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Monday, February 13, 2012

The Mac vs. PC Dilemma

The Dilemma...

Everyone knows about the Mac vs. PC tech war. I am not sure if it's definitely a war, but there are two sides, both with enmity for each other, and a series of stock arguments and rebuttals. In fact, there are a "community" of Mac lovers which will jump at the chance to tell you Mac is the only game in town.

See this rather hilarious link for an amusing take from the PC side of the debate.

I was once a PC enthusiast who went out of his way to bash Macs  occasionally participated in Mac vs. PC debates. In fact, when the original iPod was competing with other mp3 players (like the Zune) I took the side of generic portable media players, as any good PC enthusiast at the time would have.Of course I was mistaken. Recently, I have become much more open minded to world of Apple.

My open-mindedness began with my first iPod Nano purchase. Eventually, I broke down and bought one. I had a few mp3 players prior to my Apple and I hated them! I had an old Philips Nike PSA Play 64 and it didn't last a year. I purchased a series of Samsung "wanna-be" iPod Shuffles and none of them were very good. In the end I bought a first generation iPod Nano and from then on out I was sold. My love for iPod led to the purchase of an iPhone and I will probably never buy another type of smart phone again. Moreover, I WILL be purchasing an iPad 3 (hopefully in March 2012). Nevertheless, my love for Apple portable media and tablets has not manifested into a Mac computer purchase. Why? I definitely want one!

Top 3 Reasons a Mac is Still Out of the Question

(1) Hardware for the Price

The price is way too high given the internal hardware specs! This is really the biggest reason for my hesitancy. Let's go through a quick demonstration. 
Cost for Base Model: $1799.99
Processor: Intel 2.2GHz quad-core Core i7
Storage: 500 GB 5400 RPM Hard Drive
Display: 1440x900 HD Glossy Display
Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 6750M with 512MB dedicated memory
Battery Life: 7 hours

After only about 2 minutes of using the Best Buy Laptop filter feature on their website (meaning there are probably better and cheaper examples) I found this Samsung:

Samsung - 15.6" Series 7 Laptop:

Cost for Base Model: $999.99
Processor: Intel 2.2GHz quad-core Core i7 (second generation)
Storage: 1 TB (RPM not specified, but it is at least 5400 RPM, if not 7200) Hard Drive
Display: 1600x900 HD Glossy Display
Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 6490M with 512MB dedicated memory
Battery Life: 7 hours, 48 minutes

Now let's configure the MacBook to have similar specs to the Samsung. An upgrade to 8GB RAM costs $200. MacBook won't let you upgrade to 1TB, but they will let you upgrade to 750GB for another $100. That brings us to $2100 or $1100 more than the Samsung with (almost - the Mac is still lacking 250 GB of hard drive space) the same hardware configuration. I can now buy 2 top-of-the-line Samsung PCs for less than the price of 1 similarly configured Mac Book Pro. I don't know about you, but I can use that extra $1100 for other things!

I think - at least on the hardware side - I have demonstrated my point. "Pound-for-Pound" the PC destroys the MacBook and costs $800.00 less in the standard configuration and $1100 less with similar hardware configurations (i.e. after bringing the MacBook up to par with the Samsung)! Moreover (and maybe a future post) have you seen these Samsung PCs? They look and feel phenomenal. From a hardware (design omitted) standpoint, why would I spend more on a Mac? I wouldn't. The cute little graphic (from here) illustrates my thoughts on the subject :)

Essentially, Apple must charge more because design (especially the uni-body aluminum MacBook) costs more to produce. They are also charging for their "superior" operating system. On a side note, I think Windows 7 has been the best Microsoft OS release since XP; in fact, I have had relatively little functionality issues with 7 and I am running it on several computers (with one of them being an older model). Is a Mac design and OS worth the huge additional cost?... NO WAY! See this awesome video from Apple, which shows you why you spend extra money on the design of a MacBook.

(2) The Virus Myth

Mac people are quick to tell you that their computers do not get viruses. The simple fact is the virus market is like any other market, there will be a greater supply of viruses on the platform that has greater demand (in this case demand is ignorant  unsuspecting users that can be targeted). See here for a more detailed explanation from a series of experts essentially making the same point. Thus, the increase in Mac market share will lead to an increase in viruses targeting Macs. Mac purchases are contributing to their own future security problems, Moreover, I am not computer illiterate; I have not been the victim of a virus since Windows Millennium edition was released. But of course I am an exception... simply put, I kill viruses. But that's besides the point, the fact that Macs are less susceptible to viruses is a supply and demand issue and will most likely change. Moreover, people who own Macs do in fact get viruses in the present day and time. Here is an entire website devoted to Mac security...

(3) I Already Have So Much Software for PC!

This point is a little less "anti-Mac" and more of a practicality problem. If you are like me, you  have acquired a range of PC software which you currently use. For some of us this was a substantial investment. Form a smaller subset of us there is still software we need that does not run on a Mac. Yes you can buy an emulator... but I don't want that headache. Moreover, the availability of opensource programs for Windows is still greater then for Mac (another consequence of the large PC market). Thus, there is a massive initial investment of purchasing a Mac.

There Are Things I Really Like (Ambivalence...)

There is obviously more that goes into this decision. I like the Mac OS (although I don't like reduced administrative privileges - I don't want to make continuous trips to the "Genius Bar", I just want to fix it myself). I love the interplay between iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Mac on iCloud. I even like the Mac design (despite how much it adds to the price). I love the look and feel of a Mac... YES, I said it, I love the "look and the feel" of the MacBook Pro. - it has style, I am not blind! But the benefit is nowhere near the cost of these additional so-called "features". So what would make me buy a Mac?

Simply put, I would buy a Mac if the price was in-line with other reasonably priced PCs. I don't care about the Mac community or all the wonderful things Mac users say makes the price "worth it". And I don't want a MacBook Air which I consider to be a beefed up net book (yup, a beefed up net book). I want a reasonably priced MacBook...period. I am not sure if Apple will ever provide this (and the iPad is not a substitution for a computer) because there are people willing to buy Mac machines regardless of the price. And, if I had a following (which I don't... yet), I am sure I would get a bunch of comments from Mac users about how I am wrong about the differences between the two computers.

Nevertheless, I bet there are a lot of PC users like myself, which would be willing to try a Mac if the price was right. If Apple wanted to increase market share, they would design a reasonable priced machine for everyone else.... i.e. those people that don't necessarily want to pay more money to be a part of some community.

P.S. Please don't tell me the Mac Mini is a good deal. It's $600 and doesn't come with a monitor. It only has 2GB of RAM, a 500 GB hard drive, and on-board Intel graphics. Essentially, the specs on the Mini are comparable to a top of the line desktop PC 3 or 4 years ago, besides the Core i5 Intel processor (yes I know it is only 1.4 inches tall, 7.7 inches wide, 7.7 inches deep, and 2.7 pounds - I don't care).   

1 comment:

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