In everyday life, we often come across the term PC, which stands for a personal computer. This is the most direct definition of a PC; however, the term is also commonly used to refer to all other computers except Mac. Similarly, in this article, we will refer to computers using the Windows Operating System (OS) as PCs. We will also refer to computers designed and developed by Apple as Mac computers because they run the Macintosh OS.
Most Windows and Mac users are incredibly enthusiastic about their choices. There have been countless debates regarding this topic, with both sides tabling concrete reasons. This means that there is arguably no specific answer to whether Windows computers are better than Macs and vice versa. However, this article’s purpose is to shed more light on both sides so that you can make an informed decision between the two. A bit of my personal background, I belong to the 80% group of OS consumers who use Windows OS as their primary OS. This, however, does not mean that I will be biased in my discussion.
There is one fundamental difference between these two computers that are worth mentioning. There are several hardware manufacturers in the market for PCs, but for Mac, the entire computer (Hardware and Software) is designed and manufactured by Apple Inc. - a single company. The most common PC manufacturers are Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony, Acer, and Toshiba. All these PCs are capable of running Windows as their operating system. This brings a significant difference when comparing these two types of computers. For that reason, I am primarily going to focus my analysis on software-related issues.
Getting Started and Logging in
Both Mac and Windows OSs currently offer pretty advanced login options. MacBook Pro, for example, offers a version with a touch bar that allows you to log in using your fingerprint. Mac also offers you the ability to sign in using other Apple devices you own, such as Apple watches or your iPhone. For Windows, high-end PC owners with new laptops such as HP Spectre 13 can use fingerprint to log in. In addition, windows OS supports several other biometric login options that are often limited by the PC's hardware. For instance, Windows offers a program known as Hello, which even supports facial recognition as a mode of logging in. How cool is that? Sadly, not many PC hardware are well equipped to support such features.
In addition to the login features, Windows 10 OS comes with an elegant start page shown above that gives you access to new programs, frequently used applications, and several other shortcuts. Unfortunately, this feature is not available on Mac. Instead, Mac only offers you the ability to pin a couple of programs to the Dock. The Dock is a Taskbar equivalent on Mac computers.
I would vote for Mac over Windows in this category, although both OSs come with excellent utilities already built-in. With both Mac and Windows, you will have access to decent programs such as calculators, calendars, photo editors, mail clients, video players, web browsers, screenshot tools, cameras, news and weather apps, among other necessary utilities.
Other than these usual basics, Microsoft Windows 10 offers a few other applications on the side, such as Skype, Translator, Sticky Notes, and some Xbox gaming applications. Mac, on the other hand, ships with a sophisticated music streaming service, an advanced video editor inclusive of a preview utility. Additionally, Mac has decided to offer music lovers a complete productivity suite and a music composition app called GarageBand.
Compatibility with Third-Party software
There used to be a significant gap between Windows and Mac regarding third-party software compatibility. However, over the years, the gap has immensely reduced with Mac doing the catch-up. Most third-party software used to be developed with Windows users in mind, probably because of the 80% market share I mentioned earlier. Currently, you can get much decent alternative software that is compatible with your preferred OS. I mean, there are photo editing apps out there for both Windows and Mac, and this applies to every other field you can think about.
Again, the competition stiffens further as both OSs recently launched an application store for their desktop applications. However, these stores haven't benefited much from the attention of App developers in comparison to Mobile phone application stores.
Taskbar vs. Dock
I know this appears to be a very tiny feature when comparing OSs. But the truth is, the Taskbar/ the Dock plays a significant role in user experience. Essentially, Mac OSs are document-based, while Windows is program-based. By that, I mean, by clicking on an application’s icon in the Dock (Mac), you’ll probably see the applications menu at the top without the program window. For Windows, however, clicking on an app's icon on the Taskbar will undoubtedly open up the programs window.
Cortana vs. Siri
These two are very recent developments in the AI world. Cortana is a voice assistant/helper for Windows 10 users. Siri is the equivalent but available in Mac. In the PC world, Cortana is almost a year older than Siri. Microsoft introduced Cortana to Windows computers about a year before Apple launched Siri on Mac. These voice AI helpers are great and can perform various tasks such as searching, giving weather details, controlling smart devices, opening web pages, setting alarms, etc. However, Cortana seems to be more advanced; you can use Cortana to shut down your PC, which, strangely, Siri cannot do. Additionally, Cortana can now send a request to Amazon's Alexa, which is a significant step ahead of Siri.
File Explorer Vs. Finder
Windows File Explorer and Macs’ Finder offer their users the ability to browse through the documents and files saved on their computer’s hard disk. New Windows updates now provide a quick access option which was previously available only on Finder. This feature allows you to access recently opened files on both machines quickly. File Explorer comes with standard folders meant to store specific file types such as Documents, Videos, or Pictures; Finder does not offer this capability. Windows also recently rolled out a dark theme option for File Explorer. Finder specifically beats File explorer in the ability to have several tabs in one window. Both finder and File Explorer offer preview utilities.
More on the differences and similarities according to Diffen.com
Macs and PCs are not just different in terms of hardware and software. Some principles are associated with both computers. That is probably why the bridge is wide. Mac computers are designed with a powerful philosophy around them. The Mac computers, alongside iPhones, share an aesthetic sensibility attributed to Apple Inc. Mac offers minimal choices of computers with minimum custom configurations available. This approach scraps out the need to offer countless amount of options to their users. So, for instance, if you do not consider changing your RAM, adding more disk space, configuring your computer with advanced third-party hardware, then indeed, Mac would suit you.
On the contrary, several different hardware manufacturers make PCs. These PCs often run Windows as their OS, although there are other options in the market, such as Linux. The beauty of PCs is there are virtually unlimited configurations that are available for these devices. PCs can be custom configured to perform as a gaming machine; that means more RAM and additional advanced GPU (Graphical Processing Unit). Are you a Sound Engineer? Add a more advanced audio card to your computer and experience quality sounds. This level of flexibility certainly appeals to many computer users, especially those who require some level of tweaking to get the desired experience.
PCs have always suffered the most when it comes to security issues. In previous years, Windows OS faced a lot of security challenges and experienced frequent crushes. However, over the years, it has grown to become more stable and reliable.
There is a compelling argument about this. PC enthusiasts argue that it is more of a numbers game. Since PCs have significantly outnumbered Macs in the market, attackers and hackers prefer to spend more time designing attacks targeting PCs rather than Macs. According to the IDC, Mac computers only account for about 7.5% of all computers in use today.
Lately, Mac attacks have been on the rise. About a year ago, Keyranger ransomware attacked OS X, the OS running in Mac computers. This ransomware encrypted all the files on the hard drive. An extortion fee had to be paid to get out of that mess. Regardless of these attacks on Mac, it is still considered relatively secure since windows have experienced more attacks over the years. The chances of running into malware or virus on a PC is higher than on a Mac.
In case you didn’t know, iMacs and MacBooks can run Windows OS. This is true because the hardware of these MacBooks and iMacs are typically similar to those of other PCs manufactured by Dell or HP. Similarly, a PC meant to operate on a Windows OS could also run the macOS. Interesting huh? However, it is not an easy process.
Therefore, a Hackintosh is a PC that has been specially assembled to run the macOS. This means that the macOS must recognize all the hardware components of the PC for it to operate smoothly as a Mac. This is, however, a very tedious process that is often not worth the time. A significant amount of research has to be put in to determine the right hardware components to avoid conflict between the hardware and the macOS.
Well, Making the ultimate choice between PC and Macs shouldn’t be a challenge anymore. Both Macs and PCs are great options and offer fantastic solutions. However, it is evident that these two have clear-cut differences and target different markets. The only decision you'll have to make is determining what feature is more relevant to you. Looking at the statistical preferences, PCs tend to carry the day. Maybe it is because of their relatively lower prices and availability in the market.