Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 30 years, you are likely aware that there’s a bit of an ongoing kerfuffle between Windows vs Mac PC users. Though for most this rivalry is all in good fun, some show diehard allegiance to their computer of choice.
Like Coke and Pepsi, Chevy versus Ford, or the Beatles and the Stones, the Windows vs Mac debate is often hotly contested.
Both Mac and Windows PCs have legions of fans who would never consider using the other. This article really isn’t for them! But for the layperson who simply wants a quality computer for occasional use at home – this may describe you – this article can help you find the device that’s right you. Settle the debate once and for all (or, you know, for the time being.)
Windows vs Mac
The biggest difference between the Windows vs Mac is the operating system (or OS). In fact, the only true unifying factor among Windows PCs is the OS, as Windows PC’s are manufactured by a variety of different companies. In this way, Windows PCs are similar to Android phones and tablets; though the hardware may differ, the OS is universal.
This provides Windows buyers with freedom of choice, as they have multiple options to choose from, whereas Mac buyers can only buy Macs.
The operating systems themselves, of course, are in a constant state of flux. It’s easy to compare the two most current versions of each operating system, but doing so would make this article out of date within six months. It’s better to discuss the two systems in broader strokes.
Generally, Windows is known for its Start menu, which was introduced with Windows 95 (Apple offers something similar with its Launchpad); its flexibility and ease-of-use; and its diverse software and gaming compatibility.
The Windows operating system also has a fairly intuitive and simple folder system for data storage (again, Apple offers something similar). And as of Windows 8, the OS now offers a mobile-friendly interface as well.
Mac’s operating system, as of late named after various big cats, is renowned for its speed and performance, and is seen as something as a natural, almost self-evident choice for those in creative fields, such as graphic design and video production.
Mac’s OS incorporates a number of shortcuts and special features that Mac users tend to find particularly helpful (though Windows offers similar shortcuts; for example, Apple’s Mission Control is equaled by Windows’s Task View).
However, the difference between Windows vs Mac operating systems is mostly subjective. Use either for any extended period of time, and the odds are good that you’ll prefer that over the other.
Because all Mac hardware is designed, developed, and built by Apple, there is a clear through-line among each of the company’s products. In fact, these products easily sync with one another, providing for a comprehensive and complete user experience.
It’s also worth noting that Macs tend to be designed just as much for aesthetics and ease of use as they are outright computing power. The company’s iMac line can famously be installed simply by plugging in a power cord, and nearly every one of Apple’s products is on the cutting edge of hardware design – they tend to be lighter, slimmer, and more expensive than the competition.
Windows hardware differs, as multiple companies build Windows devices. Just as LG and Samsung both produce Android phones, HP and Lenovo (and many others) build Windows laptops and computers. For this reason, the consistency among products tends to vary to a much greater degree than with Apple’s Mac line.
Windows devices come in all shapes and sizes – tower, convertible laptop, traditional laptop, all-in-one, rugged laptop – and finding a device that suits your needs can be difficult simply because there are so many choices available.
In the past, software was often the deciding factor when deciding between Windows vs Mac. The Windows platform has long been seen as being better equipped for gaming, and Microsoft software was a mainstay in the business community for decades (still is).
For these reasons, many individuals and business alike opted for Windows PCs. But now that Microsoft Office is available for Mac, and nearly all games are developed to be compatible with both systems (this didn’t use to be the case), this differentiation is less of a deciding factor.
Truth be told, the odds are good that whatever software program you may be interested in, you’ll likely be able to run it as easily on a Mac as you can on a PC, and vice versa.
But Wait… What about the Cloud?
The most pressing question in the Windows vs Mac debate today is: does it matter which you choose?
Increasingly, these two platforms are starting to encroach on each other’s territory. And that is because it no longer pays to not offer a feature that the other does. As competition heats up, the two different platforms become more homogeneous.
Additionally, cloud services like Google Cloud Platform and its many online software programs (for example, Google Sheets) make proprietary OS platforms somewhat obsolete.
If you are seeking a new computer, it may be time to let old loyalties die; buy the device that is right for your needs, and forget everything else.