TECH 5 for April 14, 2014 – Mac vs. PC: Computer Purchase Decisions

ben-harrison-213x300Good afternoon and welcome to another Tech 5 program and a five minute trip into the amazing world of technology. This is Ben Harrison.

I have recently been questioned by several people who were planning to buy a new computer as to whether they should consider buying an Apple or a PC. PC stands for personal computer by the way, and although Apple can also be called a personal computer the company has spent millions of brand advertising dollars distancing the Apple and Mac brand names from their humble cousins now known as PCs.

The answer to weather you should buy an Apple or a PC, depends to a large part on why you want to buy a computer and what use you plan to make of it once you own it.

You will likely be choosing between Apple’s Macbook and iMac with its operating system Mac OS, or a PC: Laptop or desktop running on Windows, which is Microsoft’s operating system.

Design is a big differentiator between Macs and PCs. For the better part of three decades, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs focused on the outward appearance of his company’s products resulting in the unique designs that have given Mac products the “hip” image that they enjoy today, however because the Apple computers come from a single manufacturer, if you don’t like the design, you’re out of luck if you absolutely have to own a Mac.

However, there are hundreds of different manufacturers of PCs on the market. Consumer Reports magazine reviews 11 distinct brands of Windows-based computers, including Acer, Asus, Compaq, Dell, eMachines, Gateway, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba, each offering numerous configurations of desktop and laptop models. There is no single vision guiding your choice when it comes to the design of the PC which is not necessarily a bad thing — if you don’t like one design, you can look at a different manufacturer for other options. Many consumers see this large selection as a benefit.

I’ve listed several questions you should ask yourself in deciding whether to purchase an Apple or a PC. They cover aspects like purpose for professional and recreational use of the computer, finance and maintenance and your preferences as a computer user in general.

Question #1: Are you a computer game enthusiast? For 3D applications and gaming PC is the standard

Question #2: Are you into editing music, videos or graphics? People in the creative industry tend to use Macs

Question #3: Is the design on the computer important to you? For pure aesthetic design, Apple is hands down the winner.

Question #4: If you have a problem, where would you go for help, a friend or a specialist store? The market for PC’s and services is a little bit freer when it comes to who can do maintenance; Apple owners are more dependent on special service centers.

Question #5: What kind of smart phones do you have, iphone or other system like Android? Depending on the type of Smartphone you have, it will partly determine your preference. When money plays an important role in the buying decision, you’ll find that you have more choice with PC’s

Question #6: When it comes to finance, are you on a budget, or is money not a concern? When money plays an important role in the buying decision, you’ll find that you have more choice with PC’s

Question #7: What is more important to you, safety or freedom? Apple software seems to be a bit safer and less prone to attack by viruses and hackers,

Question #8: A new computer should be plug-and-play or can be customized? A Mac is operated from the start without much hassle. But you might prefer a PC, because you will have more options to change software and hardware parts.

In summary: Most people just want to browse the web, check their e-mails and use a word processor, which doesn’t need a high-powered machine. PCs can be low cost and do all basic functions without too much hassle.

I personally love the design of the Mac/Apple products; but they can be much more costly than a PC. Unless you’re editing music, videos, graphic design etc. then you probably don’t need to spend a bunch of money on a Mac, but many people like the idea of saying they own a Mac and the image that goes with it, even though in most cases they’re not using it to its full capabilities.