I’ve always thought that trying to compare Microsoft and Apple products to determine which one is overall better than the other to be really no different than asking if Coke is better than Pepsi, if Ford is better than Dodge or if Republicans are better than Democrats.
The whole concept of better is a purely subjective notion. Whichever is better is whichever one a given individual likes more, and that just comes down to a matter of taste. Given that, I think Apple products are generally far superior to Microsoft products.
The first thing for me is the hardware. Whereas Apple only has a handful of computer lines, there are staggering amounts of PC manufacturers and nearly infinite combinations of components that can be used. Apple software is built purely for Apple hardware. There’s a synergy there and far more time is required to make an operating system that can deal with whatever might be plugged into it. Apple products just work.
Then there’s the aesthetics of the hardware. Apple is at the forefront of computer design with the most beautiful machines on the market. Not only do they look good, but they feel good. Apple has always had the most incredible keyboards from the old Extended II made from 1987 to 1994, to the current generation of keys. I’m a transcriptionist as a side job and absolutely no keyboard comes close to the speed and ease of the current generation. They’re a dream to type on, and I’ve been using the one I currently own for nearly 10 years with no issues.
I remember the days of the old operating system, the “Classic” Mac OS, I started with System 7 and went all the way to the later iterations of System 9. It was honestly a mess. Constant crashes, some applications incompatible with others, terrible memory management, it was a total train wreck. Yet, it was still intuitive. To this day I need to constantly Google how to make Windows do what I want it to do, but even in my childhood before I had the internet I never had to read manuals or ask how to change some setting to make the Mac work how I wanted it to.
With the advent of OS X, life got infinitely better. Stable as a brick house with a UNIX-based operating system, OS X was raw power that I essentially never had any issues with that took more than an hour to solve. Not only did UNIX back OS X with amazing reliability, the Apple design team kept the tradition of ease of use. Even though OS X was wildly different from Classic, there was not really any learning curve.
As I got older, I started using more and more Windows products, in school and at home and from the get-go, it was a battle. The first Windows PC I owned ran XP, it survived about four months before completely dying. I was spending hours upon hours trying to figure out how to configure things the way I wanted. I use Windows 7 for gaming on a desktop PC and it still gives me trouble. To this day I cannot for the life of me make the screen stop timing out and turning off.
The one place Apple lacks in my mind is mobile. While OS X can be highly customized, iOS is incredibly restrictive and Apple clamps down on any user acting in any way they don’t want to. After three years with an iPhone I went Android and never looked back. To be fair, I’ve never used a Windows phone so I’m not really sure if I’d like them or not.
Choosing the best computer has always come down to a matter of personal preference. I grew up with Apple products and they’ve always worked for me. Plenty of my friends use Microsoft products and they can’t deal with Macs. I’m never surprised who comes out on top when it comes down to a matter of preference – 30 seconds listening to current popular music pretty much proves that there’s really no accounting for taste and if consumer preferences could be easily predicted and explained, companies wouldn’t be spending billions trying to figure out what people like and why.
editors note – see apposing view here