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Which do you prefer? Me? I like root beer; any kind will do. I am sure that someone can give you reasons why Coke is objectively better than Pepsi, but they won’t actual be objective. They will be observations the person uses to convince you that their choice is based in objective fact, but will actually be based in their own preferences and biases.
So it is with the Apple vs. Microsoft debate. Now, before I go in to this, let me lay out two groups of facts, and one opinion, so you will know where I’m coming from.
Fact Group A: I’ve worked in IT for 25 years and have done almost everything within it. I’ve done programming. I’ve been a database analyst. I “operated” a mini computer at a hospital. I’ve managed networks, big and small. I’ve also spent a lot of time evaluating computers for myself, my friends, and the companies I’ve worked for. I’ve built computers from scratch, and rebuilt ones from spare parts. I’ve worked with every version of Windows since dirt was new, and I’ve worked with Mac OS for a while, too. Bottom line: I know computers, not from a ones and zeroes perspective (though somewhat) but from the perspective of a knowledgeable, professional end-user. My biggest concern is that a computer do what it is supposed to do.
Fact Group B: As an end user, I use an iMac and a MacBook at home; at work, my primary computer is a Surface Pro 3 running Windows 10, but I’ve also got an older MacBook that I do MacBook stuff on. I use an iPhone as my primary mobile device. I’ve tried Windows Phone and Android, and don’t really care for either.
Opinion: My advice on whether you should buy a Mac or a PC is the best advice you’ll ever get. Some fans of Microsoft will tell you with great fervor that Apple is from the devil; Apple fans will tell you the same about Microsoft; some really nerdy people will tell you to dump both and go Linux. Their opinions are all junk. Mine is right, and you should listen to me. I’ll tell you why in a moment.
Now, I am not interested in engaging in the debate. I’ve had it, a million times and have argued both sides until I was blue in the face. It is pointless. As pointless as trying to tell you that Coke is better than Pepsi (it is). The fans of all sides will tell me that there are objective reasons why their choice is the right one. There aren’t. There are reasons why Mac is better than PC. There are reasons why PC is better than Mac. There are reasons you should buy an Android tablet instead of an iPad. There is no point in getting in to any of those — because in the end — it comes down to your individual preference. Neither is objectively better in some cosmic sense, though either may be objectively better to a particular person for a particular purpose.
I get asked a lot (and I do mean a lot): “Spin, what kind of computer should I get?” Often they add little bullet points for me like “I don’t like Dell,” or “My son-in-law says to get a Mac,” or “I don’t need anything fancy.” I don’t care who they are, nor what they say, I always begin by asking the question that drives the answer more than any other factor: how much money do you want to spend?
If they say “A few hundred dollars,” then the answer is “Go down to Best Buy, Office Depot, or Costco and find whatever suits your fancy and buy that. In the $300 range, all of the computers are more or less the same.” Often I get an incredulous look, as if too say “That doesn’t help!” It should: if $300 is your budget, you can feel safe in the knowledge that whatever you buy is going to be just as good as whatever you didn’t buy. And when I say “just as good,” I really mean “just as bad.”
And when I explain that, they ask “Well, what should I do?” At which point I say “You should spend between $1,200 and $1,500 on a computer that will last you several years.” They will then give me that look again “I can’t afford that!” But if you think about it, an expensive computer that lasts you last years costs you $300 to $375 per year. A $300 laptop from Costco has a life of 12-18 months if it is used regularly (cue the guy who tells me his bargain basement special lasted since Spock kissed Uhura). So, as a matter of annual cost, we’re likely arguing over chump change.
Notice, I have yet to discuss Mac versus PC. That is because it doesn’t matter! It really doesn’t. Some will say that Mac’s operating system is better because it runs on Unix. Some will say Windows is more widely used. Neither of these facts — nor the myriad others people use to convince you of rightness of their decision — mean anything, not in any real sense. Can I browse the web in Windows? Yep. Can I run Excel on a Mac? Yep. Can I edit a video on a Mac? Yep. PC? Yep. There is nothing the average person wants to do that you cannot do on each platform.
So the question remains: PC or Mac? Well, what do you like? What are you comfortable with? If you have used a PC for years and like it, get a PC. The Mac fanatics will tell you that if you buy a Mac, the instant you lay finger to keyboard your whole life will change. Nonsense. The Windows people will tell you that if you get a Mac, there are a ton of things you won’t be able to do. Also nonsense. Get what you are comfortable with. You won’t go wrong with either choice.