People very often ask me about the differences between Apple products and Microsoft’s.
My usual answer is this simple – one sells hardware (Apple) the other software (Microsoft). Both provide Operating systems that run PC’s (Personal Computers where the abbreviation PC really comes from!); Apple’s Operating system is OS X, Microsoft’s is Windows 7 (both latest). Both are fantastic. But there are many other distinct differences in the philosophies that drive each company.
I just spend another good bit of time trying to explain this to a few folks so I thought I’d pass on some of my points.
Microsoft does software primarily (yes there are some good hardware products by Microsoft like the Xbox and K’nect) – operating systems and applications and let’s just about anybody ‘build’ the hardware ‘around’ that software. In fact Microsoft was the premier software provider that helped Apple really get started in the 80’s.
Heck after Apple ousted Steve Job’s and nearly imploded, it was Microsoft that, along with the ‘re-hiring’ of Jobs literally saved the company with loads of cash and promises to continue software development for Apple!! Without Bill Gates, today’s Apple probably wouldn’t exist! Lets go back to Aug 6th, 1997 …Read here and Read here.
Apple is primarily a hardware seller. They tightly, and I mean very tightly, control the hardware that they allow their software (OS) to run on. In fact it is against the licensing agreement for OS X to run it on anything but Apple hardware! This helps Apple deliver hardware (with the associated software OS) that is usually of fairly good quality. But of course at a premium price.
Apple is great at ‘user interfaces’. The iPod and iPhone are simple and very easy to use, very intuitive. With such a large following the iPhone(and iPad now) also now have many great applications. The iPod took a technology that had existed for while and made it unbelievably user friendly Same with the iPad. Again simplicity of software interface to pretty hardware. Something that is sometimes missed is that ‘prettiness’ and the price people are willing to pay for it.
Apple has an awesome marketing department.
Apple ‘Fan-boys’ far out number any others.
My primary systems are MS Windows machines and servers of course. But I also run some Linux servers and a few Apple desktops. And I have been intimately working with all of them for decades (Linux being a ‘build/port’ of Unix that has been around for over 30 years). And my knowledge is simply not just web surfing or printing pictures. I have and do continue to use all of these in business production environments – digital pre-press, medical fields, financial fields, government and many other industries. [I also won’t even go into the ‘more stable’ argument I often here from some fan-boys because I’m sure they have never RIP’d a 300+MB file on a Mac vs a PC or had to crunch massive digital files. Suffice it to say all systems crash but in my personal experience it has been Mac’s that do so more than any other under heavy processing]
Before you jump on me; I have had apples since my first Apple IIe. I still have lots of Apple hardware. So don’t call me a hater. I just don’t like being ‘locked’ into items or forced to spend loads of cash for hardware upgrades just to keep my software up to date.
As an illustration of that point.
"If you took your car in for service and they welded your hood shut, you wouldn’t be very happy,"- Apple shutting owners out of their iPhones.
Another VERY important thing for many to consider is the cost of hardware of each system. Apple systems do and will cost you a HIGH premium over similar Windows based systems. AND Apple is very good at making sure you will have to replace your system every few years! I am not kidding. If you have an Apple machine that is over 3 or 4 years old there is most likely no way you could run the latest version of their OS (OS X Snow Leopard). If you have a ten year old Windows PC sitting around you could still put Windows 7 on it and also upgrade most of the hardware too!!
However please remember the ‘best’ product is one that will do what you want it to (or minimum you will accept) and provides the user experience you desire.
Technology is only a tool, a means to an end. Not the end in and of itself.
I also won’t waste the space here to go over the VERY false argument that Mac’s are immune to being hacked or compromised. This is a statement NEVER made by anyone who deals with security on a regular basis such as myself and many of my colleagues! Mac’s have just had a much smaller ‘target’ on their head in the past but are still just as easily compromised as PCs.
If you have been using a Mac or Windows PC and it works for you stick with it unless you have some other overriding need to switch. The learning curve for Windows 7 and OS X is very short now days compared to the differences of even a decade ago.
If you are primarily just going to be browsing the web, looking at photos and some simple office type application work you will do OK with either one.
Now some entertaining illustrations: