Why buy an Apple? My 12 year old daughter wants an Apple and I know nothing about Apple computers. What is the difference between this MacBook Pro than a generic PC...IE...Sony, Dell, Asus, Etc? I do know the cell life is longer and it is lighter. Any remarks will be appreciated.
I am asking why should I purchase an Apple over a PC of equal price.
asked by Mark Hyatt
on September 23, 2010
Apple creates by far the most trendy computer systems and anyone who buys one is paying a very heavy tax for that simple reason. With that said, an apple computer is indeed a very different machine than a PC. A normal PC computer is created by putting bits and pieces of computer hardware from different manufactures together, installing Windows on it, and hoping it will work (all the hardware and software will work together). Too often these computer pieces don't really fit together all that well and worse, sometimes these incompatibilities are missed by the large computer manufactures! The major PC manufactures offer dozens of different systems all customized to your liking. They offer so many different systems that they usually aren't even able to keep track of them and support suffers for this reason. Apple's goal is to make simple, elegant, and reliable systems and they have certainly succeeded in doing so. Unlike these other computer manufacturers, Apple makes the vast majority of system hardware and software decisions for their customers and offers only a small line of different configurations. This puts simplicity and reliability at a maximum but takes a significant toll on versatility and customization.
Many computer enthusiasts despise Apple's rapidly increasing popularity because, since Apple makes the major hardware and software decisions for their customers, and because they have historically shown loyalty to their outside vendors ( I really doubt you will ever see an AMD chip in an Apple, for example), competition among computer component manufacturers is severely limited. To almost anyone who knows a lot about computers, even the ones that like Apple, the idea of an Apple monopoly sounds much than a Microsoft monopoly (because every aspect of the computer industry would be impacted, not just software).
As for which one is better? That is a debate almost as old as the personal computer itself. For every Apple computer, there is a comparable PC that can be purchased for much less. Nevertheless, Apple is definitely one of the few companies that make good design an absolute top priority. Everything that is put in or on Apple systems has been thought out and designed by some of the top visionary hardware designers in the world. Most of this top-dollar design goes into simple aesthetics but it can also be argued that the insides of an Apple are also better thought out than the average PC.
I would say that if you have the money and your daughter deserves it, you should get her the Apple that she wants even if you are paying a little too much extra for it.
The above post is correct in several ways, although there are a few things I would disagree with (but these are mainly minor quibbles, like the fact that I think he's being a little over-cynical about versatility, monopoly, and Apple's dealings with vendors)... but instead of getting into the usual argument that questions like this seem to stir up, I'll just try to sum it up in my own words.
At least for me, the reason to choose Apple is pretty simple: When you purchase a computer from Apple it has been designed from the bottom up to work as a system. Basically, each piece of hardware and each piece of software are put together to form a single system with the final end user experience in mind. User interface has always been Apple's strong point. Because it is primarily a closed system, Apple is able to ensure that things work together as seamlessly as possible, as opposed to the patchwork type approach of Windows systems. Lets face it, we are all painfully aware of just how easy it is to lose hours of productivity to Windows temperamental conflicts, restarts, and "blue screens of death". On an Apple, even most third party software is remarkably trouble-free (in comparison to PCs) because the closed design philosophy enables the software designers to have a very good idea of the exact hardware capabilities available to them.
As for being able to get a similar PC for less money, well, simply comparing hardware to hardware only gives you a partial picture- the operating system itself is an enormous part of the allure when purchasing a Mac. Again, the whole appeal with Apple is that you get a unified, integrated system as opposed to an assembly of parts and software that have been patched together. It can be very difficult to get people to understand what a difference this makes until they are able to experience it for themselves. It's more a question of refinement and ease of use than anything else. The primary idea is that everything works as a single, unified, self-referential system so that the OS is as invisible as possible. Things just work together. Everything was specifically designed to work with everything else. The most important goal of this type of software design is that you spend as much time as possible thinking about the task at hand and as little time as possible thinking about the software itself. And this is where Apple sets itself apart from the competition. If you can get a chance to sit down with a Mac for an hour or two (so that you can thoroughly get a feel for it) it will change the way that you see computers. I'm serious about that.
A few other bonuses with a Mac: Viruses and Malware are nearly non-existent (especially when compared to PCs); Apple tends to be at the forefront when it comes to UI innovation (no, they are not responsible for every step forward, but they are behind an awful lot of them... as an illustration of that, the past several versions of Windows have in large part been attempts to include many of the UI features of various recent OS X implementations); and yes, Apple tends to make more attractive machines from a design point of view (some people see this as frivolous and unimportant, while others like myself see it as an external manifestation of an overall design philosophy- i.e. attention to detail to the point that form contributes to function).
The minor downside to buying an Apple is that you will have a more limited choice of software to choose from, BUT... that is not nearly as true as it once was, especially since the switch to Intel processors AND there are certainly a number of programs that are only available for Macs that are far superior to their Windows equivalents. You may also need to take an extra step or two when formatting information that is intended to be shared with a Windows machine, but that is also rapidly becoming a non-issue.
Also, while it is true that there are a limited number of possible configurations for most Macs, if you are looking for versatility and customization, there is always the upper-end of Apple's desktop line, the Mac Pro. These are very serious machines (we're talking dual 6-Core Intel Xeon "Westmere" processors) which, admittedly, are not cheap, but they are almost limitless when it comes to expansion possibilities. That is the very reason why these machines are so thoroughly dominant with creative professionals (e.g.- professional printing & graphics, recording studios, video editing, etc.).
Now, before I get attacked, I want to make it clear that I have nothing in particular against Windows systems. In fact I use Windows on a daily basis (although usually only at work or when I am at friends' houses). There are without question times when a Windows machine is the right choice for a given job. But, I personally prefer Macs as everyday computers. On a day-to-day basis, it comes down to refinement, ease of use (and by that I mean fewer steps and greater integration), and an overall lack of conflicts and problems. I'll take that over cheap brute power (which largely goes unused) any day.
Of course, this is all simply my opinion, but I have been using and recommending Macs for well over a decade, and I haven't seen anything in that time from the Windows side that has made me seriously question that in any way. To each their own, but for me (and my family), Apple is the clear choice.
I'll try to keep this brief but informative; this is from someone who has tested out virtually every brand out there and has been an apple follower for years as well. In terms of apple pro's:
A: Less viruses/spyware/etc. You *should* have an anti-virus program on your mac at this point, since the days of complete invulnerability are gone (don't bother with norton et al, free programs like ivirus are as good if not better)
B: There is a ton of free software out there for mac; just little stuff that can in fact be very useful. Especially the widgets.
C: Durability. Mac's are built extremely well, in a literal sense. I've had my macbook pro for 3 years during which I've heated it to the point I could cook eggs, dropped it several times, and generally banged it around... and the new unibodies are even better.
D: Customer support, especially if you buy the applecare package, is simply amazing. The hidden benefit is that unlike with most manufacturers, you often sit down face to face with the tech people. Most of the time, mac employees are very casual about things, and I've never seen them be stingy about repairing or replacing anything. In fact, I actually got a bigger hard drive for free 2 months ago because my old one had problems while in the shop!
5: Often overlooked, macs don't really need the same level of RAM as PC's. You can get the same performance level with less RAM present.
There *are* cons, and plenty of them:
A: Apple really is like a closed garden in many respects. With the upcoming appstore, expect it to get worse... general rule, apple wants to have more control over end products than any other computer retailer out there.
B: To continue on that, good luck if you want to replace/upgrade anything. Replacing the hard drive will void your warranty; installing new RAM requires real technical skills aside from the mac mini; bottom line being anything that your computer doesn't come with, is going to be a problem to upgrade. This simply isn't true to the same degree with PC manufacturers. The lack of access to the hardware also means you will have to take your computer in for repairs when the same problem could be user-solved on a PC. Even the batteries must be changed by tech staff.
C: At least as of now, Apple is lagging way behind every other company in the hardware they use. There are sub-$500 PC's out there that use superior processors to the ones found in the basic macbook and lower-end macbook pro's. If your main goal is performance/price ratio, apple is an utter joke compared to PC manufacturers.
D: When you buy a mac, go into it with certainty that apple will at some point be looking at your hard drive. With the current laptops, you even have to give them access to your computer if you want to do something as simple as changing the battery. You'll likely have at least one problem or two with your mac and need it to go into the shop (which in itself isn't bad).
E: For brand name software, apple is not the primary OS kept in mind. For example, even with video games designed for OS X, they will actually run better on a mac if you install Windows 7 and run them from there! This is changing... as a general rule though, you are going to say "crap, I can't run that new cool program" as a mac user more than a PC user.
To clear up some important misconceptions:
A: *IMPORTANT* Apple does not build its own hardware... thats a myth, plain and simple. For example, the new flash memory sticks used in the macbook air are made by Toshiba. This is one side of the pc/mac debate that isn't widely perceived; windows computers are not just thrown together with random hardware that has no "compatability", and macs are not made with loving care from the microchips to the outer-casing.
B: With the new macbooks, you are going to be changing the battery. Apple is no exception to the "exagerate battery lifetime" rule. Unless you plan on buying a new computer every year.. which at those prices is silly.
C: As I mentioned at the beginning, macs *can* get spyware/viruses. There's a reason antivirus software brands have come out with mac versions, and even apple recommends you have some type of protection in place.
After months of research and doing hands on comparison and some true introspection about my usage I ordered Toshiba Portege R705-P41 this morning from Amazon. Right or wrong, as per Consumerreports.org and some studies Toshiba is one of the most reliable laptop brands. I liked the Macbook Pro 13" a lot. But if didn't measure up when I listed my requirements and evaluated why I need a laptop and how I'd be using it. Here are just a few of my requirements: 1. Reliability and build quality (Toshiba premium laptops have consistently beat competition in reliability. I hope mine will be no exception) 2. Portability (Toshiba is only 3.2 lbs) 3. Compatibility with several softwares I'd be using (I am an IT guy) 4. Powerful CPU (the Toshiba has Dual Core i5) 5. Cost (Mac Pro costs several hundreds more than the Toshiba)
Less important to me: 1. Aesthetics: Macbook beats any other brand in this area 2. Usability: Again Macbook wins hands down. Very smooth track pad and navigation compared to the Toshiba windows machine. The Toshiba keyboard is not the best and would require some getting used to. 3. Fan noise. This is not a major issue for me unless it is so loud that my neighbors start complaining :)
I tend to agree with people who say Macs last a long time. But I have also used and seen others use Windows machines for several years. I am not concerned with software issues if they arise on Windows machines as I can deal with them myself. I have several colleagues and friends who are sworn Macnuts. So I am very familiar with Macs too. And I know people making trips to Apple store with their Macbook issues. In the last 10 years I never had to call Tech Support with my PC issues. May be I've been just lucky.
Through I bought a Windows machine I envy those who have Macbook Pro 17" with i5. They obviously have more money than I do :)
C. Horan's review is spot on, but I would like to say a few things too.
What is she going to be using it for? I'm guessing mostly internet browsing. If that is the case then just about any PC will do. No matter the computer (be it dell, asus, HP, apple etc...) they will all take you to the same Internet.
A PC of equal price of an Mac is going to be overkill (unless you're going to be playing lots of games) because Macs are ludicrously overpriced.
I would not suggest getting an Apple unless you live near one of the stores. This way you can get help and talk to someone in person if you need to. From what I hear, Apple's support in general is very good but I personally don't think it justifies charging over $1000 for something of comparable specs.
Also keep in mind that any apple product is really just a status symbol and you can always find something comparable at a MUCH better price. It seems like they are overpriced simply because they can be and is seems that their customers know that.
I also wouldn't suggest asking advice in a Mac forum. Apple's userbase is known for it's zealous nature that in some cases defies logic/common sense or has a lot of people like yourself (no offense) that want to get a computer but don't know much about them or what specs best fit their needs (that's why the first thing I asked was what she is going to be using it for). Do lots of research and never forget where your sources of information are coming from.
If money is an issue, then I would recommend ASUS due to their great warentees . If it's not, then go with the Mac...and if you really want to, give me some of that money while you're at it too :)
I switched to Mac this year. Actually, not completely, as I still own a PC desktop and run a Windows 7 virtual machine on my Mac. C.Horan's review is pretty good, but he wasn't completely accurate in one of the topics he raised: upgrading a Mac.
Granted, there was a time, not too long ago, that upgrading a Mac was a hassle. You would have to pretty much disassemble the whole machine to find the hard-drive and add more RAM. From what I understand, by doing so, you would also be voiding the warranty. Not anymore. If you get one of the latest MacBook Pro's (the one I own is exactly the one that this discussion is all about - the Mid-2010 MBP 13"), the process of upgrading it is pretty well described in the manuals and is made very simple.
Pretty much, you can upgrade the RAM and HD on laptops. To do so, you have to open the bottom lid of the Mac - both parts are pretty accessible, easy to take out and put together in, and doing so won't void the warranty - there are actually lots of seals and stickers with warnings showing which parts that are off-limits.
You can get an AMAZING machine for much cheaper than it costs to get upgrades factory installed. The process is incredibly easy. Very recently I replaced both the stock HD and Ram on my MBP, and I've got a killer machine. I bumped the hard drive to a 7200 rpm 500gb Hitachi which costed me $59 and doubled the ram to 8gb, which costed me another $100. These upgrades would have costed me $500+ should I have Apple install them, and, even though I did everything myself, I'm still covered under warranty.
There's a premium you pay for owning a Mac, that's a fact. I also have some other pickles with Apple that are a bit off topic with this discussion (their development environment is crap, the language they use is ridiculous), but after you pay the bill, owning a Mac really pays off. First, the hardware looks / feels different, in a great way. Their attention to detail is incredible. The trackpad is fantastic, the display is great, and there are the small things you don't notice until you start using a PC again. The OS can be a mess in the beginning, but after you get a hang of the OS, the user experience is a breeze. Plus, booting up in less than 40s, shutting off in less than 10s is great! On top of all of that, there's a fact people seem to forget: in 2 years, a PC you buy today will be worth peanuts. The mac will still hold a lot more value - just because it will work much better than a PC of the same age.
To be honest, took me a while to get my Mac behaving exactly the way I wanted and running all the things I wanted it to. Having that said, I think I'll always have to use Windows, but I don't see myself owning another PC laptop anytime soon.
My Apple computers are the only consumer electronic products I have ever owned that have actually improved over time. There are constant updates, mostly free, with tweaks and sometimes major feature upgrades. The iMac I bought 2 1/2 years ago is a much better product than the day I took it out of the box. I certainly could not say that about any PC I ever bought. For those I always planned to but a new one in about 3 years because by then it would be pretty much obsolete. With the Mac it just gets better.
It's all about the OS (Operating System). The Mac hardware looks great and everything, but I don't really care about that. I was happy with an IBM Thinkpad. What I care about is the OS and here is why:
- I won't say there are absolutely no viruses and spyware, but it's pretty much none. Mac OS X is far less prone to infection than Windows. (Still, use common sense when browsing the web though)
- A Windows system, even one that has not been infected by the aforementioned viruses and spyware, will slowly "bog down" after 6-18 months of standard usage and software installation and uninstallation. This has never really happened with Mac OSX.. ever.
- When I was running Windows, in just one year I had at least 5 instances of fatal driver or software errors that caused system crashes and/or instability. In 5 years of running Mac OSX, this has happened just once.
- Mac OS X allocates system resources better than Windows. This means you can render a video in the background while you browse YouTube and read websites all at the same time.
Those are the main reasons. There are others but I won't get into the minutiae. All those main reasons are about the software, but the hardware is not bad either - especially if you get one of the aluminum Pro models - they are solidly built!