I received my first computer as a college graduation gift from my dad, and being the practical person that he was, he gave me a PC. I greatly appreciated this generous gift; however, it didn’t take me long to become frustrated with the non-ease of use when it came to graphic design. This was in the early 90’s, and after I landed my first job, where I worked on a Mac, I was quickly hooked. However, since then I have still used a PC at home, mainly b/c it’s more “family friendly,” though I'm sure many would disagree. I have to say, though, that Windows has come a long way since the days after my college graduation. You really can do just about anything on a PC that you can do on a Mac. Would I prefer to have a Mac? Most definitely! I plan on having one again someday. Especially because we are now a three-computer household, and I don’t have to worry about anyone else using my computer and getting confused or frustrated because they don’t “get” the Mac.
But for those of you out there who are looking and trying to decide between the two, where do you begin? There are a number of things you might want to consider.
Graphics and Sound
Apple has a long history of being the designer’s computer, thus they have focused on improving their handling of colors and fonts. On this factor alone, when comparing the Mac and PC, Mac definitely has the edge. For web design, the same results can be achieved on either platform, although it’s a good idea to test sites on both operating systems. Mac has a higher quality of sound as well, and some pretty cool music programs, so I would rate the Mac higher than the PC for musicians too.
Macs are set up with rock solid Linux based software that prevents changes from happening by accident, and with unchangeable programming that makes it close to impossible for curious users wanting to change the main functions of the computer. This definitely brings peace of mind, especially when it comes to viruses or programs being altered/deleted on your computer. For me, this gives Mac huge edge over the PC, not having to scramble so that you don't become a victim of the latest virus out there.
Ease of Use
Apple has always focused their OS on ease of use, and with each release introduces new features that improve upon the user experience. Macs integration from app to app allows for a clean workflow; but, it is true that Microsoft has greatly improved upon the user experience since the early days, and it has made a considerable difference for the PC user.
There has been a great deal of effort over the years to create a better connection between the two platforms. I can vouch for this, as in the early days, producing graphics on a PC was frustrating in comparison with the ease it took on the Mac. These days, when it comes to just creating graphics, there really isn’t that big of a difference; what I can create on the Mac, I can also create on the PC.
Macs are generally mentioned in the same sentence as graphic design because of their amazing graphics and font capabilities. Some may include ease of use as well, although I find them both easy to work on. The main drawback of the Apple used to be the price, but if you are on a budget, there is always the iMac, which is powerful enough for graphic design jobs. It is my belief that you would do just as well with a PC; however, Mac does have that edge I have been talking about, and something about using a Mac is just fun. Maybe that is the graphic designer in me. I have used a PC for years now, but Mac will always be my “first love.” In any case, be smart when shopping around, and you can get a powerful Mac for less. And of course, in the end, your creativity is the most important tool when it comes to the end result of your work.