The graphic above is linked to a much more in-depth comparison of the two; I’m writing today to report my own real-world observations after four weeks of immersion in Windows XP (and a decade of using Macs). Here’s what I’ve found:
- Looking into a Mac display is undeniably a beautiful thing. Even with ClearType enabled in Windows XP, Mac OS X does a better job at making dots on a screen look like ink on paper.
- Web surfing on Windows is faster. A lot faster. I don’t currently have the means to measure this, but I would say from visiting the same pages on Mac and Windows that Windows is at least twice as fast at loading up a page in any browser than a Mac.
- There’s a ton of fantastic software available for both platforms, some commercial, a lot of it free. The best free apps, namely Firefox and Thunderbird, are available for Mac, Windows and Linux.
- Stupid people can break a Mac just as easily as a Windows computer. I have personally witnessed someone on a Mac surrender their browser to a screenful of pop-up ads, even with the pop-up blocker turned on! As for me on Windows, so far so good—four weeks in and no malware on my Lenovo laptop… Yet.
- Apple Computer does make nice-looking machines, but as I’ve written before on the subject I can’t exactly call them reliable.
- (The tipping point for me) Windows computers and accessories are cheaper, as in orders of magnitude cheaper. Case in point: Apple’s WiFi Base Station currently sells for $249 CAD. By comparison there’s a LinkSys wireless router on sale right now at CompuSmart for forty bucks!
- The whole Mac vs. PC argument is ultimately for naught, as the web has all but replaced the desktop operating system, especially with this web 2.0 stuff. But if you really want to be a computer zealot you should know that all the cool kids are using Linux—I would be too if only Ubuntu would recognize my damn wireless card!
Anyway, desktop computers are sooo late twentieth-century… Smartphones are where it’s really at!