How to Switch Part Four: Mac Hardware Benefits and Purchasing

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Jan
20

By: switchtoamac at: 1:30 PM on January 20, 2006 | Comments (2)

Deciding to purchase a new computer is a much easier task than deciding on the specific model to buy. The task can be so daunting in the PC world because there are so many different processors (Intel vs. AMD), processor specifications, RAM types and speeds, video cards, configurations, features, manufacturers, and installed software to name a few. If a newly purchased Windows based computer doesn't come pre-installed with an Anti-Virus and/or security suite, the system is better off removed from the Internet. It will only take a few minutes before an unprotected Windows system is compromised. There is an emerging trend towards the exploitation of new and unprotected Windows-based computers connected to the Internet. This is caused by numerous issues:
  • Windows default installations and configurations are insecure
  • By the time a Windows system is purchased by a consumer, new security vulnerabilities, viruses, worms, Trojans, Spyware, malware, and malicious code will likely have emerged since the computer was manufactured. The system will be vulnerable despite having an anti-virus program pre-installed.
  • Attackers and hackers regularly scan the common broadband and dial-up IP address ranges looking for vulnerable systems.
  • The Internet is circulating with worms and other exploits that are continuously scanning for vulnerable and new computers to exploit.

Mac OS X - a more secure operating system
The time to exploit an unprotected Windows computer connected to the Internet is often measured in minutes. This is especially true for broadband users. It is entirely possible for Windows users to get exploited through a vulnerability when they are downloading a software patch/fix/update for that vulnerability. Macs don't suffer from this problem. as there are no known viruses or spyware that are able to infect a Mac running the OS X operating system.   That doesn't mean that Mac OS X or the applications running on it are completely secure or immune from exploitation it's just that Mac OS X is a far more modern and secure operating system than Windows.  Mac OS X ships with a UNIX-based firewall so all you have to do is simply enable it prior to connecting a Mac to the Internet.  Once the firewall is enabled and optionally configured with more advanced settings, you'll know that your Mac is safe. You can then feel safe downloading any OS X or Mac application updates.  Some Mac owners will purchase additional software to protect their systems.  For example, Intego sells a range of security software (including antivirus) for Mac OS X and Symantec sells software under the Norton brand.

When you buy a Windows system, you're essentially getting a PC kit with components from several different third party vendors. When something goes wrong with the system, you're likely to have to engage those third party component vendors especially if your manufacturer's warranty has expired. Often you'll be faced with a situation where a vendor will blame another vendor for the problem. Another common problem is the need to download and install the third-party's latest firmware or driver.  The installation can lead to many unforeseen problems. in Windows.  In many cases, you're often left in the dark and will have to figure out the solution on your own.  Then there's the issue of Windows version updates.  As the Vista experience demonstrated, many vendors struggled to create Vista capable drivers for their hardware that caused numerous hardware and compatibility issues on PCs.

Macs owners do not face this problem because the operating system and hardware are designed, built, and engineered by Apple.  The  esign process undertaken by Apple ensures that components that ship with a Mac work seamlessly with the Mac OS X operating system.  Apple designed OS X to work with their hardware, whereas Microsoft designed the Windows operating system to work in a "generic" fashion that various third party vendors have to comply with.

Buying and using a Mac - a great experience

Buying a Mac is a much simpler undertaking when compared to purchasing a Windows-based PC.  Not only that, setting up and using a Macintosh is a easy and fairly straightforward. Take a Mac out-of-the-box, plug it in, complete the Setup Assistant, enable OS X's built-in firewall, download updates with Software Update, and start enjoying your Mac. With Apple, everything works together with ease. Consequently, Apple stands behind their products with great support and customer service.  When something doesn't work, you only have to work with Apple, not numerous third party vendors.  In fact, Apple ranks near the top amongst vendors in repair history and tech support.  Be sure to read the post titled "Apple's End-To-End Model Leads to Innovation and User Experience"

Apple's vision towards ease of use that drives great hardware and software engineering have made choosing a Macintosh computer a relatively easy task. For consumers, Apple has fewer models compared to their PC competitors.  Of course, Macs have historically been more expensive than Windows systems but you're paying for that seamless integration, stability, ease of use, and quality engineering. The introduction of the Mac mini in January 2005 lowered the cost barrier and is geared towards first time Mac users and switchers.

Apple computers are relatively easy to purchase and configure to suit any consumer's needs. Based on the type of user, (read the How to Switch Part Three article titled, What Kind Of User Are You?) a consumer will be able to zero in on the type of Mac that will suit his or her needs. This makes the selection process simple, you choose the system based on your user profile and either choose a preconfigured system or a custom-to-order (CTO) system customized to fit your needs.  Be sure to read Part Eleven in the How to Switch series, Buying a Mac - Tips and Advice for a tips on how to go about purchasing a Mac.  It also describes how you can take advantage of discounts.

Think about purchasing a Windows based system. You have to compare systems from the same and competing vendors. This is a difficult task because there is no way to conduct an effective or level comparison. Vendor A may have a faster processor but less and slower RAM, whereas Vendor B may have a somewhat slower processor but more and faster RAM, as well as a larger hard drive. This is where Macs have an advantage, identify your user type then narrow in on the Mac models based on how you use (or intend to use) a computer.  A Mac can be purchased from the online Apple Store, an Apple Retail Store, or from Apple authorized resellers such as Amazon.  This makes it that much easier for those who are interested in making the switch to purchase a Mac.  Buyers have a much easier time narrowing in on a system to suit their computing needs.

Updates
  • July 24, 2006 - Content revision
  • April 11, 2009 - Content revision
  • April 13, 2009 - Content revision
  • May 7, 2009 - Corrected typos

2 Reader Comments

Nice post, thanks for information. I'm considering the swith and found this to be a great help.

"Macs owners do not face this problem because the operating system and hardware are designed, built, and engineered by Apple."

That may have been the case once, but Macs are built in Asia now from stock standard OEM components just like every other PC.

Designed in California, built in Asia.

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