Creationism vs. Evolution. Pro-life vs. Pro-choice. Mac vs. PC. Some questions will live on forever without ever finding a clear, concise and factual answer. The good thing is that I’m not trying to answer any of these questions for you, I am just going to be giving you my perspective on the debate over Macs and PCs. Hopefully after reading through this, you will have a little more information and be able to make a more informed decision for yourself.
Note before you read: I have many computers and have had many different computers including PCs, Macs, Windows machines, Linux boxes and Mac machines and I like all of them. I do though have a stronger liking for Apple’s products. I am going to try to use as many facts over opinions as possible but you have to remember that most of this argument is completely opinion anyway. This article will be biased in favor of Macs.
Part One: Hardware
The topic I wanted to discuss in part one here is Apple’s hardware specifically. In future parts I will discuss software, operating systems and other things but I wanted to focus on hardware here.
One way to look at the debate of Mac vs. PC is by looking at hardware. This gets a little complicated because we know exactly what a Mac entails but what is “PC”? You have to define what you are comparing a Mac to when comparing. Usually this is done Mac OS vs. Windows but that is another post all together. I am going to talk about the actual computer.
So we need to define exactly what a PC is before we can compare. To define a PC, I look at the top brands that everyone seems to buy, Gateway, Dell and HP. Here is what I’ve found.
- Macs are engineered with polished aluminum and have a heavy-duty feel that other computers seem to lack. After looking at HP, Dell and Gateway’s websites, I could not find another computer not made of plastic. I have a plastic made laptop right now and I don’t agree with how flimsy it feels and how it bows when lifted or is used in other ways.
- Another thing that may or may not matter to some people is where the hardware was actually manufactured. All Apple products are built and manufactured here in America where as almost all other computers are made over-seas. Other PCs may be assembled in America but that won’t make a difference if the actual pieces are built with less quality right away.
- One point that some people argue is not a valid point is appearance. I ask, “Why do Gateway and Dell offer different colored laptops if nobody cares about what their computer looks like?” Apple computers are very stream-lined and appealing to almost everyone. Brighthub.com put it nicely when they said, “Cosmetically, Macs are extremely well designed computers. They are visually appealing with a “high-end” feel.”
- Hardware innovation is also something that Apple prides itself on. Apple was the first to use multi-touch technology in its iPhone/iPod Touch and the touchpad on their laptops. This is technology that some computers have yet to upgrade to. Another advance Apple has made is the MagSafe power adapter. This is a small improvement that is surprisingly helpful.
- One other thing I thought was worth mentioning in the hardware section is Apple’s one of a kind warranty, Apple Care. They supply a one-year, full warranty at no extra cost. I have used Apple’s tech support a few times before and I have never been disappointed. Most other computers don’t come with any kind of warranty unless you start paying more right away. Some argue that if you need a warranty that obviously the product has been made to fail. This argument is bogus, everyone knows that electronics in general have problems, even Macs, a warranty is just your plan B in case something would ever happen.
Hopefully, this is enough information just on hardware that you will at least consider a Mac option if you are looking for a new computer. Make sure to check back for part two of the Mac vs. PC debate.
Do you have different information? Do you disagree with me? Do you maybe agree? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @DevonSchreiner or @InflectoVita.
5 thoughts on “Mac vs. PC Inflecto Vita Style: Part One”
While Apple’s hardware is undoubtedly a selling point from their marketing team, the arguments you present are not offer any benefits over competing computers (or “PCs” to perpetuate Apple’s false dichotomy). To re-hash the above bullet points:
While the iMac, Mac Mini, Mac Pro, MacBook and PowerBook all utilize aluminium bodies, this hasn’t always been the case. The plastic casing you decry as non-robust on PCs of recent times was very much in use in previous (although recent) incarnations of Apple’s computers. The original iMac G3’s translucent plastic case was marketed almost as prominently as its all-in-one functionality, and the use of polycarbonate plastics continued through at least 2007 in the iMac and other product lines. For a while there were even some non-Apple products (and even some products entirely unrelated to computing) that copied the translucent plastic aesthetic of the iMac G3. All the while, all the desktop PCs (Dell, HP, Lenovo) I’ve used have had metal cases, and not one has felt flimsy or otherwise indicated poor build quality – even those that aren’t in the same price range as Apple’s. Types and thicknesses of plastics vary, from the thin PET cups Starbucks use to serve Frappuccinos to shipping pallets made from HDPE; a device comprising of plastics isn’t necessarily flimsy.
Apple products are not manufactured in the United States. They’re designed there (with some R&D across the world), but manufacture is outsourced to third-party contract manufacturers like Foxconn and Quanta, whose manufacturing bases are in less economically developed countries such as China and Taiwan, where labour is cheaper and tariffs for both raw material imports and exporting finished products are eliminated altogether. This reduction of manufacturing costs makes Apple’s products economically viable for the masses; producing them entirely in the United States would force the retail price to increase, due to Apple having to factor in the cost of paying American wages to everyone involved in the products’ manufacture; Foxconn’s workers receive $299/month. This is not unique to Apple; all the major PC vendors have their products manufactured by third-party contract manufacturers, often by the same companies as Apple and likely alongside the assembly lines of Apple products. In any case, what does a product’s place of manufacture have to do with its quality? And who’s to say American-made products are of undeniably high quality? American cheese is awful, but it’s made locally. If certain quality standards are specified to overseas contractors and properly adhered to by quality control, a product can be manufactured and assembled anywhere with no compromise in quality and without damaging the brand (except maybe those Foxconn worker suicides that implicated Apple’s excessive demands for secrecy;). The internal components are similarly fabricated overseas by several different suppliers, then shipped to Asia for the main assembly.
Sure, *some* consumers care about how their computers look; vendors respond to this demand accordingly. However, the majority of PCs still look a certain way because most people aren’t bothered by how they look; they just want them to provide useful functionality, in much the same way as a farmer who doesn’t care about the aesthetics of his tractor so long as it can till the soil.
New technologies don’t just materialize out of nowhere, and Apple claiming them solely as their own innovation is a disservice to the numerous people involved in the lengthy development process. Apple have frequently branded an existing technology as their own and claimed it to be an innovation; a recent one was Retina Display which, while a superior technology, is the same AMOLED screen used by competing smartphones. Multi-touch isn’t an Apple innovation; it’s been around since 1982 (pinch gestures came in 1983). Since then, several companies have developed the technology to refine it into its modern day ubiquity in smartphones, tablets and touchpads. The touchpads on Apple laptops are supplied by Cirque and/or Synaptic; a PC user who cared enough about this could pick up a USB touchpad from either manufacturer to provide multi-touch functionality. Apple’s only contribution to that particular technology was to trademark the phrase “Multi-touch”. Similarly the MagSafe connector, which has been criticized for causing the problems it’s designed to prevent, is based upon the electrical connectors used on some counter-top cooking appliances.