laptop or desktop for $400-$600 an entry level Mac will typically double that price. With the exception of the $599.99 Mac Mini, an entry level MacBook laptop starts at $999.99 and the entry level iMac’s start at $1,199.99.
What will you do with your new computer?
The mantra that Mac’s are for graphic designers and Windows PC’s are for businesses and productivity is ancient history. So long as the computer hardware is comparable, you can now do just about anything on both platforms equally. One area where the PC still excels over the Mac is gaming. If you are an avid gamer who wants to custom build and upgrade your own rig, the PC is where it’s at.
Do you need the computer to be portable?
Looking for a computer with a large screen, a keyboard and mouse, but don’t need to go anywhere with it? A desktop or all in one computer is a great choice. Need the same functionality as a desktop but the ability to take it on the go? A notebook computer is the right choice for you. Need a device that allows you to access the internet/email, and has basic app based programs and games in an ultra-portable format? You may want to look at a tablet. Deciding on the type of computer that fits you best, combined with all of the other factors listed in this article can help you decide between a Mac and PC.
Do you have any specialty software that doesn’t run on a Mac?
While the library of compatible software and hardware have grown dramatically for the Mac operating system in recent years, there are still many applications that only work on a PC. A lot of specialized software and video games are designed specifically for the Windows operating system. Before purchasing a Mac computer, look at the requirements for all programs you can’t live without and make sure that a Mac compatible version is available. There is always the option to install Windows on your new Mac, but plan on $200 for a copy of Windows plus the potential cost of installation services.
Have you had problems with computer viruses in the past?
You may have heard that you should get a Mac because “they don’t get viruses”. This statement is only partially true. While there are no viruses currently “in the wild” for the Mac, there are many other types of malware that can infect a Mac. Things like Trojans, Worms, and Spyware can infect your Mac, potentially compromising your identity and giving a hacker control of your computer. In addition, a Mac can act as a host to a virus. While the virus cannot cause damage to your Mac, it can spread to any other PC’s you might have on your home network. Regardless of your choice between a Mac and a PC, good virus/spyware protection is essential to insure a safe internet experience. A PC is far more prone to being infected by Malware than a Mac computer is, but safe browsing habits combined with a solid antivirus program can nearly level the playing field.
If you have read all of the above information and are still uncertain on which direction to go with your computer purchase, feel free to call a PCRx computer doctor. We can consult with you to help make sure the computer you purchase is a perfect match for you. We also offer computer setup and training services to make sure you hit the ground running. To speak with a PCRx doctor, call us toll free at 1-855-ASK-PCRx (1-855-275-7279). Visit our website at www.pcrxonline.com for more information about us and our services.
(Editor’s Note: Garrett Flora is Cofounder and Partner of PCRx Computer Solutions, a computer company in Tucson. For computer and technology related questions, or to schedule an appointment with PCRx, call 1-855-ASK-PCRX (1-855-275-7279) or email HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org"email@example.com. Visit the website at HYPERLINK "http://www.pcrxonline.com/"www.pcrxonline.com.)