Mac vs. PC: Myth-busting Guide for Consumers

By Nina Krimly. Filed in How-To Guides

It’s no surprise that the war between Mac and PC users has been going on for ages. Some Mac users can’t stand PC users and vice-versa. Windows users claim that Macs aren’t suitable computers because they’re not practical and Mac users claim that PCs are insufficient and slow. So can we credit these myths? Are Macs not worth their price? Are Windows PCs really that awful?

In this article, we will compare both companies in a very neutral manner! We will first understand which company started first, then the reason of the more successful entity. We also discuss which company is more relevant today and who are the majority users of both PC and Mac. We will also take a closer look to evaluate the important features and technical specifications in both; Macs and PCs.

pc vs mac

Image credit.

After you’ve finished reading this article you should be able to determine which company suits you best. Because after all, we are not trying to convince you to change what you find suitable for you. All we want to do in this post is lay out all the facts for you, the consumer, so that you can decide all on your own!

GUI Computers, Who started it?

According to Wikipedia, the first successful personal computer to feature a mouse and a graphical user interface (GUI) was the Apple Macintosh, and it was introduced on the 24th of January 1984. About a year later, Microsoft introduced Microsoft Windows in November 1985 in response to the growing interest in the GUIs.

The Apple Macintosh continued to sell successfully through the second half of the 1980s until its sales began to decline in the 1990s when the market shifted towards the IBM PC that was running a Microsoft Windows operating system.

Microsoft quickly took over the world’s PC market leaving the Mac OS behind it. In 2009, Microsoft was reported to have approximately 91% of the operating systems market share.

The first Mac.
First Apple Computer

The first Windows.
First Windows Computer

Who was more Successful & Why?

It’s no secret; Microsoft dominates the world’s operating systems market. The reason for this domination is simply because; Microsoft designed its operating systems to be compatible with various hardware created by a wide range of computer companies such as Dell, IBM, hp, and Sony, etc.

In the other hand, Apple designed its software for close integration of computer hardware and software, which means it’s not compatible with other computer hardware.

To put it in easier terms; Microsoft sold it’s operating systems to various computer companies, allowing a broad distribution for its operating systems. As a result, Microsoft is more popular than other operating systems in the market. In the mean while, Apple has strictly designed their operating system to fit perfectly in their own hardware.

Which is more popular, Statistically.

Statistics show that Microsoft Windows has approximately 91% of the market share, while the Apple Mac OS has around 5% of the market share. The other 4% is owned by other operating systems such as Linux.

Operating System Market Share Graph

To be a little more specific, here’s a graph that illustrates which operating system versions are most popular in the market share.

Operating System Versions Market Share Graph

The graph below gives you an idea about how the market was moving between the different operating systems, starting from September 2009 to July 2010.

Market Share Movement for OS Versions Graph

Who Uses What?

For this post, I tried to search Google for Mac and PC users, when I searched for Mac users, I found a very detailed page on Apple.com showing all the different Mac users and their profiles.

Mac users
Image credit.

Mac users consist of:

  • Home Office users such as authors & lawyers
  • Start ups such as Twitter & Monster Designs
  • Accountants such as Nelson Accounting Professionals
  • Architects such as KAA Design Group
  • Creatives such as LinkedIn, T-Pain, Hallmark, and Francis Ford Coppola
  • Health industries such as hospitals
  • IT professionals such as MailWise
  • Law firms
  • Real Estate agents
  • Retail stores such as Paul Frank
  • Scientists such as The University of Manchester and The American Museum of Natural History

When I tried to do the same search for Windows users, my efforts were to no avail. So I went to the Microsoft website, hoping to find something about their users and where they work, but I couldn’t find that much either.

PC users
Image credit.

From the various articles I’ve read online, Windows users basically consist of the following:

  • Home office users
  • IT Professionals
  • Developers
  • Business owners
  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Banks

Kelly Ford, the marketing and content head for Hunch, conducted an extremely helpful report that talks about “Mac people & PC people”. The report focused on their personalities from 3 perspectives: aesthetic preferences, media choices, and personality traits.

The key findings in the report were as follows:

  • Mac People are more likely to see the existing world in a light of “sameness” and thus express a desire to be perceived as different and unique. This is consistently reflected in their aesthetic choices such as bold colors, “retro” designs, one-of-a-kind clothing and highly stylized art.
  • PC People are more likely to see the world as “different enough already” and appreciate “being in tune with those around them.” This is reflected in their subtler, “mainstream modern” (neither retro nor extremely contemporary) design choices and their practical choices in clothing, footwear, and cars that favor getting the job done rather than making an overt design statement.
  • Media choices and preferences vary greatly between the two groups, with Mac People trending toward more independent films, specialized comedians and design-centric magazines, and PC People trending toward more mainstream alternatives as well as sports.
  • From a personality perspective, Mac People are more likely to describe themselves as “verbal”, “conceptual”, and “risk takers”, with PC People countering that they are “numbers oriented”, “factual” and “steady, hard workers”.

To read the full report, check out the full report: “Mac vs PC People: Personality Traits & Aesthetic/Media Choices

Comparing Tech Specs & Features

Some Apple users claimed that there aren’t any PC laptops that can compare to a Macbook or a Macbook Pro! After further research, I came across many PCs that are, in fact, very similar to Apple’s products.

Here’s a closer look of the comparison between the typical Apple Macbook and other similar Windows-operating PCs. Keeping in mind that all the data was collected from the official product’s websites. Choices are yours!

Apple’s Macbook ($999)

Apple Macbook Tech Specs

  • 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 3MB on-chip shared L2 cache
  • 2GB (two 1GB SO-DIMMs) of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM; two SO-DIMM slots support up to 4GB
  • 13.3″ (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen display with support for millions of colors
  • 250GB 5400-rpm Serial ATA hard disk drive; optional 320GB or 500GB 5400-rpm drive
  • NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics processor with 256MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory
  • iSight camera
  • Battery life: up to 10 hours per charge

Toshiba Satellite Pro L630 ($749)

Toshiba Satellite Pro L630 Tech Specs

  • Intel Core i3, 350M Processor
  • 4GB DDR3 1066MHz memory
  • 13.3″ Widescreen
  • 320GB HDD (5400rpm)
  • Intel Integrated Graphics
  • Built in camera
  • Battery life: up to 4.5 hours per charge

Dell Latitude E6410 ($1,219)

Dell Latitude E6410 Tech Specs

  • Intel Core i3-370M Dual Core 2.40GHz 3MB
  • 2.0GB, DDR3-1333 SDRAM, 1 DIMM
  • 14.1″ WXGA(1280×800) Anti-Glare LED
  • 250GB 7200rpm Hard Drive
  • Intel HD Graphics with ExpressCard
  • Built in camera
  • Battery life: up to 5 hours per charge

Sony VAIO Y Series ($769.99)

Sony VAIO Y Series Tech Specs

  • Intel Core i3-330UM processor (1.20Hz)
  • 4GB (2GBx2) DDR3-SDRAM-800
  • 13.3″ Widescreen
  • 320GB Hard Disk Drive (5400rpm)
  • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator HD
  • Built in camera
  • Battery life: up to 8 hours per charge

hp ENVY 13 Series ($1,199.99)

hp ENVY 13 Series Tech Specs

  • Intel Core 2 Duo SL9300 (1.6GHz, 6MB L2 Cache)
  • 3GB DDR3 System Memory (1 Dimm)
  • 13.1″ diagonal High Definition LED HP Radiance Infinity Widescreen Display (1366×768)
  • 250GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
  • 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon(TM) HD 4330 Graphics
  • Built in camera
  • Battery life: up to 13 hours per charge

So which is Best for You?

Well, the sole purpose of this post is to show you all the facts about both companies, and let you decide. After all, the only person who knows you best is YOU!

I have given you a little overview on Apple and Microsoft’s histories, a glimpse on who was more successful and why, statistics on which is more popular and who is using what, and a detailed comparison on the features of similar products. Now, it is up to you to determine which company can cope with your needs and style.

Facts for Switching

If you are considering a switch, check out these two official articles from both Apple and Macintosh to help you decide. I advise that you read BOTH articles as they are both trying to persuade you to switch to their company!

Sources & Further Readings

Editor’s note: This post is written by Nina Krimly for Hongkiat.com. Nina Krimly is a freelance website blogger and developer. She’s the main owner of Junkiee.Net. Nina is currently studying Information Systems in Effat University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

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