Mac and PC have been carrying on a public war for some time now (remember the Mac and PC guy ads featuring Justin Long?) Windows users claim that Macs aren’t suitable computers because they’re not practical and Mac users claim that PCs are insufficient and slow. But the truth is, it’s hard to choose one as the clear winner. Although they offer different versions of a lot of the same things, they also have their own unique offerings, and which one you should choose depends largely on what you will be using it for and on your personal tastes and preferences.
Let’s start at the beginning. Who came first? It would appear that the first successful personal computer to feature a mouse and a graphical user interface (GUI) was the Apple Macintosh, introduced on the 24th of January 1984. About a year later, Microsoft introduced Microsoft Windows in response to the growing interest in GUIs.
Since then, Microsoft has dominated the operating system market with Microsoft Windows holding approximately 91% of the market share. Apple Mac OS holds around 5% and the remaining 4% is owned by other operating systems such as Linux. The reason Microsoft has held the lead for so long is simply because the company designed its operating systems to be compatible with various hardware created by a wide range of computer companies. In other words, you can purchase a computer by Dell, hp, Sony, Toshiba or a number of other companies and run the Windows OS on all of them, whereas you have to purchase an Apple computer if you want the Mac experience.
So who uses what? A page on the Apple website detailing Mac user profiles lists the following people/industries as avid Mac users:
- Home office users such as authors and lawyers
- Start ups such as Twitter and 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
Although Microsoft doesn’t offer a comprehensive list of their users, it is safe to say that many of the above people don’t use Mac exclusively, with an equal if not greater amount using Windows for the same tasks. After a bit of research, it seems like Windows users consist more or less of the following:
- Home office users
- IT professionals
- Business owners
Kelly Ford, the marketing and content head for Hunch (a company that provides users with recommendations based on personal taste and preference) conducted a report looking at the differences between "Mac people & PC people”. The report focuses on the personalities of each group from three perspectives: aesthetic preferences, media choices and personality traits.
The key findings from this study are 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 colours, "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 favour 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 report in full, visit http://hunch.com/media/reports/macpc
Of course the report is not going to be accurate in all cases – some of the people described as Mac people would in fact be PC users and vice versa. However, this gives you a general idea about the perception behind Macs vs. PCs.
When it comes down to it, the operating system you choose will be the one you are most comfortable using and the one that is best suited to your needs. Most people in the design industry (graphic designers, architects, photographers, fashion designers, etc) will trend towards Macs, as these are better suited to visual and design tasks, whereas office workers, writers, teachers, etc. will likely choose PC for its more straightforward and robust office and word processing abilities. The choice will also depend on age. Most older generations will likely stick with what they know and were brought up using (PC), while younger generations may be more inclined to try the funkier alternative (Mac).