Apple: Obviously the Best Option over Windows

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It’s the argument almost as old as time: Which products are better – Apple or Windows?

When I was younger, I was adamant that I would never even consider switching to Mac laptops. The weird icons at the bottom and the lack of a Start menu were enough for me to steer clear of the high-priced invention. Then, in college, I moved into a new apartment with a friend. Lo and behold, when we were unpacking our stuff, she pulled out a brand new MacBook Pro. “Look, my parents got me a MacBook Pro for my birthday and I am so excited to have a new laptop for school!” she exclaimed. I scoffed and dismissed her excitement, thinking she was overreacting and that my beautiful red Dell XPS M1530 was significantly better than her silly MacBook Pro.

Shortly after our stressful move-in date, my beautiful Dell started slowing down as well as overheating. It started overheating to the point where it could probably burn someone with a condition that causes overly fragile skin. “The computer is only a year old!” I thought. As any broke college student would do, I got on eBay and found a laptop fan. A week later, I had my scorching laptop sitting on top of a plastic fan and not looking too swell. Shortly after, it died.

Since my computer wouldn’t turn on and I was actually still doing homework at that point in college, my roommate allowed me to borrow her laptop even though I had harassed her for it relentlessly. I wrote a paper for my useless informative agribusiness class and I had it figured out within five minutes. Who needs a start button or a normal list of programs? I loved it.

I spent the early years of smartphones with an Android, basically vowing to never become an iPhone snob. Needless to say, when I got my iPhone 6, I have never looked back.

We don’t need to go into why you need a computer, tablet, or smartphone – the reasons are obvious. However, many features need to be considered when choosing which device to buy. With so many options, which is the best? Throughout all of my experience, I have found that Apple products significantly exceed the convenience, performance, and reliability than any Windows device.

So why should you trust me? I work on a Windows laptop at work and a MacBook Pro at home. I have used Windows desktops and laptops my entire life, and I have experimented with Windows tablets and iPads since their releases. I own an iPhone and have also used Windows smartphones, so I have extensive experience with both systems and can truly say Apple products are the better option. And hey, the fact that I am writing this on my MacBook Pro tells you exactly what my preference is.

LAPTOPS

Besides the fact that people with Apple devices are just awesome in general, MacBook Pro laptops are incredible. They look scary at first because most people are used to using Windows systems, but they are actually extremely easy to use. This great post will outline why MacBook Pros are better than Windows systems.

Apple Improves OS but also Stays the Same

As Mac OS versions increase, new (really great) features are added but the general outline of things stays the same. However, if you think about Windows, things have drastically changed within the last decade or two. For example, the transformation of the start menu (the switch to tiles) is a huge difference compared to the traditional start menu that was featured on all Windows models until now (see photo below). Even though some people like this more, it also shows the sad fact that Windows need to make such drastic changes.

Photo Credit: T.C. Sottek, The Verge

Standards in General

MacBook Pros are built to the highest design standards, with some of the best high-end components, up-to-date styling, and dedicated attention to detail.. This makes MacBook Pros and other Mac computers some of the most beautiful consumer electronic products available on the market. You will find Mac computers costlier than Windows PCs, but the reason for this is because it is a great investment if it serves the expectations and requirements of the end consumer. Plus, like it or not, Apple products make people look more sophisticated and successful.

Processing Power

We can observe better performance with MacBook Pros than Windows laptops because every component in a Mac machine is optimized for performance to make sure that each component consumes least possible power. Mac switched to Intel processors back in 2006 due to their top-notch processing performance and Apple built their Mac OS on top of it. They make sure to make the best use of the hardware with which they can optimize performance for any Mac machine. This is the reason that after updating the Mac machines to a new operating system, we can achieve better battery life on old Mac machines without any hardware upgrade.

Sick Computers (Viruses)

Another issue I had with several of my Windows systems was dreaded viruses. My malware and virus firewall software was always blowing up with notifications that something was trying to attack me or my computer or my family, and it was ANNOYING. Yes, Macs do have viruses despite popular belief; however, it is nowhere near the amount of infections that Windows are susceptible to.

Basically, Mac OS is less prone to attack than Windows OS. Mac OS is a UNIX-based operating system; therefore, it has a large number of security fire doors that restrict malwares from spreading damages when they manage to gain access on Mac OS. It doesn’t mean that Mac OS based systems are not hackable, but I will say that they cannot be exploited as easily as Windows PCs.

Each year, Germany’s independent IT security institute, AV-TEST, runs an annual security report and analyzes viruses, malware, and other attacks on different platforms (Android, Windows, macOS, etc.). The 2015/2016 report states, “In reality, the number of malware programs identified by AV-TEST scan systems for Apple‘s Mac platform is minuscule compared to Windows.” Need I say more?

Crash and Burn

Out of all of the computers I have ever owned, my MacBook Pro has by far crashed the least. Applications and programs are more reliable, and my MacBook Pro has outlived any Windows system I have ever had. Remember the Blue Screen of Death (“BSOD”) on Windows systems? I do, because I saw them all the time on my Sony Vaio laptop as well as my horrible HP laptops and my (previously beloved) Dell. I have never gotten anything like that with my MacBook Pros.

Photo Credit: DeviantArt #bsod

Audio and Visual Quality

Since switching from a Windows to a Mac, I have also seen a noticeable upgrade in the ability to work with audio and visual editing. Setting up a microphone and other audio equipment was a complete hassle with my Windows systems, but with my MacBook Pro the assembling is seamless and barely requires any setup – it does most of the work automatically.

Cross-platform Integration

Apple is doing a great job in keeping up with cloud-based computing and amazing cross-device communication systems (for example, iMessage). It seems as if companies really emphasize “connecting” these days, and Apple exceeds Windows by far in that area. Even though I am pretty up to date with the latest technology, I still prefer a good ol’ keyboard as opposed to a handheld device. That said, I love being able to send iMessages from my MacBook Pro without even having to pick up my iPhone.

Newer Mac OS releases (e.g. OS X Yosemite and El Capitan) have further strengthened Apple ties between Macs and iOS devices. The Hand-off feature allows us to email, note or document on iPhone or iPad that can continue on Mac without syncing anything to a cloud drive such as OneDrive or Google Drive. It is further applicable to web searches, maps searches, reminders, and calendar adjustments. It means that all of your devices are integrated and they contribute together to assist you in your day to day tasks completion without worry and hassle-free manner. Windows lacks the sophistication and abilities in this area.

Software Limitations? Not Too Much of an Issue

Many think the fact that MacBook Pros are “limited” in what kind of software they can run is a negative thing, but I argue it’s not. MacBook Pros support vital computing systems – Adobe, Microsoft Office, email, browsers, games, applications, audio-visual editing, etc. – which are sufficient for the majority of computer users. Like I said, after five minutes with my roommate’s computer, I was just fine.

Confession – several software programs are only available on Windows and not supported by Mac. For example, many marketing products and SEO products are only compatible with Windows, so if you do anything with that, Windows might be the better choice. I also need to give credit to most Windows laptops for providing a better gaming platform. Gamers are still rather limited on Macs regardless if they build their own “hackintosh” and improve the built-in GNU. Since Windows computers are much more builder-friendly, they have the ability to be tweaked to perfection for games, speed, and graphics.

There’s no doubt Windows PCs have a large amount of excellent software packages that can perform any kind of computer related tasks. Some of these software packages are available as a free download while other software packages cost money and are available for purchase online. This includes Microsoft Office. On the other hand, when we take a look on Mac OS based computers, we can find a remarkable collection of very useful apps that are already built-in. This includes Photos, Garageband, iMovie, Pages, FaceTime, Numbers, Keynote, iTunes, Maps, etc. Using these basic apps, we are able to edit photos, create music, make movies, write texts, video chat, prepare documents, and many more things that serves the basic needs of people using computers. Not only this, Apple’s Mac App Store allows access to a large number of additional apps that can be installed on Mac machines.

As stated, many popular Windows apps such as MS Word, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint, and MS Outlook are compatible and work smoothly on Mac machine. If this is not enough, then Mac users can install Windows OS in parallel to Mac OS on their Mac machine which can provide them access to all Windows apps available in this world. This serves wide range of app choices which can selectively used by Mac machine users than Windows OS users.

Operating System Capabilities

As I just noted, MacBook Pros can run Windows OS but Windows laptops cannot run Mac OS as a second operating system. Interestingly, Mac OS requires only Apple hardware which itself is strong enough to work on Windows operating system. This feature, I will say, makes Apple hardware more robust and flexible though it delivers better performance with Mac OS as this operating system is primarily designed for Apple hardware.

Displays

Retina displays on current Apple devices catch the attention of many people and provides an edge over Windows laptops due to their high resolution crispy display. Retina display is a type of LCD screen that provides higher resolution of about 300 pixels. Such a pixel density allows the depiction of a seamless image from a distance of 10 to 15 feet which provides richer and crisper images than traditional Windows laptops display. On the contrary, Windows laptops’ displays vary from high to low resolution depending on the type and make of LCD screens.

Windows Wins Hardware Building (I’ll admit)

Alright, I do need to give some credit to Windows. This mainly comes as a courtesy, but also because there are some people who would probably benefit more from a Windows than a Mac. Building a Windows laptop with your own hardware is relatively easy (if you’re into that sort of thing), whereas you cannot do as much with a Mac. There are plenty of upgrades that come out regularly, and prices can be found that are much less than Macs if you need it. You have plenty of models to choose from (Dell, HP, Sony, etc.) so you can purchase the hardware that suits your needs best. Remember, though, you get what you pay for!

TABLETS AND SMARTPHONES

We’ve all heard of iPads, Windows tablets, iPhones, and Windows phones, but not everyone has actually used each of them. Though I am not a fan of tablets in general because I am old fashioned and like my physical keyboard, they are nonetheless compact and easy to transport when needed. Smartphones are (obviously) great and it seems as if you’re weird if you don’t have one (even my 82 year old grandma does). Moon Technolabs Pvt. Ltd.’s February 2017 assessment reported the below findings. From this, it’s clear that iOS devices overtake Windows significantly when it comes to user experience.

Photo Credit: Moon Technolabs Pvt. Ltd.

Apps

I strongly believe the most important thing (other than speed) when comparing tablets and smartphones is the apps available. There’s no doubt that Apple used to rule the app world. It released the “AAA” games that users loved, but now those are available on Android devices. Windows Mobile, however, is way behind. Of course, highly-used apps like Facebook are available, but other than that it seems as if Windows is left behind when it comes to apps. Sure, some iOS developers will come out with a Windows compatible app, but they fail to release patches and updates because their apps are much more utilized and profitable on iOS devices.

Stock apps are also crucial to all smartphones, as I discussed in the laptop section. Apple’s iOS is especially attractive to people like me who like the cross-device syncing. The potential downside regarding iOS is the inability to select default apps so you have to use the built-in ones; however, I personally think Apple successfully updates their defaults fairly often to stay ahead of the game. Window’s built-in apps have improved throughout the past few years, but this doesn’t mean much. Apple users can download the latest Microsoft apps that come on Windows phones, so having Outlook come built-in isn’t necessarily a bonus.

Apple’s app store still dominates the app world when compared to Google play for Android and Windows store for Windows phones. Apple gamers find that iPhones and iPads are good options due to the ease of handing the devices from a touch interface point of view. Moon Technolabs Pvt. Ltd.’s 2017 report also reported that much more money is spent within iOS gaming apps than other platforms, which includes Windows. This indicates that iOS apps are more used, more enjoyed, and more entertaining.

Photo Credit: Moon Technolabs Pvt. Ltd.

The Windows app store still needs to make a lot of progress. Apps downloaded from the Apple app store are also more secure than the Windows store due to their strict approval process for phone app availability. Windows phones still to make up a lot progress in order to compete with Apple app store. They are built on the same core as Windows itself; therefore, universal apps can be built which can work on both platforms. The Windows development team should put more effort into porting Apple and Android apps on Windows phones. Overall, Windows phones need more recognition and a serious upgrade in terms of available apps before I would even consider switching over.

Device Integration

As mentioned, Apple iOS came out with a mind-blowing feature where different Apple-branded devices can talk to each other making sure that their core apps are all hooked up. So you can ‘Handoff’ your work (say text Message) from your iPhone or iPad and end it on your Mac, and vice-versa. This also provides flexibility to take call on your MacBook Pros when your iPhone is out of reach. Isn’t iPhone interesting and powerful? Such system-wide hook up features or cross-platform features completely lacks on Windows Phones.

Virtual Assistance

In terms of virtual assistance, voice control on phones is carried out by Siri on iPhones and Cortana on Windows phones. Apple and Windows both pride themselves on their devices’ abilities to help users with tasks and question-answering. Siri is very good in listening and understanding, and she can also sometimes offer some sass and humor. Cortana on Windows phones is relatively as smart as  Siri and can perform the basic services such as give the morning news, write messages, set up reminders, and remind users about upcoming events, appointments, or movie listings. However, Cortana lacks the emotion and some of the memory capacity that Siri has. There is a big competition among the virtual assistance features on iOS and Windows phones, and maybe I’m  biased towards Siri since I use “her” quite often.

Additionally, Loup Ventures completed the following assessment in April of 2017, showing that Siri is more effective than Window’s Cortana, further demonstrating why iOS is better than Windows.

 

Photo Credit: Loup Ventures

Messaging

Apple iOS has iMessage as Messaging app and Windows phones have Skype as messaging app. iMessages are integrated with SMS messages where you can consolidate messages at one place, whereas Windows phones have a standalone messaging app for SMS messages which is yet to be consolidated to one place.

Security

I have to take some time to talk about security as well. People are getting tired of passcodes and swipe patterns, so everyone is waiting for the next big thing. Of course, Apple has turned to fingerprint-sensing, which has been received well and it has never failed me when I have tried to unlock my iPhone that way. Windows phones, however, have implemented “Windows Hello,” which is not nearly as user friendly. Of course, it’s pretty awesome that a small device can read your iris and unlock based on that biometric. However, I have found that Windows Hello requires the user’s face to be extremely close to the phone and doesn’t always work.

To go into more detail, iOS has Touch ID as its biometric security feature to unlock iPhones or make financial transactions. Windows phones support fingerprint sensing technology, but they also took an additional step to come up with IRIS scan technology known as Windows Hello feature. Even though this technology sounds great, in my opinion it is non-pragmatic compared to Touch ID and it looks little awkward when you are using their faces to unlock their phones in public spaces or walking on the street.

Dreaded Troubleshooting

As for troubleshooting, you’re much more likely to find a solution online if you have an iPhone as opposed to a Windows phone. Gartner reported that in the fourth quarter of 2016, Windows sold a mere 0.3% of market share whereas Apple’s iPhones were 17.9%. Therefore, the chances that someone else can help troubleshoot a potential issue is much higher if you are on an iPhone as opposed to a Windows phone.

Operating System 4Q16
Units
4Q16 Market Share (%) 4Q15
Units
4Q15 Market Share (%)
Android 352,669.9 81.7 325,394.4 80.7
iOS 77,038.9 17.9 71,525.9 17.7
Windows 1,092.2 0.3 4,395.0 1.1
BlackBerry 207.9 0.0 906.9 0.2
Other OS 530.4 0.1 887.3 0.2
Total 431,539.3 100.0 403,109.4 100.0

Chart Credit: Gartner 2017

Customization (Tie)

Ok, I’ll admit, customization seems about equal between Apple tablets/smartphones and Windows tablets/smartphones. I have compared the “look” of both side by side, and they are extremely similar. Of course, colors and backgrounds vary and the tiles on Windows devices can be resized, but they are otherwise the same. Both iOS and Windows lack an extreme amount of customization, so I cannot say that Apple products are better here.

Upgrades

Windows phones have kept changing their design and interface since they were launched whereas Apple iOS is fairly similar since its launch in the last decade. Design-wise, Windows phones have tiled icons and Apple iOS lists apps on the home screen without an app drawer when the phone is unlocked. The look and feel of the device home screen is the first point of attraction where Apple iPhone and iPad have more votes than Windows based phones.

I do have to give credit to Windows for trying to upgrade their tablets more than Apple. Just within the past 6 months or so, I have seen many more ads for Windows tablets than iPads. Its devices, including the Surface Pro, are considerably more similar to their laptop equivalents than Apple devices. When I compared a Windows tablet to a laptop running Windows 10, it was extremely similar with the tiles and just the view in general. However, when I compare my iPad to my spectacular MacBook Pro, it’s barely alike at all. For users who prefer everything to look the same and be in the same place, a Windows tablet might be the better option.

Hardware Woes

Windows hardware has the persistent issue and software fragmentation which can hamper the performance of triple-A games and many other apps. For this reason, now-popular apps like Spotify and Instagram first released their app as a trial run on iOS before launching them on Windows phones. Again, you get what you pay for, so even if an iPhone is more expensive than a Windows phone, it may be a better investment.

VERDICT

So clearly, I will admit, if you are a techie nerd and like to build out your own software and hardware when it comes to laptops, stick with Windows. However, if you are the average computer user (like most people) and have the money to spend, investing in a Mac is the better option. Usability, reliability, security, and simplicity make Mac a smart investment.

As for tablets and smartphones, don’t even bother contemplating. Apple’s products are currently much better than Windows’ products, and I won’t be giving up my iPhone for a Windows phone any time soon.

Of course, the choice is up to you, but don’t be offended when someone makes fun of you for having a Windows device, especially a phone or tablet. Both Apple and Windows products have their pros and cons, but for me Apple has outdone Windows over and over, and I am going to stick with it until Windows steps up its game

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