Should You Buy a MAC?

A couple of years ago, a guy from work approached me. “Hey, good news!” he said. “I’m getting a Macbook this weekend!” I asked why. “I want to go online, and I’m tired of the anti-virus software trying to get me to pay. I want a Mac so I don’t have to worry about viruses.” I showed him a laptop online from a nearby store with better specifications than the Mac he wanted, and then gave him the link for Microsoft Security Essentials.

He came in on Monday and told me – “you saved me over $800.” I told him to take the money he saved, and go on vacation.

Have you ever heard anyone say “get an Apple computer! They don’t have viruses!”?

That isn’t an accurate statement, and that’s not a good reason to buy a MAC. There are good reasons to get one, though. I’ll cover everything in this article.

Apple computers do get viruses. If they didn’t, would there be anti-virus software packages for them? True, Apple viruses may be more rare. But that’s not the reason to pay 40 – 50% more for a computer. You could almost buy 2 Windows computers for the price of 1 Apple computer. And the strides forward Windows has made in security over the past 3 years, plus the combination of Internet Explorer and Microsoft Security Essentials (both free) practically eliminate the virus issues of times past.

Second, Apple computers are expensive. You can easily find Windows laptops with dual core processors (1 processor doing the job of two) for under $600. Apple computers with similar specifications (but smaller screens) start at $1,000. So the question becomes – what are you paying for?

Mostly you’re paying for branding. The same way you can rent for $1 from the Redbox, or $4.76 from Blockbuster, you’re getting the same movie. The components are the same, it’s merely the packaging that’s different.

You might argue that the Apple operating system is why the price is higher. And I agree, their operating system is well designed. But you can purchase their latest operating system for $29.99 from their own website. Somehow, that doesn’t seem to add up. But, it does explain how Apple’s stock price has tripled over the past 2 years.

You might argue that paying more for an Apple product gives you support from Apple. Well, that’s true. You can walk into an Apple store, and if your laptop is in warranty, they will look at it. All Windows laptops also come with a 1 year warranty from the manufacturer. However, if your Apple product requires a repair over $200 – you’re going to pay for it. If your Windows laptop requires a repair that expensive – you’ll probably opt just get a new one, no doubt with even better specifications than the one you had.

Perhaps you’re interested in Blu-Ray as a format. Maybe you have some Blu-Ray discs, or plan to buy some. Wouldn’t you want to watch a Blu-Ray movie on a trip, using your laptop? Apple products currently do not offer Blu-Ray, and there are no plans to offer it in the future. Blu-Ray is almost standard on Windows laptops (and will be more so over the next few months).

So why WOULD you buy a MAC? There are good reasons. Software that Apple has created, like iMovie and iPhoto, are industry-leading versions of movie and photo editing software built in to the operating system. They allow novice users to do complex things, and have gotten wonderful reviews. However, there are free Windows versions of comparable software. Microsoft’s Live Essentials is free and includes Windows Movie Maker and Photo Gallery, for movie and photo editing. If you would like to get into more advanced tasks, Adobe Creative Suite (including Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash, and much more) is available for both Windows and MAC.

Other reasons to buy a MAC include more complex software packages that are only available for MACs. Final Cut is one that comes to mind, but you would be hard pressed to find others.

Hopefully, this is information that will help you to make a decision about why to buy a MAC, instead of spending extra money to guard against viruses.