How to Overcome Objections to Buying a Mac
The question of which is a better personal computer, a Macintosh or a Windows PC, provokes a good debate. If you’re thinking about purchasing a Mac or you’re considering moving from a Windows PC, you may encounter several (unfounded) objections. The following objections to switching to a Mac aren’t true.
Macs are too expensive. If you’re looking for the absolute cheapest computer you can find, you’re right. As of this writing, you can buy a new Windows XP computer for as little as $300. But when you price higher-end configurations from name-brand manufacturers — ones that match what you get standard with a Mac — the difference in price is less and often disappears. In the United States, you can buy a complete and very usable Mac desktop setup for under $600, assuming that you already own a suitable display, keyboard, and mouse; you can buy an excellent MacBook laptop for about $1,100.
The arguments for buying a Mac are based on quality and total cost of ownership, not initial purchase price. Few people boast about how cheap their car is. A cheap product that causes you years of aggravation is no bargain.
Switching is too hard. If you’ve been using Windows for a while, you’re used to its idiosyncrasies. You made a big investment in learning how to use all that Windows software, not to mention what you paid for it. But on the whole, switching to a Mac is not that bad because Macs and Windows PCs have more in common than they have differences.
I’ll be left with no software. Many Windows advocates claim that less software is available for the Macintosh. (Of course, Macs aren’t plagued with all those viruses and spyware programs.) But some truth to this objection exists. Certain highly specialized programs in many fields only run in Windows. If equivalents exist for the Mac, you might have fewer choices. On the other hand, thousands of software titles are available for the Mac, and they cover the needs of most users quite well.
Some great software is available only for the Mac. Every new Mac comes with Apple applications for e-mail, instant messaging, address book, calendar, and iTunes. Apple’s iLife suite, also included, has programs for photo management, making movies, burning DVDs, creating Web sites, and even composing your own music.
Macs are dying out. Macs were close to dying a decade ago. Their share of the personal computer market was less than 3 percent. However, their share has been climbing steadily, and at last report was 7.6 percent in the United States. And it could be up to 20 percent of the consumer market — people who buy the computer for their own use. And Apple’s share is growing. More than half of all new Macs are purchased by people who were using Windows before.
Macs are not expandable. The original Macintosh was a self-contained unit that users were not supposed to open. Since then, Apple developed a blazingly fast expansion port, called FireWire, that lets users attach devices without opening the box. The PC world responded by developing USB 2.0, which Apple then adopted as well. All new Macs offer both ports, allowing a wide range of accessories to be attached just by plugging them in. For those who think they must have expansion cards, the top-of-the-line Mac Pro comes in a big box that you can open to install the same PCI Express expansion cards that modern PCs use.
Macs don’t comply with industry standards. Early in Apple’s history, they came up with a clever way to squeeze more bits onto a floppy disk. Unfortunately, this design made floppy disks written on early Macs unreadable on IBM PCs. That gave Apple a reputation of being an odd duck, from a standards standpoint, which it has never been able to shake completely, even though it later added PC-compatible floppy drives and is now exemplary in sticking to industry standards. Indeed, Apple was the first to popularize now-ubiquitous computer industry standards such as WiFi wireless networking and the Universal Serial Bus (USB). Other standards that Macs support include Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth, IEEE-1394 FireWire, PCI Express, ExpressCard/34, and now the Intel microprocessor architecture. Apple’s Web browser, Safari, now also available for Windows, carefully follows Internet standards — more so than Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
I need Windows for work. If that’s the case, run Windows XP or Vista on your Mac.
Macs are a poor game platform. True, more games exist for the PC, but plenty are available for Macs (many of the top titles, too). And many more are coming.