As you may have guessed, we're rather big fans of Apple computers here at Macworld. From the pristine beauty of the iMac Pro, to the svelte pleasures of the new MacBook Air, we enjoy them all. But why do these devices cause such loyalty and affections from users, when they could buy a perfectly good PC for a lot less money? Here are 10 reasons why we think Macs are better than their Windows-based brethren.
Before we get into the details, however, any comparison of Macs and PCs needs to note that Macs are PCs. In fact, as Apple used to say in the boilerplate of every press release: "Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh."
However, for the sake of argument, we'll group those various personal computers manufactured by the various PC manufacturers on one side, and those built by Apple on the other, as we answer the question: Why are Macs better than PCs?
The operating system on a PC or Mac is a fundamental part of the user experience. How we interact with our computers can result in harmonious atmospheres around our households and workplaces, or the anguished cries of souls that have seen too much suffering to believe there is any good left in the world. Windows 8 was something of a car-crash in terms of design and customer satisfaction. Thankfully Windows 10 has turned out to be a good OS, but there's still a long way to go.
In contrast, macOS is clean, refined, stable, easy to use interface, that to our tastes is a far, far nicer place to spend your time. Touch has been ignored, with trackpad and mouse gestures proving an excellent (and we think superior) alternative, and the whole OS feels like a polished evolution of an already thoroughbred system. (Read our comparison of Windows 10 and macOS here.)
Seamless integration with iOS through Hand-Off & Sidecar
With the introduction of Continuity in OS X Yosemite back in 2015, Apple further strengthened the ties between Macs and iOS devices, something that has carried through to the latest version of macOS. Thanks to the Hand-off feature, you can start an email, note or document on your iPhone or iPad and continue on your Mac without syncing or saving anything to a cloud drive like OneDrive or Google Drive. This also applies for web searches, reminders, maps searches, and calendar adjustments.
You'll find lots of apps on your Mac that you are familiar with from iOS, such as Messages, FaceTime, Notes, and Photos. There are many apps available across Macs and iOS devices - and that number is set to increase now that Apple has announced that it will be putting in to place measures that will make it even easier to port an app from iOS to Mac, or vice versa.
macOS Catalina also introduces further advancements with its Sidecar feature that turns your iPad into a fully interactive second screen. This close integration is a powerful selling point, as it means your devices all work together to help you complete your tasks without fuss or frustration.
There are too many PCs to choose from
This might sound like a bad thing, but it's true that sometimes less is more. Apple offers five different computers that come in various specs and build-to-order options. Apple's Macs include the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini, iMac and Mac Pro, and from those you'll find a Mac that suits your budget, lifestyle and power requirements. For in-depth advice on the current range, read our Complete Mac buying guide.
Because PCs don't come from a single manufacturer there are hundreds of PCs on the market. But none of these have the single vision guiding them that Macs offer.
It's interesting at this point to note that, while the Mac market share is smaller than the PC market share, this is based on all the PC manufacturers combined. Apple is in fourth place when it comes to market share when compared with other PC makers. In first place is Lenovo, followed by HP, then Dell, then Apple, according to Gartner in July 2018.
Yes, that old chestnut. For years now, Mac users have flaunted the apparent invulnerability of their systems in the faces of PC using friends. While we don't necessarily condone such behaviour, there is indeed a good deal of truth involved.
Macs are continually shown to suffer less attacks than Windows-based PCs, and by quite a margin. Things are admittedly changing though, with internet-based attacks on the rise, and hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their approaches. For the time being the Mac is still the safest platform, but users would be well advised to add a dash of caution to their surfing and clicking behaviours, lest complacency usher in the ne'er-do-wells.
See our Best antivirus software for Mac roundup to add an extra level of security.
They come with excellent software included
PCs have a myriad of excellent software packages available for pretty much any computer-based task. Some can be downloaded for free, while others are available for purchase, but the software doesn't tend to come with the machine.
When you take a Mac out of its box you'll find an impressive collection of very useful apps including Photos, iMovie, GarageBand, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, FaceTime, Maps and more already installed, so you'll be able to edit photos, make movies, create music and get your work done right off the bat, which for most people will be all they need.
With macOS Catalina Apple has also made significant upgrades to the media side of things, replacing the aged iTunes with new Apple Music, Apple TV, and Apple Podcasts apps.
There's also the Mac App Store, which grants you access to a world of additional apps that you can install on your Mac. Plus, any fear that Macs aren't compatible with your favourite Microsoft apps are unfounded; you can run mainstays like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook on a Mac.
And if you really must use Windows you can. It is possible to install Windows on a Mac alongside macOS. You really can have your cake and eat it.
Read Best free Mac apps for more ideas on the choice available.
There's no denying that Macs are expensive. If all you want is a simple machine for Facebook, shopping and a little work then a Mac isn't really the best option. Buy a Chromebook instead, as they're excellent devices that only cost around £300 and can do all those things very happily. Conversely, if you think that for the cost of a Mac you could buy all the components yourself and build a more powerful machine, then do exactly that and revel in your technical prowess. More power to you.
But if you want a device that is built to the highest standards, with top-grade components, elegant styling and almost fanatical attention to detail, then Macs are some of the most beautiful consumer electronic products on the market right now.
See also: Should I buy a refurbished Mac?
Apple optimises the components
Every component in every Mac is optimised for performance and to ensure that it requires less power. Where the argument that Macs feature better-quality components has been moot since the switch to Intel processors in 2006, with Apple using many of the same components in Macs as their PC counterparts, the fact that the company can design its operating system to use these components better is significant. It's why Apple can issue firmware updates that improve the way certain components work in Macs, and why a new operating system update can actually result in an old Mac achieving better battery life.
The bad news is that because of the way these components are built into Macs, they are not easy or, in many cases, possible to upgrade at a later date. In order to slim down the case and optimise the way the system works, Apple has compromised the ability to upgrade a Mac at a later date.
PC fans often note the fact that Macs aren't user-upgradable. These days the only way to add more RAM or a bigger hard drive to your Mac is if you purchase it as a build-to-order option when you first buy the Mac from Apple (in some cases it can be done, with some Macs easier to update than others, but it's not for the faint-hearted, and it can void your warranty). For some this will be a negative, but for many the idea of upgrading their Mac a few years down the line isn't something they'd even consider doing. Read more in: How to upgrade a Mac.
If you want to be able to customise your machine then a PC might be a better option, but many people just want a machine that works. Unfortunately, one of the negatives of upgrading a PC is the conflicts that arise and the issues faced when the required drivers are missing.
Speaking of drivers: on a Mac you can plug in a camera, printer or install software and it just works.
Macs have the best screens
Many might scoff at the idea of a Retina screen (after all isn't it just a HD display?), but Apple's range of laptops and iMacs boast some of the most stunning screens you'll see on the market right now.
The newly updated MacBook Pro and MacBook Air range also feature Apple's True Tone technology that match the colour temperature of the display to match lighting conditions in your surroundings. Pair that with the consistent performance in terms of high DPI display, as opposed to the various scaling issues we've experienced on high-end Windows laptop's and Retina-equipped Macs are crystal clear winners.
If things go wrong then it's reassuring to know that Apple offers various support and service options. Apple consistently ranks as one of the best for customer support. Most Apple products come with 90 days of complimentary phone support and a one-year limited warranty.
The support services offered by Apple include telephone support, support using online tools, and support at Apple Retail Stores where you can book an appointment with a Genius. There are also a number of Apple Authorised Service Providers who can help you with any issues you face.
In the end, a Mac is an electronic product, and it needs to justify its princely sum to the paying customer. This is, as they say, the bottom line. Thankfully the Mac has spent more than a decade at the top of customer satisfaction surveys, which is no mean feat when you consider that they are expensive items that promise much to the prospective buyer. The fact that Apple delivers the good, literally in many cases, is probably the most compelling argument of all, and shows that most people who purchase Macs have few, if any, regrets.
So that's it, our top ten reasons why we think Macs are better than PCs. Obviously many of you will have different opinions, which no doubt will be voiced in the comments below. Before we don the obligatory fire-retardant underwear, take a look at this list on our sister site Tech Advisor, which argues the case for the other side.
In the end great computers are just great computers, no matter what the brand. So if you find one that suits you, keep hold of it.