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Friday, December 08, 2017
If you type this article's title into an Internet search engine, be prepared to enter a "holy war" in which proponents of each type of computer will passionately bombard you with reasons why one is better than the other. We're going to try to stay objective and factual in this article to give you information to help you decide for yourself. I am a long-time Windows user. Four months ago, I bought a MacBook Pro. This article is basically my personal experience with my purchase.
My journey to the Mac started with an iPad. The volunteer organization at which I teach had begun in 2013 to offer courses about using an iPad. I mentioned to my wife that I probably should get one to keep up with what we were teaching. I was half-kidding. But when my birthday rolled around, she presented me with an iPad Air 2. I was impressed with its performance, smooth scrolling, and the downright beauty of its display. When my old Android phone died, and having watched with envy at how the battery lasted on my wife's iPhone, I decided to get an iPhone.
I am a software geek. When I get a new gadget, I want to understand how its software works and how I can use it to get work done. The hardware interests me less; I just want it to support the software and perform well. I have been using personal computers for more than 30 years. Most of them ran DOS in the early days and Windows since version 3.11 was released in 1993. These new computers -- iPhones and iPads are just small computers -- were a lot different in how they used software.
The one thing that stood out to me was how seamlessly the iPhone and iPad communicated with each other. You can make a Windows PC and an Android smartphone or tablet (or even an iPhone or iPad) communicate with each other, but that's the rub: you have to "make" them communicate. They don't do it when you take them out of the box and turn them on. That seamless communication should not have surprised me. The advantage Apple has is that it produces both its hardware and software. It is easier for them to design their products to talk to each other from the start.
With the iPad and iPhone, I could enter a note or a calendar appointment in one device and have it show up in the other. Almost every app on the devices was set up to communicate like this. Yes, I had my Windows PC set to communicate with my Android smartphone through Google, but that's the point. I had to use Google, install Google programs on both devices and set them up to communicate. The iPhone and iPad just did it.
My Windows PC is a 2012 model that came with Windows 8 installed. Doesn't seem that old, does it? But when Windows 10 was released in 2015, there were minor incompatibilities with my hardware. Windows 10 is a wonderful operating system, designed to make use of the latest in hardware, some of which is not yet even being manufactured. But it does not necessarily play well with older -- even just 3 years older -- hardware. The minor performance issues, which an average user may not even notice, grated on me every time I used it. So I decided to buy a new computer. My experience with how easily the iPad and iPhone communicated led me to consider a Mac.
On the surface, deciding between a PC and Mac appears to be a "no brainer." A home PC costs about half of what a Mac with comparable hardware specifications costs. What do you get in a Mac for that extra cost? First, a Mac is better built than most PCs. PCs come from different manufacturers in a highly competitive marketplace, so cutting costs to the bone is a priority. (Note: those manufacturers also produce computers built just as good as a Mac, but they cost as much or more than a Mac and are mainly built for business, not home, use.) Second, a Mac comes with all the software you need to get work done. For example, you don't have to lay out another $100 to $400 dollars to get a high-performance word processor, spreadsheet program, and presentation software. Third, the Mac display screen, especially the Retina models, is just beautiful to look at. If you sit at a computer for several hours a day, you will appreciate the sharper fonts and brighter colors. Your eyes simply will not be as tired at the end of the day.
I'm really happy with my MacBook Pro. I still use my Windows machine a lot because I developed shortcuts over the years to help me get things done faster. But I will say this: when I reach for a computer to read the news over a cup of coffee in the morning, more and more I'm reaching for the Mac.