What’s the Deal with Macs?

I’m often confronted with businesses that do not know quite what to make of the Apple revolution. They don’t understand the difference between a Mac and a PC and are baffled by the hype surrounding Macs. It’s kind of like the war on Afghanistan, PC vs Mac is a vague and ambiguous fight. I have serviced networks where Windows and Mac work together, but their use totally depends on the work environment and the type of business being conducted. I hope to detail here the differences between a Mac and a PC and which one is more suitable for you.

The Difference in Operating Systems

PCs mostly run Windows, while Macs run their own type of operating system known as Mac OS X. The difference between the two systems boils down to two things: the OS (operating system) and the hardware platform. Mac OS X is derived from Unix, which makes it similar to Linux. Windows is based off of DOS (Disk Operating System) and follows a different directory structure than a Mac. Both OS’s cannot run the same programs. Macs can only install programs that are designed for Macs, and PCs can only run programs designed for Windows. This major difference is where a lot of problems happen for businesses. There are a lot more applications written for Windows than there are for Macs. Most businesses want the versatility of running most of the programs, and since Windows offers that versatility it makes sense to operate with PCs.

When people ask me about Macs, I tell them that they are smooth running machines that look great, but when I tell them about the software limitations, then they seriously begin to double think their decision on a Mac. I know that Macs are having a lot more software made for them now; however, in comparison to Windows, it’s still quite lacking.

The Hardware Difference

Macs use a customized form factor that enables them to come out with sleek looking computers. Repair is also higher for Macs than it is for PCs as the parts and technicians cost more. The specially designed hardware has drivers specially built into Mac OS X. Windows cannot handle the hardware of a Mac. That doesn’t mean you can run Windows on a Mac. Mac OS X Snow Leopard comes with a program called Boot Camp, which allows you to install Windows on a Mac through a boot environment of Mac OS X. The drivers for the Windows OS come on the Snow Leopard disc; basically, Boot Camp creates the environment for running Windows in a native way.

I have seen some people do a workaround and get Mac OS X to run on a PC, but that is a very intricate process, and not recommended for business use. Mac OS X doesn’t have the driver library to support PC hardware.

In the end, the deals with Macs are that they are sleek, good looking, function well in terms of providing a solid user experience, but their minority status limits the array of software that can be installed and used. Businesses that use Macs for graphic designing, find it more applicable to their needs, while PCs offer the same, if not more, of an experience for less of a cost. Don’t forget that Apple computers typically retail for prices higher than regular old PCs.


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