Mac or PC?

More recently we’ve all seen how successful Apple are with their products, they seem to always be creating new ideas and products ahead of other manufacturers.

In the world of IT, Apple has mostly been view as a nice to have, instead of a driven business reason to purchase their kit. However that is changing. More and more I see clients buying Apple kit, perhaps for its looks (design firms etc.) or perhaps because of the saturated phone and tablet market that Apple are quite clearly dominating.

Having visited someone recently who didn’t know a great deal about IT, they were always used to working with Microsoft Windows and for the first time, they were using Apple iMacs as it was company policy. They then went on to describe issues they were having and they had assumed that it was because Apple “isn’t designed for business use”. This got me thinking about writing this article as personally I suppose I’ve been through the same experience.

I corrected the client and pointed out it was more that they needed to review file sharing, backup, exchange configuration and so on. By the end of the meeting it was clear to the customer that they would have had the same issues whether they had used Apple or Microsoft.

Until about a year ago, I had never really touched an Apple Desktop / Notebook. I had used and iPhone and iPad which are great products, but the OSX world was something completely new to me. I decided to purchase a MacBook Pro with a nice Retina display for home use. The spec of the kit was great and the hardware itself as ever, is fantastic. The screen is unlike anything I’ve seen, and the solid-state drive, i7 processor and 8GB RAM makes this MacBook absolutely fly.

However when I got it home, I turned it on, began the “making it my own” process and suddenly I was in a foreign world where I didn’t know what to click, how to do basic things. Initially I was frustrated and even considered taking it back, but I thought I would give it longer as the iPhone and iPad are so well designed that there must be a reason why these MacBooks are so popular. I did just that, after a few weeks of tinkering about (and a whole lot of Googling!) I had managed to get my MacBook running like I wanted it. It was also clear in this time frame, and even to this day, that Apple do things differently. Just because buttons are in different places etc. doesn’t necessarily mean its bad, and some of the simple tasks actually take away some of the burden that you may find with a Windows OS. All in all I’m massively impressed with Apple and they have gone up in my view, and it’s really helped me to understand more about how these products can be easily integrated into a business environment.

So when some people reach a crossroads and are deciding between Apple and Microsoft, it’s not all that different now. Of course in the world of IT Support and Managed Services, Microsoft Technology is still the primary choice for most organisations, and is without doubt the most familiar software to most users, technical or not. But with some users having iPhones and iPads at home, this could potentially sway their decision towards Apple. In more recent times, BYOD (bring your own device) is a hot topic, and IT managers are looking for ways to allow this rule, but keep things secure and manageable. Technology such as VDI is perfect for this scenario and I only see that growing in the coming years.

I mainly use a Windows 8 laptop / VDI profile at work which runs really well in either environment. In the business world, the majority of 3rd party apps run perfectly or are heavily developed to run in Windows, such as MS Office (of course). There appears to be alternatives for software developed for Mac which in my opinion are usually a little behind but then things like Photoshop are the opposite, they actually run better and can take advantage of things like a Retina display!

Windows 8 is very good and having upgraded a machine from 7 to 8 with no additional hardware, it seems to run faster. Arguably a format and reload always speeds up an OS but overall Windows 8 is very good and due to this OS being the choice for Manufacturers such as HP and Dell, it’s clearly going to be a long before anyone competes at this level, if at all.

So my advice for you when making your choice, write down your key reasons why you think you want one or the other, then speak to your IT consultant and ask them what they think. It’s these people, like me, who will consider things like applications, network backbone, security (such as AV) and help you to make right choice for now and the future.

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