Mac vs. PC: The stereotypes may be true

Discussion in 'News / Current Events' started by Paul3144, May 19, 2011.

  1. Paul3144

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  2. Baptist Believer

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    I saw that article a couple of weeks ago and I think it's still nonsense.

    I think the biggest difference in the demographic is that the unsophisticated (or merely poor) Windows users tend to buy bargain-basement computers according to price point from places like Walmart instead of buying according to features they really need and buying a system that will be usable for 3-5 years or more.

    They will buy a sub-$500 system and use it for a year or two before buying a new one. Most Mac users tend to keep their systems much longer because Apple tends to upgrade the OS more frequently and support the hardware longer. There is a much tighter integration of hardware and software because of the business model. Apple only has to support a relatively small number of systems while Microsoft has to support every bargain-basement to high-end manufacturer, not to mention all of the people who built their own custom machines. Just the sheer number of drivers alone is enough to see why Microsoft has had so much difficulty creating a seamless computing experience. However I also need to point out that Apple quietly designs drivers for its systems that automatically handle quite a bit of hardware. In my older tower systems, I frequently installed USB expansion cards, hard drive controllers, etc., and the system automatically set them up with drivers built into the OS. Then there's the ability to plug in mice, flight simulator controllers, printers, etc., without even having to use the manufacturer's drivers.

    Microsoft has made great strides with Windows 7 and it's like using the Mac OS X system from about 4-5 years ago. Lots of nice and helpful features that stay out of your way, and it seems to be fairly solid. I use it every day at work and I've only had three crashes in the last nine months.

    Of course, to function optimally, Windows 7 needs a decent system with a powerful processor and lots of memory. Buying a bargain-basement Walmart machine will make any OS run poorly unless you're using something like Linux. But Linux is not really an operating system designed for people who just need to get work done.
     
  3. glfredrick

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    I think that the stereotype is true. While the entire business side of America, including manufacturing, office complexes, billing agencies, Wall Street, etc., runs on PCs, the artsy-fartsy crowd lives and dies with their Mac, and distinct lack of available software.

    2009 numbers indicate these percentage of users:

    92.7% Windows
    5.12% Mac
    0.95% Linux

    There are marketing stories out there that indicate that Mac has now captured over 10% of the market, but that seems to be hype based on new sales of Mac computers that people buy instead of fixing their current model like many PC users do. Cost is a major factor. Why pay almost double for the same level of performance just to run an emulator so common software can be used when you get all that and more for less $$$?

    Hardware wise, Macs now run the same processors that PCs run, and they have for years.
     
  4. Baptist Believer

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    This is somewhat overstated, but it is true that Windows dominates the corporate world, largely because of the server side part of the business, coupled with the corporate licensing structure. It also helps Microsoft that a major reason why big business sticks to Windows is that there is an entire culture of computer support personnel who depend on their Windows certifications and all of the flaky issues with Microsoft software to keep them employable.

    In my own firm, I find it interesting to see the computer "experts" using Macs, iPhones and iPads for personal use, while complaining about the bugs in our firm's systems and software, yet refusing to "support" employees who chose Apple products to work with our vast network. As a result, I am one of the unofficial Apple techs for our firm. Computer Services often sends people to me to find out how to interface with our network since they cannot officially tell anyone how to do it.

    And for my part, there's nothing to it. I can connect anyone's iPhone, iPad to the network faster and easier than native Windows devices. I was just asked this morning about connecting a Mac to the Exchange Server. I asked if the user had Outlook. Yes? Then it's a cinch. Even easier to connect than the Windows version of Outlook.

    The idea that Macs can't/won't work in a Windows world is a myth.

    While it is true that I first started using a Mac professionally when I got into professional publishing (because Macs were, and probably still are, the only systems with reliable color matching) back in the 1990s, I had used Apple computers back in the early and mid-1980s.

    However, I specifically chose a Mac for personal use simply because it was a better and more productive experience, more reliable, and relatively immune from viruses.

    This is largely a myth. Furthermore, the Mac has lots of software that is unavailable for Windows that works better than most Windows alternatives. You can always natively runs Windows on a Mac to use the odd bit of specific software that is not available for OS X, but you can't do the same with a Windows PC. Almost all of my family (formerly die-hard Windows users) have converted to Macs over the past decade because they see how much easier my life is with my Mac.

    I doubt that's actually the percentage of users. Possibly the out-of-date percentage of sales for some region. Since Mac owners keep their computers longer than Windows folks, sales figures are only part of the story. Furthermore, you're assuming that more people using an OS somehow makes it better. That logic would indicate that a Chevy Impala must necessarily be a better quality car than a Lexus.

    Actually I think those are simply sales figures. Also, since Mac users keep their computers longer and a very high number of the people buying Macs are switching from Windows, I think you are engaging in wishful thinking. A better estimate of an installed user base would be browser stats from internet sites. I haven't bothered to look lately, but as I recall, more than 10% are using an OS X-based browser.

    The cost thing is overstated too.

    For high-end notebook computers, Macs are often the same price or cheaper. Furthermore, the quality of build is higher with notebooks milled from a solid piece of aluminum so they don't flex like many Windows-based notebooks.

    Some of the desktop computers don't compare as well, but you're not just buying hardware, you're buying the OS and the total experience. Given that you really have no need of anti-virus software (I haven't run anti-virus software since 1999 and have had no viruses), and the system comes with quite a bit of powerful, usable software (not just demos) like iLife, there's added value that many Windows folks might not expect. Something else you might not expect is that since Apple has had a huge push to make more energy-efficient systems, the cost of the electricity to run your computer will likely make a noticeable difference in your electric bill. That's one of the reasons the iMac is a bit more expensive than a Windows tower with similar specs. Apple uses notebook computer components because they are more energy-efficient. You pay more up front, but save month-to-month.

    Yes. That means that there is nothing that a computer designed for Windows can offer than a Mac cannot. The same can't be said the other way around.

    You can get into a Windows computer for a lower initial cost, but the cost of ownership is much higher than simply the initial purchase.

    If you like Windows, great! The good news is that Windows 7 Professional is actually a decent OS. Microsoft learned a lot from the Mac OS and added their own twist to it (sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse).

    If you like Macs, that's also great! Welcome! Those who have switched over the past few years are some of the most enthusiastic Mac people there are... including folks who spend their professional lives in "business" like accounts, engineers, banks, etc. It's not just for "artsy" people.
     
    #4 Baptist Believer, May 19, 2011
    Last edited: May 19, 2011
  5. glfredrick

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    Cool... game on!

    I'm not sure how raw numbers are "overstated" but that may be your "artistic" side speaking out... One might think that if Windows is THAT flaky that corporate gurus would make the switch, but even though Apple has tried for decades, they just won't do it. Seems odd, doesn't it? Macs being easier, having more software options, etc...

    Perhaps they just like "geeky" gear? Yet, they don't know how to support the Mac product that others on-site are using. Weird...

    Outlook, huh... Sounds like a native Apple program. Oh, wait. That's Micro$oft stuff. :smilewinkgrin: I've never noticed that it is particularly difficult to hook to a network, but I'd suspect that Outlook handles the task in a similar fashion whether Mac or PC. After all, Outlook is a native PC software package.

    That they HAVE to is Mac's dirty little secret... :saint:

    I find a lot of Mac guys have really LOOOONNNNGGGG memories. They still remember when Windows 3.1 was not the most user friendly GUI, and how Mac had that cute little garbage can icon right there on the screen. That was a long time ago. Seeing as how Macs and PCs share the same hardware and now software, I doubt that there is much advantage these days, but those white cases sure do look good...

    With only a mere handful in operation, and most of those in places that don't do numbers and such, there really isn't much of a market for hackers and code-stealer's. I do appreciate the "experience" thing. Isn't that what the poll referenced above talks about?

    Really? More software for the Mac? Then why has Apple written a dual-boot system? Why, when someone sends me a file from a Mac, do I have to go through that entire document and BY HAND replace all the ASCII characters that get skewed into something else? Also, ever try finding decent Bible software for a Mac? Most Mac guys are now running PC native apps, and for good reason -- that is what is out there. Another good reason is price point for the software. Still another good reason is that the newfound ability for a Mac to run PC software kept Mac in business. Without that effort, they would have been a phone retailer by now (whoops, my bad...) :smilewinkgrin:

    I don't recall using the term "better." But the numbers really don't lie. Also, as long as every Mac sale also includes a Windows sale, Micro$oft never really loses ground, nor does Mac really ever gain ground.

    Okay, 11%...

    Not according to industry analysts, who suggest that Mac's profit margin is in the same league as Porche... Of course, a Lamborghini is also expensive. If we are talking "high end" cost is always a factor, but price point on all Macs is higher than all PCs -- and likely intentional.
    http://techcrunch.com/2009/07/23/the-mac-versus-pc-debate-has-never-been-clearer/

    That "experience" thing again... Mac advertisements are working. They should keep doing them. Ever heard of "Energy Star?" PCs have it, and have since the early 90s. Since Macs run the same hardware under the hood as PCs, I don't see the energy thing as a big ticket seller for Mac. Sustainability should be less expensive instead of more...

    I'm not sure, but I'd lay odds that neither of us would be reading this if not for PCs.

    Huh? Same hardware, same software?

    I've had a good time with this, and I hope that you take it in light of the recent Mac/PC commercials... Just a welcome respite from the Calvinist/Arminian battles of late. :1_grouphug:
     
  6. Mexdeaf

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    I'll just say- you couldn't pay me enough to go back to a PC!
     
  7. Salty

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    How 10 million dollars a year?
     
  8. Mexdeaf

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    Cut the check and let's talk- LOL!
     
  9. StefanM

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    I just purchased a new laptop at Best Buy and got a free XBOX360 for being a student, all for about $400 less than I would have spent on the low-end MacBook Pro, inclusive of the student discount.

    Plus, the processor (both are Intel Core i5) is 2.67GHz instead of 2.3 like the MacBook Pro. It has 6GB of RAM instead of 4GB. Both have equivalent Intel HD graphics. I give the MacBook Pro a slight edge in visual appeal, but the laptop I purchased has dark bamboo grain with a brushed nickel finish over the rest of the surface. It does have a plastic base, so the metal unibody is an advantage for the MacBook pro.

    I went to the Apple store and gave multiple MacBooks a test run, but I just couldn't justify the additional expense.

    I think Apples are great, but they are a bit overpriced, IMO.

    The regular MacBook,though, is a complete ripoff at $999.
     
    #9 StefanM, May 22, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 22, 2011
  10. Baptist Believer

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    What brand and model?
     
  11. Baptist Believer

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    Sounds like this one.
     
  12. Baptist Believer

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    Couple of things regarding the hardware:

    By pointing these things out, I’m not trying to denigrate your machine. The specs look very nice and I’m sure it is a great Windows notebook. However, you allege that the Apple machine is overpriced because both machines have an i5 processor, although the clock speed is higher on the ASUS (which is not necessarily a good thing). Back in the bad old days, Intel hyped the clock speed as a measurement of how fast the computer worked. It wasn’t necessarily true then and it is certainly not true now. It actually came back to bite Intel when the heat issues from extremely high clocking speeds made their chips difficult to cool and prevented them from being used efficiently in portable systems.

    Processor:
    Simply put, you don’t have the same processor. Sure they’re both part of the Intel Core i5 family, but the MacBook Pro has the new Sandy Bridge processor (I5-2415M) while the ASUS has the previous generation Intel Core i5-480M processor.

    The Sandy Bridge chip is about 35% faster and uses less power (very important when you’re running on battery power) at a lower clock speed, so it runs cooler than the previous generation.

    Add to that the processor overhead required to run anti-virus software at all times on the Windows unit, and you have a significantly slower system.

    Battery Life:
    Mac OS X features very capable power management software that exceeds the efficiency of Windows 7. Apple estimates the battery life of the MacBook 13” you considered to be ABOUT 7 hours, and that’s using the computer to wirelessly browse websites and create word processing documents at 50% screen brightness. According to many independent sources, Apple’s battery estimates are very realistic and you can often significantly exceed the battery life per charge depending upon how you use the machine. My experience with Apple battery life estimates confirms this since I often get well over the estimated 10 hours of hard use on my iPad per single charge. On the same machine running Windows 7, the battery runs down much faster because Windows 7 keeps many processes going full blast no matter what they user actually requires.

    Best Buy estimates the battery life of the ASUS unit to be UP TO 6 hours and 6 minutes. I’ve heard that those estimates are not very realistic (if you have the screen at any reasonable brightness level), but you would have a better sense of that than I would. However, I very strongly suspect you can run quite a bit longer on battery power with the Mac than you can with the ASUS system.

    Other Hardware Features:
    Both notebooks offer some nice features. The ASUS has more memory out-of-the-box which is always helpful. However, Windows 7 tends to be more of a memory hog than OS X, so that advantage is somewhat compromised by heavier demands on the system. However, the ASUS does have more memory.

    The ASUS has a USB 3.0 port while the MacBook Pro has a Firewire 800 port (very efficient for streaming data like video, and can be used to boot the system from an external hard drive at any time) and a daisy-chainable Thunderbolt port (twice as fast as USB 3.0, although there fewer devices available at this time).

    ---

    There are numerous other hardware features, some where ASUS has an advantage, some where the MacBook Pro has the advantage, and a number of other things that are just different, with no real world advantage to most people.

    The biggest difference that Apple brings is a smooth integration between the hardware and software that creates a superior user experience/efficiency for most people. That is an intangible and cannot easily be assessed with specs.

    That hassle-free integration, for me, along with the faster hardware and battery life, would be worth more than $400.

    The XBox is a nice plus, although I personally have no interest in the XBox. I have a Playstation 3 that I use for Blu-Ray viewing and the occasional video game.

    Each person has to decide what is right for their own purposes.
     
    #12 Baptist Believer, May 23, 2011
    Last edited: May 23, 2011
  13. StefanM

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    This is a fair point. However, it is important to point out that even though the chip is 35% faster, it is 71% more expensive based on the list price. On the use of anti-virus, this is currently an advantage, but I do wonder how much longer the Macs can go without having viruses as a serious threat.

    Fair enough. I knew this PC wouldn't have as much battery life as the MacBook Pro, though.

    This is definitely one of those situations when you would have assess your needs. In my case, the USB 3.0 wasn't a factor. The MacBook Pro does have the advantage for this particular issue.

    I agree with your last statement. For me, the battery life wasn't as important, as long as it wasn't obviously subpar.

    I definitely understand that the appeal of the Mac is an improved user experience. I own an iPhone and an iPad, and I personally like Apple products. I wish they had flash capability, but that's just part of having iOs products.

    The major issue I have with the Mac systems is that value is not consistent across the products.

    The iMacs are absolutely amazing--light years ahead of the competition.

    The MacBook Airs are good for what they do. (I strongly considered purchasing one of these for the portability factor plus flash-based storage, but I needed to keep the option to easily hook up to monitors, presentations, etc.).

    The MacBook Pros are great computers, but IMO they are about 100-150 dollars overpriced.

    The regular MacBooks are ridiculously overpriced. I seriously don't understand how they even sell them. It still runs with the Intel Core 2 Duo, and it only has 2GB of RAM. And STILL it is $999. The unibody is polycarbonate instead of aluminum. No Firewire. No card slots. No Thunderbolt. If you are already going to spend $999 on a Mac, you are much better off going up $200 bucks to get the base level MacBook Pro.

    What Apple could do is run the MacBook at a price point of about $650-700, and the improved user experience, etc., could justify the lower specs.

    For the average computer user, though, it is quite difficult to rationalize the higher price on the Mac.
     
    #13 StefanM, May 23, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2011
  14. glfredrick

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    Macs are as vulnerable as any other platform, but the smallish numbers of Mac users have held down the attacks. As popularity rises, so will attacks, and the poor Mac users who "think" that nothing can happen will be shocked to discover that it can.

    http://www.allbusiness.com/consumer-products/computing-products-consumer/15607993-1.html
     

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