Apple Macs v Proper Laptops

Okay, I know it’s been said many times many ways, but nonetheless I’m going to give you my opinion of Macs.

For anyone who has no idea what I’m talking about, let me go from the beginning:

  • There are two main operating systems out there (that’s the software that makes your computer actually do stuff), Windows and Apple Mac.
  • As of January 2012, about 7% of people use Mac, while most of the others use Windows.
  • There’s a third operating system, Linux, which is popular with many computer savvy people. But I’ll talk about that later.
  • Funnily enough, Mac has about 15% usage in America – more than twice it’s global average.

So why isn’t Apple all that popular? I mean, it has a lot of benefits over Windows, and it’s products are generally better designed.
Well for me, these are the main problems. I’ll leave out a number of smaller details (eg. holding down command instead of control) because they’re really just me being obstinate.

  1. Top of the why-Windows-is-better list is price. As a friend pointed out to me earlier, you can get a top-spec laptop for less than €700, whilst you’d pay almost €1000 for the cheapest Mac! (ignoring the Mac Mini, now) There’s absolutely no need for those extortionate prices. Windows runs on Dell, HP and many other brands of laptop. As far as I know, Mac OS only comes on Apple computers. So why limit yourself like that? Because people are still willing to pay top dollar for the brand!
  2. Apple seem to decide everything for you. Although there are ways around it (I presume), they tend to save all your music, videos, documents and such in the same place. Which is fine for all the noobs, but some people (like me) want their own folder in the C:\ drive, with everything obsessively organised in an arbitrary systematic way. Similarly with songs ripped through iTunes, they all get put away protected in a folder, never to be touched directly. At least with Windows Media Player you can go to My Documents and move your mp3 files around. You can even copy them to your other laptop if needed.
  3. Following on from this is Apple’s basic system design. You can’t touch important files, no matter how much you want! Now the obvious benefit of this is that you can’t mess anything up, and viruses are powerless. The drawback is that us nerds can’t have as much fun poking around in the depths of BIOS and System Registry.
  4. A programme will always be available on Windows. It was first to the market and it’s what most kids practiced using back in the 80s. Nowadays, any decent program will be available on both systems (and likely Linux too), but I can’t imagine their updates would be as regular.
  5. Apple don’t do Microsoft Office 😦 Or I think you might be able to get a reader or something… Whatever, it’s not the same.

The question remains, if Apple products are still powerful and aesthetically pleasing, why are only 7% of people using them? For such a prominent player in the media market, it’s still an awfully low statistic.

Now maybe some economics student could back me up on this, but I’d imagine the main problem would be businesses. Microsoft has traditionally always appealed to large companies due to their versatility and less pedantic security. Although there’s nothing wrong with any modern Mac for businesses, it would mean switching their whole infrastructure. Something, I’m sure you’ll realise, which is completely unfeasible.

Basically Macs are excellent for media storage and management, and they support many coding platforms including Apple’s own iOS Developer Program. Therefore, they are the obvious choice for the entire music and film industry, as well as many software developers. Outside of that however, I can’t see much benefit, especially with the friction forming between Apple and Adobe (read some Apple propaganda here). Take note, that that could potentially mean Apple stopping all Flash, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Fireworks, and pretty much all the Acrobat PDF series! Unlikely, but still a very real concern if your company could stand to lose millions because of it.

Quick side note on Linux:- It’s perfect for programming on. Most top developer applications are designed through it. It runs much faster than Windows, and even looks sleeker. Best of all, it’s open-source and completely free! The problem is that it doesn’t have nearly the amount of support and backing that the other two companies have. I would use it, except my family really isn’t the mood to become all hipster like :p

Conclusion: Although Mac has really hit a lot of niches (especially with the students), it looks like it’s still pays off to get your product out first. Having total control over what files can and cannot be read/written/shared may be good for your coffers, but will ultimately turn off a load of potential customers.

EDIT: Okay, it actually turns out that Mac was released before Windows. Hmm… I guess I’ll need those economics students to look into how they managed to become so successful so quickly.


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