Limitations of a Mac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Bigtyme07, Apr 27, 2017.

  1. Bigtyme07 macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2016
    So I'm interested in jumping on board the Apple train when the next macbook pro comes out but I'm interested in knowing what the software limitations are as far as going from a PC where there's software for literally everything versus a mac. For example, I know on excel for mac people have been talking about how there's certain functions you aren't able to do and what not. Please let me know! Thanks
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    That depends what you're going to use your Mac for, really; 'limitations' go both ways. For instance if you're thinking of using FCPX/LPX, then Windows is 'limited' in that regard as those Pro Apps are only available for macOS.

    If you can advise what you'll be using your Mac for and what sort of applications you currently use on Windows, that should ensure our answer is a little more helpful for you. :)
  3. Bigtyme07 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2016
    That's the thing, I'm always doing something different. I like writing music and dj'ing so I know a mac can do that since they seem to be the industry standard, I want to get into coding as well but I've always wanted to try out CAD software and eventually I'd like to run my own business. I don't know if that helps at all
  4. jerryk, Apr 27, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2017

    jerryk macrumors 601

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    You can definitely get what every you need to code on a mac. But, CAD software might be an issue. Also, Mac notebooks are limited in performance compared to more powerful Dell and other workstation level notebooks. Maybe you need two devices?

    Personally I use two system. I use my MacBook Pro for development on the go, presentations, etc. Here being relatively, light weight is important.

    But I use my Windows 10 deskside systems for video, audio, and other media production, because we standardized on Adobe, and for heavy duty development because I need NVidia's CUDA for the work I do. I also need big monitors versus portability. And the Windows deskside systems are easily, and cheaply, up-gradable with off the shelf products I can buy on Amazon or where ever.
  5. tshrimp macrumors 6502


    Mar 30, 2012
    This is a difficult question. As keysofanxiety said it depends on what you will be looking to do. I love mac, but I also admit it is more common to have my mac and need a pc then the other way around. You mention Excel...It is not as good on the Mac, and probably never will be since it is made by Microsoft. But much of what you need might be addressable if you use Parallels, VMWare, or Boot Camp.

    There will be some things you will need to get use to. Example. There is no dedicated delete key (you use fn+backspace). There is no dedicated Home or End key. If you get the touch bar the esc key is not physical, but on the touch bar, so if you use that by feel you may have an issue with that. There is currently a non touch version though.

    IMO the older Retina was great marketing more than a great screen (many same priced pc were better), but this latest generation (2016) is fantastic. The mouse just cannot be beat, and the new keyboard you will probably love it or hate it, so try it out first. Good luck with your search.
  6. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    "You mention Excel...It is not as good on the Mac, and probably never will be since it is made by Microsoft."

    Ummm.... seems to me that Excel originally debuted on the Mac, back when there was no "Windows" yet at all. Or is my memory faulty?
  7. jerryk macrumors 601

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    True, but none of that code survived the 90s. Powerpoint also started on the Mac, but the entire code base was rewritten from scratch in the 90s on Windows systems.
  8. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    That's a bit all over the place.

    I work with CAD for a living (mech engineer, worked with SolidWorks, Solid Edge, Inventor, Pro-E and AutoCAD). Honestly, the mac offering is quite poor in that department. And I'll take a Windows workstation with a meaty GPU and lots of memory all day every day over a Mac for that.

    For the rest, I prefer the Mac workflow, but that's all it is, a preference. There's nothing I do on a computer (apart from CAD) that would be limited by using either platform.

    You can always use bootcamp or virtualization to run windows on your Mac and then it becomes a moot point.
  9. Mr. Dee macrumors 68020

    Mr. Dee

    Dec 4, 2003
    I have been a Windows user since the outset and still primarily use it as a personal and professional preference. That said, a Mac can pretty much do everything a Windows box can. The Mac is really about the user experience, a different, interesting and fun way to do things. There are some small things I like about it and this primarily due to hardware plus software. The touch pad gestures in macOS are superb, but if you own a premium Windows 10 with a precision touchpad, the new Creators Update offers some cool gestures too.

    I prefer the macOS implementation of multiple desktops, partitioning, sleep and wake is super fast, amazing battery life, Spotlight search. Even tasks like batch editing a set of photos to resize them or preview a set of files and photos. On the other hand, Windows 10 does a better job at snapping windows.

    As for Office productivity, I think industry hype has created a the Windows version of Office is better and this is technically true if you are doing a feature for feature comparison. For the average user though, Office for Mac is more than enough, even the bundled iWork apps are more than enough. Many years ago, I thought that you needed to have Office Professional edition because it included Access and Publisher, yet I rarely used both.

    Another thing, you don't need to have the Mac with the most bells and whistles either. If you are curious about the platform and would like to own a Mac, consider an entry level model, preferably refurbished to save you some cash. Once you own one these days, you pretty much own them all.
  10. robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
    Technically it was called Multiplan for the first few versions that ran on DOS
  11. Simone.m macrumors newbie


    Nov 5, 2014
    Venice, Italy
    My 2 cents: Mac for coding, generic use, video/audio editing.
    PC for CAD and Office
  12. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    For office, virtualbox, windows, office is a viable option. They are 2D programs that work fine in a VM.
  13. chabig macrumors 603

    Sep 6, 2002
    And all of that software runs on a Mac too! For any rare occasions where you can't find a Mac solution, you can always just run what you want in Windows, Linux, etc. through the use of virtualization.
  14. Spudlicious macrumors 6502


    Nov 21, 2015
    Bedfordshire, England
    Indeed so. I was unaware until I read the Steve Jobs bio by Walter Isaacson (recommended) that Word and Excel were originally written for the 1984 Macintosh, because I never heard of Word until Windows was beginning to get a grip.
  15. jerryk, Apr 27, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2017

    jerryk macrumors 601

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    If you think about it, it makes sense. In the 80s/90s most people used a CRT type interface, like in the mac terminal. The Mac was the first largely distributed system that supported a GUI. And even though developing on a Lisa and cross compiling for a Mac sucked, people did it because we liked the interface. And Window 1 and 2 where terrible. And then Windows 3.1, 95,... came out and the rest is history.
  16. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    I think you need to do your own homework: make a list of the key software you use and look for mac versions/equivalents. People here will be happy to answer questions about specific software or types of software, but you won't get useful replies to "tell me everything that's different".

    A quick Google will tell you the Windows Excel features missing from Excel for Mac (which may be completely irrelevant to you - Mac Excel does the basics fine) - the biggest thing to remember on the MS front is that there is no Access or Publisher for Mac (other DTP and database software is available).

    As people have mentioned: you can use Parallels, VMWare Fusion or Oracle Virtualbox to run Windows in a virtual machine. Bear in mind, however, that you will need to buy a full copy of Windows for that. Its pretty effective - even up to light gaming - and Parallels & Fusion integrate nicely with MacOS - and is the perfect solution for that odd program keeping you tied to Windows. Or you can use BootCamp to dual boot and run Windows "natively" for full performance, but if it turns out that the primary software you use every day needs to run on Windows, get a Windows machine!

    There's a lot of excellent Mac software out there - so it also depends on whether you are "tied" to specific products by your work/clients.
  17. ZapNZs, Apr 27, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2017

    ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    They can do just about anything, even when you need a Windows version of something, provided one is OK with virtualizing or dual booting. Certain business class software is still Windows only, although I find these are more niche products than they are common business class software. For example, Autonomy HP's TeleForm and certain SQL add-ons Liquid Office, or ABBYY's FlexiCapture Professional. Certain SQL implementations may require a specific OS that may be more likely to be Windows-based.

    I have Windows 10, Windows 2012r, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows 98SE, Windows 4.0 NT, Windows 1, Ubuntu, Kali Linux, Red Hat, OS X 10.12, OS X 10.11, OS X 10.10, OS X 10.9, OS X 10.8, OS X 10.7, OS X 10.6 Server, and several other OS' I am forgetting on my Mac. Some for work and some for pure amusement! :p

    The quality of Mac vs. Windows Office seems to shift. I thought Office for Mac 2011 was far superior to Office 2010 for Windows, although I can't say I have a strong preference one way or another for either current version. And from the Windows side, I thought 2007 was superior to 2011/13/16 and still use the 2007 version of Vizio as I strongly disliked what came after. And speaking of Visio, that is one limitation you will have without putting Windows on a Mac unless they recently released a Mac version of it. BUT, OmniGraffle (Mac-only software) is IMO superior anyway. Access is another you may need an open-source alternative to (not sure if there is for Mac?)
  18. ErikGrim macrumors 601


    Jun 20, 2003
    Brisbane, Australia
    Funny. I have trouble finding the software I need for Windows. Can't even find a decent Twitter client ffs.
  19. CreatorCode macrumors regular


    Apr 15, 2015
    Multiplan was a different spreadsheet product; it began on DOS and was ported to the Macintosh. Excel was a ground-up Macintosh spreadsheet that was ported to Windows (never DOS.)
  20. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    They're actually a bunch of them - google is your friend.

    I found this article fairly easily rating the twitter clients and the first one on the list was an app from twitter itself.
  21. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    I've been both PC and mac since 2009, PC before that ; there's really not much you can't do with a Mac.

    In fact, as a home user, i'd say you're better off with the Mac, as there's plenty of good quality software available on the app store for cheap, and the OS already comes with the iLife/iWork applications which are good enough for home user stuff and easy to use.

    I feel the Mac ecosystem is actually superior software wise unless you're trying to do business/enterprise stuff.
  22. smallcoffee macrumors 68000

    Oct 15, 2014
    North America
    As others have mentioned, it depends.

    It's limited for gaming, for example, because of GPU solutions in their desktop class computers, and because developers don't want to develop for two platforms (MacOS and Windows). This can be worked around, with a Windows partition or with Wine. I ran into this issue with Skyrim myself.

    There are issues with some software, Autocad was one that came to mind. Typically, "industry" tools will be less available on Mac than Windows. The notable exception here is software. Unless you're developing .net/Windows-specific solutions Mac is vastly superior.

    Ultimately, you should identify what your needs are, then go from there.
  23. RUGERMAN macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2010
    Not true, Excel debut was on the Mac in 1985 I had it and used it and it was much better than Lotus 123 which was the standard on DOS. I remember reading a review say that Excel was worth buying a Mac to run.
    I also used MultiPlan for a while. Different program.
  24. Fancuku macrumors 65816


    Oct 8, 2015
    PA, USA
    AutoCAD is available for Mac. There is another really good 3D CAD/CAM software from Autodesk called Fusion 360 that is available for Mac. These are the only two major CAD software that have Mac versions that I know.
  25. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    "Available" and "feature complete vs. the PC version" are not necessarily the same thing.

    I showed fusion to a friend who uses inventor on the PC, he wasn't particularly impressed.

    But yeah for general "stuff" the Mac software library is generally superior, especially for the cost. Applications like Affinity Photo just aren't anywhere near the price on Windows.

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