Which is best: Mac or PC?

11 May

A new iMac… the Apple of my eye. (Geoff Meeker photo)

May 11, 2006

By Geoff Meeker

Right off the top, I have to admit my bias on this one. I’ve been an Apple user since 1987, and this week invested in a dandy new iMac. It has a blazing fast 2 GHz Intel duo processor, 1.5 gigs of RAM and 250 on the hard drive, along with a 20” high definition screen that dazzles.

‘Big whoop,’ you might say. ‘You can get bells and whistles on a PC too.’

True. But one computer is inevitably better than the other, and for my money, it’s Mac all the way. For years, Mac languished in obscurity, popular mainly with graphic designers and a cult following of diehards like myself. However, a new generation of computer user is giving the Mac brand a second look, based on the phenomenal success of Apple’s iPod music player.

People are recognizing that computers don’t need to be complicated, and that constant virus attacks should be avoidable. They are coming to the realization that PCs suck, and Macs are superior.

Yes, this is a contentious debate. For a second opinion, I consulted someone even more biased than myself. Wayne Warren is Director of Operations with Music City, which in October of 2005 became the province’s only official Mac dealer. Already they are selling an average of 100 computers per month. “Last week I had five iMacs come in and by 2 pm they were gone,” Warren said. “Our sales have skyrocketed. The fact is, most Macs are sold before they arrive in the store.”

Warren says the key selling points for the Mac are their ease of use and virus free nature. The Mac system is better designed to repel viruses, he said, and most viruses are created for the PC universe anyway.

Another key strength is the user friendliness of Apple computers. As an example, Warren told of a couple who had never owned a computer in their lives, but wanted a way to videoconference with their children and grandchildren on the mainland.

“They didn’t even know what a mouse was,” Warren said. “I spent about 20 minutes with them and then they took home a 17” iMac. A couple of days later I called to see how they were doing. They were happy as anything. They were already connected and talking to their grandchild. There is no better ad than that.”

Warren also challenged the perception that Macs are more expensive than PCs. “An iMac is priced at $1499, but that includes a 17” LCD screen, CD and DVD burners, a remote control, built-in webcam, wireless Internet, and some great software. You just can’t compare it to a basic PC that costs $699.”

With the above goodies already installed and running, precious little time is wasted on instruction manuals. A major selling point for me is that software bundle, which includes iTunes, iMovie, Garageband and iPhoto. They are functional, fun and easy to use.

There are still some quarters where Macs don’t get any respect. For instance, the common line from Internet service providers – ‘We don’t support Macs’ – is stupid, lazy and not good for business. How much trouble can it be to tell someone to switch on their computer so that it can configure itself? (And even the older Macs are easier than PCs to configure for Internet.)

And why aren’t there more Macs in schools? I know cost is the issue, but with the Mac’s ‘switch and go’ technology, students could waste less time learning how to use the computer and more time learning to be productive.

Either way, don’t make up your mind on this until trying an Apple for yourself. As the saying goes, once you go Mac, you never go back.

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