Getting to the bottom of common misconceptions about the Apple family
We’ve all heard the stories about Macs, and I’ll admit that, before I started to work on the Apple platform, I had a lot of preconceptions about them myself. The problem is that these stories are, more often than not, complete myths.
In the spirit of fairness and honesty, I’ve decided it’s time to get to the bottom of the rumours. Here are seven of the most common Mac preconceptions customers come to us with (and the truth about what you really get for your money).
1) You can’t run Microsoft Office on a Mac
Completely false. It’s a little-known fact that there’s actually a dedicated version of Microsoft Office for Mac (in fact, it’s been around longer than the Windows version). The Mac version does everything that the Windows version does, it includes Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Outlook, and all of them are completely compatible with their PC counterparts – .doc/.docx/.xls/.xlsx are all supported. You can even access Microsoft Web Apps for working online from anywhere, and there’s the ability to broadcast slideshows from PowerPoint, making them viewable by anyone on any device with an internet connection. Get in touch with us to find out more about the different options available.
2) Macs cost more than PCs
I’m going to be upfront about something because there’s no denying it: while the cheapest MacBook Pro is £825, you can pick up a Dell for around £400. Half the price?! So why on earth would anyone ever consider going for a Mac?
Well, it depends whether you want your IT to last or not… Get a PC laptop and it’s going to last you three to four years, tops. That might sound presumptuous, but in my experience, PCs aren’t made to last – first, you’ll find yourself having to replace the battery after one year for an extra 70-plus quid (even Dell admit there’ll be a performance drop-off within 18 months), and after two to three years, the machine will be so unbearably sluggish that you’ll want to throw it out the window. At that point, you’ll likely find yourself replacing it with a newer model for another £400. And so begins a neverending cycle. In the meantime, that outlandish Mac you bought for your design team five or six years ago keeps chugging along.
This isn’t fool-proof, of course, because there are reliable PC laptops out there, but more often than not, when comparing those to a Mac, it’ll be the Mac that comes out cheaper in the first place. And that’s without touching on the price of software updates and operating system upgrades, which are both vastly cheaper on a Mac.
3) You can’t run Windows on a Mac
We’ve all seen the adverts from a few years ago pitting the Mac against the stuffy PC. They’re completely separate things, right? It would be unthinkable for Windows to run on a Mac? Wrong.
Mac OS X has a built-in tool that goes by the name of Boot Camp. This sits somewhere in your system and, should you wish to, lets you load up Windows rather than OS X when you first turn on the machine. Granted you have to buy a Windows licence to be able to use Windows applications (and remain out of jail…), but when you get the benefit of two platforms on one machine, it’s not something to be scoffed at. Alternatively, if you want to literally run Windows and OS X apps side-byside within the Mac environment, or are a fan of Linux, tools such as VMware Fusion and Parallels Desktop can be used instead of Boot Camp.
4) Macs can’t be integrated into Windows networks
You hear all sorts of horror stories here – from the need to run completely separate Mac and Windows networks, to duplicated, greyed-out ghost files that randomly appear on your servers. On the simplest level, OS X has built-in support for the latest version of Microsoft Exchange Server and virtually all email services and providers. But from an IT management point of view, tools such as Centrify DirectControl and GroupLogic ExtremeZ-IP now let you treat Macs as if they were PCs on your Windows infrastructure, and give Macs access to Windows file servers. Basically, Macs and PCs can run alongside each other in complete harmony.
5) Macs are only more secure because there are less of them
This one is partly true, but is increasingly less valid in a world where the Apple market share increases all the time. But on the whole there are fewer Apple computers than the hundreds of models of PC out there, and while hackers remain lazy, Mac will still have the edge.
From a technology point of view, though, Apple have historically trounced Windows; they are built on a UNIX foundation, which is known for its security and reliability, and integrate a Mach 3.0 microkernal and FreeBSD 5variant, helping to make them far harder to hijack. And while Windows is catching up by upping its security tech, it often requires the user to be more vigilant and responsive when it comes to installing updates and maintaining the system.
6) Macs have a steep learning curve
Right back to the days of the first GUI when they introduced the mouse, Apple have been finding new ways to make computing a simpler experience, so it’s no surprise that they’ve worked hard to make OS X accessible for all. From an end-user point of view, Apple’s OS gives you everything you need in a simple and straightforward layout, hiding away much of what you don’t use – what would ordinarily take three or four clicks on Windows takes one or two on a Mac. But Apple have also worked hard to make the entire experience of using their devices easier. Through the likes of iCloud and centralised Apple accounts, all of a user’s devices can be connected and synced for non-stop access to music, Reminders, video and more.
7) Macs are for graphic designers and 3D artists
If you’re not already convinced, let’s summarise:
– Macs have access to all-important business tools, and are easier to get to grips with
– Macs have a better residual value than cheaper PCs
– You can run both Windows, OS X and Linux side-by-side on a Mac
– You can manage Macs as if they were PCs on your existing network
– Macs are less likely to get clogged up with viruses
Now, that doesn’t sound like something just for creatives to me…