Please help me understand some Mac basics.

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by elmuchoprez, Jan 14, 2007.

  1. elmuchoprez macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2007
    Obviously, I don't know much about Macs (or computers in general frankly). I would very much appreciate anyone who could comment on some of the questions I've posed below. I'm just trying to get a basic understanding of the Mac/PC debate.


    In the PC world, hardware and software are compiled by many different companies (largely led by Microsoft), and the end product is essentially created by plugging these various pieces of hardware and software together. My impression is that Macs do not work quite like this. The way I understand it, Apple creates the hardware and the software for a Mac. Is this correct?

    I have been told that Macs are not as easy to upgrade as most PC’s. Is this true?

    The generic perception among non-techs like myself is that: PC’s are better for math and business applications, Macs are better for artistic stuff. I’m sure this is a huge generalization, but could anyone comment on the truth of this statement?

    I’ve also heard that because PC has a substantially larger market share, there is simply a larger selection of software available for the PC world. Is this true?
  2. grapes911 Moderator emeritus


    Jul 28, 2003
    Citizens Bank Park
    If by software you mean the Operating System, then yes. Other companies do make software for Macs though.

    Not always, but this is generally true.

    In my opinion, Macs are better at everything except gaming. And this is only true because many PC games are not released for the Mac platform. PCs have some advantages in other areas too, but Macs can generally do anything a PC can.

    Yes, but just because PCs have 100s of programs that do one particular function, doesn't mean that Macs don't have at least 1 program that does that same function. There is very little, if anything, that a PC can do that a Mac can't.
  3. Queso macrumors G4

    Mar 4, 2006
    Apple creates the hardware, the operating system and a number of applications for the Mac, but other companies including Microsoft also write applications. The only real difference from the PC is that Microsoft writes Windows and a company like HP or Dell will make the hardware. Only Apple make Macs, and Apple also write OSX.
    For most Mac models currently on the market yes. The top of the range iMac and MacPro models are the only ones which allow you to upgrade your graphics cards for example. Also, you can't just buy a new motherboard for a Mac and swap out your existing one like you can on a PC. You can, however, easily upgrade the memory and hard disk on most Mac models.

    There are quite a large number of Mac business apps available, but there are gaps in some of the "standard" applications used by business that have been filled by other companies. For example, there is no Microsoft Project for the Mac, but there are Merlin and Omniplan, which perform the same job.

    The smaller market share tends to mean that only the "best of breed" Windows software makes it to the Mac, although there are also a growing number of applications which are Mac-only. There aren't many categories of software where you can't find a Mac solution, and when you can't it tends to be for something very specialised.
  4. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    OS? yes, others, not necessary
    hardware? yes, its mostly the issue of compatibility
    no, only real issue is if the software is available for the platform,
    yes. obviously, market rule, thats the way it is. but major software producers in US probably do better in considering mac platform, like MS, Adobe, etc.
  5. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    Let's see if I can help a bit:

    Only partially; with Windows Microsoft creates the OS and a number of major applications for it (Office, WMP, etc), but they don't have anything to do with the computer hardware that runs the OS. They do produce some peripherals (mice, keyboards, the Zune, for example), but so do many other companies.

    In comparison, on the Mac, Apple also makes the OS and several major applications for it (iLife, for example), but Apple is also the only computer hardware manufacturer--the only computers that (legitimately) run OSX are built by Apple. On the negative side, this reduces your choice and generally makes the hardware a little more expensive (or, more accurately, doesn't give you the option of buying a budget PC; if you're comparing A to A hardware, Apple's stuff isn't any more expensive); on the positive side, it means that Apple knows pretty much exactly what's going on with the hardware OSX runs on, so there are never any issues with downloading appropriate drivers for your motherboard chipset or that kind of thing.

    As for peripherals and additional applications, there is a somewhat smaller selection of things that are compatible with a Mac, but there's still PLENTY to choose from--there are hundreds, if not thousands, of hardware products that are Mac compatible (ALL monitors, ALL hard drives, most mice and keyboards, most printers, most scanners, pretty much all cameras, etc). Not EVERYTHING is, but still plenty to choose from. Likewise there are thousands of applications that run natively on the Mac--some Mac only, some that also have a Windows version. Check a site like for examples.

    Yes, but it depends on what PC you're talking about--there are PCs that aren't very easy to upgrade, too. The most common upgrades, fortunately (larger hard drives, more RAM) are just as easy except with the Mini, which is hard to get into.

    Personally, for *most* cases, I think that's a misconception. The exception is Quickbooks and friends and some of the high-end tax software; there's a version of Quickbooks that runs on Macs as well as a few competitors, and some tax packages that do as well, but the selection is somewhat more limited. Most of the big business back-end packages also don't run natively.

    As for "math," not so sure about that; most of the major mathematics and statistics packages I'm aware of run on both Windows and OSX, so I don't think there's much difference. SolidWorks and a couple of the other major CAD apps like that don't run natively, but VectorWorks does, and there are a couple of others.

    Unless you're looking to run very specialized business applications, I don't think it's likely to be an issue--for most "everyday" stuff there's no big difference. If you meant that the *hardware* was better for one or the other, no. The only difference is most Macs come with somewhat more AV stuff built in than a budget PC--otherwise, the hardware is essentially identical.

    Yes. But in most cases, it doesn't matter. The thing is, if I'm looking for, say, a video compression application, there are more of them available on Windows than for OSX. But OSX has several good ones, so it doesn't really matter--there are apps that do what I need, so it doesn't matter if the selection is slightly smaller.

    Same with, say, video editing. Yes, there are more available for Windows. But frankly, iMovie does just about everything most people want, and does it better, and if that's not enough there's Final Cut Express or Pro, so most Mac users don't care.

    Further, depending on who you ask, the shareware and freeware available for OSX tends to have a higher standard for ease of use and attractiveness, so I think in many cases (of course not all) OSX has better options available, even if there are fewer in number.
  6. emptyCup macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2005
    Because Macs run Mac programs, Windows programs and Unix programs that is no longer true. In fact, the reverse is true. Even before Macs were capable of running Windows I am not sure that was true. Many older programs no longer exist and would not run under the current version of Windows if they did.

    PC's run more games than Macs, and there are some specialized programs for certain industries that only run under Windows. As long as you are not an architect, or plan to use Word Star, you will be fine. Most of the people who make the above statement only run Office anyway. It came out for the Mac first.
  7. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    lol, to finish any task, there are 3-5 times more softwares for windows than for Mac OSX.
    but u are right, if OP is going to buy a intel mac, he can always get a windows installed.

Share This Page