Is a Mac or a PC better? Pros and cons in a fair fight

PC and Mac: eternal rivals. We are faced with two operating systems of the highest level and, even those who have lived for years using both, find it difficult to proclaim a winner. Talking about merits and demerits has become reductive and useless because the issue must be addressed differently: today we must take into account different and new variables.

The distinction between Mac and PC, therefore, is no longer as clear as it was only a few years ago, we would even say only a year ago. If we wanted to define a Mac, the first term that comes to mind is a "symphony orchestra" where everything coexists in a harmonious and tested manner, while a PC is more like a "street band" where there is less cohesion between the various members of the group but, if chosen well, they are able to unleash unparalleled power and offer greater freedom of movement. Then there are the personal taste, experiences and convictions of the users, which continue to play a fundamental role in the choice. We'll try, therefore, to analyze the main differences between these two worlds in order to offer you the most complete and unbiased picture possible.

Apple is losing out?

In recent times, but we would dare to say since the death of Steve Jobs, some argue that Apple has lost its competitive edge, that it is no longer as "cool" and forward-thinking as it once was and that it is no longer, in fact, innovative in terms of products. Apple, many say, has become a company that produces consumer electronics products for mid-range users. The reality is quite different because it depends on the use to which its products are intended, as well as PCs, iPhones, Android smartphones and any other device on the market. It depends, really, on the specific use it is intended to perform.

The eye wants its part too

If aesthetics and attention to detail has always been Apple's flagship, the situation in recent times is rapidly changing. It's true that there are still cheap Windows models on the market that aren't exactly beautiful and made from cheap materials, but Microsoft and other manufacturers such as Dell, Lenovo and Razor Blade have recently churned out some little gems. Microsoft's Surface Studio PC looks, according to many industry experts, like a model with an extremely innovative design, just as the Surface Pro 4 tablets and Surface Book laptops are a joy to behold. The look, in short, until yesterday, almost absolute prerogative of the Cupertino colossus, now has to reckon with competitors who are increasingly attentive to design. Prices have risen, it's true, but those looking for quality - now - have valid alternatives to Apple.

Ecosystems compared

Microsoft Windows 10 and Apple macOS are two operating systems that are completely different from each other. Cupertino's engineers have always focused on a simple and pleasant user experience, dare we say "reassuring", where everything was integrated, minimizing user intervention. When you use a Mac, everything usually runs smoothly, there are rarely any malfunctions due to bugs, it's pretty secure (not like years ago) and the system does exactly what you have in mind. In short, it's easy to use when paired with Apple components or components developed specifically for the Mac. When the whole "ecosystem", in other words, is Apple branded. And the same goes for the iPhone, iPad and iPod. The downside is that all of this makes it less configurable than a PC. Microsoft is trying to create an ecosystem that offers the same ease of use as a Mac, but the Windows 10 environment, which - by the way - is a great operating system, is much more fragmented, always has been. It requires more technical skills to configure, install applications and peripherals that are compatible with Windows, but not developed to the rigid standards required by Apple. It should be remembered, however, that Windows 10 works on a huge amount of devices, from laptops to the bulkiest all-in-one PCs, and even on tablets. MacOS, on the other hand, is only available for Apple notebooks, desktops and all-in-one computers. The difference you'll see, at this point, is that Apple's ecosystem is "standalone" and complete, Microsoft's isn't - at least for now - always requiring you to add a few items if you want to use it to its full potential.

Configuration and customization

While at first glance the fact that Windows is an open ecosystem, with greater possibilities for configuration and modification, certainly more complicated to manage than an Apple system, may seem a point in favor of Cupertino, it is instead an advantage for those who seek "power". We're talking about those who work professionally with video and photo editing, but especially for hardcore gamers. This type of users seeks the customization of the system, the ability to update the computer with the latest generations of CPUs, graphics cards and storage, to always have the most powerful hardware. A Mac is not upgradeable: you have to buy a more powerful model to keep up with the times. It is for this reason that Apple, as many claim, aims at a target of mid-range users. It's no coincidence that some Mac users, in recent times, are switching to Windows, which - according to them - has never been so powerful, efficient and well thought out.

Would you rather choose a Mac or a PC?

And here we come to the point: it depends on a number of variables. If you're looking for a reliable computer, have an iPhone or other Apple device, are looking for simplicity, work mostly with personal productivity programs, and aren't interested in big changes and customizations, then a Mac is the solution for you. If, on the other hand, you are attracted by the possibility of shaping the computer according to your needs, building a "user experience" tailored to you, there is nothing better than a Windows system. But there's still one very important aspect to consider that often isn't up to you: the environment in which you'll be using the computer. Now, if you're buying the computer to work with other people, you might want to choose the same platform. If you are the only person using a Mac in a company where everyone works with Windows, it is more complicated to interface with them. The same is true if the exact opposite happens. It's not that it's impossible for a PC and a Mac to "communicate", but it does require a little more effort on your part to integrate into the ecosystem used by most users.

The courage to change

If we exclude those who are only influenced by the brand, or by aesthetics, many professional users are very attentive instead to the characteristics of the products that, first of all, must allow them to do their job at their best. There are those who were born using Windows and those who were born using a Mac, but over the years, some have decided to choose based on their specific needs, leaving aside "likes and dislikes". Mac computers were in high demand, especially in some areas such as professional graphics and video editing, in the eighties. Steve Jobs, however, was forced to abandon "his" company in 1985 and began the decline of Apple. The company, after a series of questionable choices, found itself in crisis of sales, ideas and, above all, on the verge of bankruptcy. Many professional users decided - probably reluctantly - to switch to Windows. The return of Steve Jobs in Cupertino in 1996 changed the cards on the table, and many "dissidents", thanks to the launch of excellent computers, returned to their first "love". The iPod, the iPhone and the iPad - Jobs' brilliant ideas - made Apple's fortune, together with first-rate computers and notebooks with an unmistakable look. The competition was struggling. Apple, after Jobs' death in 2011, has continued on the path indicated by its brilliant founder, but four years have passed, and competitors have not stopped. Some professional users have been forced to return to Windows for the greater computing power. Courses and historical recourses as the philosopher Giambattista Vico would say.