Macs vs. PCs for the office: the definitive guide

The long-standing Mac vs. PC debate continues to prompt heated discussion. Loyal enthusiasts of the Mac usually view the PC with disdain. They wax lyrical about how a Mac is more intelligent than a PC, more stable, and, of course, way cooler in looks. PCs, however, still take up the lion’s share of the computer market, proving that the PC is still the first choice for both home and office.

While both computers have their merits, deciding which one is the best option to run your business comes down to what you need it for. There are advantages and disadvantages to both options. Here is a comprehensive guide to help you decide which computer to opt for.

What is a Mac?

Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne founded Apple on April 1, 1976, in Jobs’ garage to sell the Apple I computer kits that were designed and built by Wozniak. The Apple 1 debuted in July, and the rest, as they say, is history. The company introduced the first Macintosh in 1984. It was groundbreaking at the time, and Apple has successfully managed to maintain its premium status in the computer industry.

In short, a Mac runs on the Mac OS X operating system. Its desktop has a clean, uncluttered look and is user-friendly with a dock for quick access to all your favorite apps and a taskbar across the top of the screen.

Macs come factory-ready with basic applications such as Photos, iMovie, Garageband, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, FaceTime, iTunes, and Maps. These are usually all most people will need in terms of basic programs to edit photos, make movies, create music, and video chat with friends. It’s all there the minute you take it out of the box. For anything else you need, simply download it from the Mac App Store.

What is a PC?

About a year after Apple launched the Macintosh, Bill Gates introduced the world to Microsoft Windows and Microsoft software, which would run on Windows-based PCs, and so began the PC vs. Mac war.

PC stands for “personal computer.” The PC runs on the Windows operating system, although it can also run on other operating systems, such as Linux. After launching in 1985, Windows quickly gained momentum, taking the leading position in computer sales globally. While Apple prefers to keep its hardware and software entirely in its own stable, Microsoft was happy to sell Windows to various computer companies, making it accessible to consumers.

The latest version, Windows 10, offers useful built-in tools and apps, but PC users generally need to purchase other software, most commonly Microsoft Office. More sophisticated software and advanced programs like Photoshop and CAD can run on Windows but will also need to be purchased.

Mac vs. Windows

The user interface between Mac and Windows is noticeably different and will take some time for adjustment should you switch from one to the other. For instance, Windows users who have memorized all the main shortcut keys should be prepared to learn new shortcuts on the Mac.

Other little quirks between the two are actions like closing down programs. On Windows, it’s simple enough — click the little red cross at the top of the program, and it shuts it down. Not so with Mac programs. Clicking the cross on a Mac program only closes the particular window. Any other windows open will remain, and even if there are no other windows open, the program will still be running in the background. To close it, one needs to click on the program name at the top status window and then click “quit.”

Here’s a brief Mac vs. Windows comparison of benefits to help you choose the right one for your office.

Benefits of the Mac

1. Design and build quality. There’s no denying that Apple invests a lot in developing high-quality products. This refined quality does not come cheap, but Apple maintains that the advantages of the pricier Mac are its reputation for innovation and meticulous quality control throughout the development and production stages. No argument there. In the Mac vs. PC debate, Apple always scores top marks for quality, reliability, and sophisticated design and style.

2. Integration across all Apple platforms. If your company consists of loyal Apple users who own everything from iPads to iPhones, adding MacBooks is a logical choice. Apple has done a great job integrating various apps and programs across all its devices.

3. Less vulnerable to viral attacks. Mac users will enjoy more peace of mind with the reduced risk of attack from malware and viruses. Because Apple occupies a small segment of the computer market, those with malicious intent do not target Macs as often as they do Windows.

4. Tops in customer satisfaction. Let’s give credit where credit is due. Apple has consistently ranked highly in customer satisfaction for over a decade. That includes both user experience of the products as well as after-sales support and technical assistance.

Benefits of the PC

1. Lower cost of PCs. By far the biggest advantage of PCs is the price. Because PCs are manufactured by so many computer companies, customers have more choice and lower prices. The Mac, on the other hand, is only designed and built for Apple, contributing to its elite status and heftier price tag.

2. More flexibility. You can’t beat Windows PCs for flexibility when it comes to upgrades and customization. It’s easy to update different parts of the hardware. Plus, with the plethora of software available to PCs, building and customizing a PC to your exact needs is easy.

3. Available across various devices. Windows 10 stepped up the game by making Windows available across different devices including smartphones and tablets. Surprisingly, Apple’s Mac OS X is only available on desktops, laptops and all-in-one computers.

4. Windows is closing the gap. In the Windows vs. Mac battle, Windows is making significant strides. Windows 8 may have had its problems, but it did introduce touch screen to the PC, something Apple has yet to do.

Microsoft is also catching up to Apple with its stunning new range of Surface desktops and laptops. The Surface computers are making huge waves and are set to give the Mac a serious run for its money. Sleek and beautifully designed, they have brilliant resolution and offer innovative features like the click wheel.

Can Windows support the Mac OS X and vice versa?

If you still want to remain in your PC comfort zone but desire some of the capabilities of a Mac, you can run Mac OS X on a PC, but the reverse doesn’t work as well as on a Mac. On the flip side, Mac OS X can support Windows through tools like Boot Camp.

Which is the right computer for your office?

Macs have always traditionally been the first choice for most in creative fields and are still a good fit for designers, artists, musicians, architects, and startups. The latest MacBooks and iMacs feature Retina screens with anti-reflective coatings and exceptional resolution for sharp crystal-clear displays, ideal for creative work.

For most other types of businesses, the PC is more than adequate. It has everything you need, and with most other companies across the globe using it, you’ll all be on the same Microsoft Word page. The PC is also the better option for game developers, as most games tend to be produced for PCs, and gamers find the PC interface better for playing on.

Another consideration is stability. Windows is notorious for having more glitches, and upgrades don’t always go smoothly. If your company is large enough to employ a few qualified IT technicians who can fix problems that crop up, go ahead and outfit your office with PCs. On the other hand, if you’re still a small team who cannot afford a lot of computer downtime, you may be better off with the more reliable Mac.

If however, both Macs and PCs are required in your business, that’s no problem either. Most office networks are able to comfortably accommodate both operating systems with easy compatibility and file-sharing between the two.

Going forward, as cloud-based applications become more popular, the choice between Mac vs. PC will start to matter less. Both computers do what you need them to do, just in different ways. And if you’re already functioning predominantly in the cloud, it won’t matter which one you’re using. In the end, it may simply boil down to preference and ease of use.

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