Apple vs. Windows: Computer owners just want to know what works best for them

Brian Allen

The debate between Apple and Microsoft can be heard on TV, on the Internet and amongst friends. Washburn does not endorse one over the other. Both systems are widely used across campus for various uses, but there are several factors for consumers to consider when choosing between the two..

Shawn Garman, a technology support tech for Information Systems and Services and Aaron Hall, a computer service tech for the College of Arts and Sciences explained the differences, advantages and disadvantages between Apple and Windows, and expressed their personal opinions.

One advantage to Windows is that it is everywhere, it is a long-established and well-supported system. Software of every imaginable type is available for it. Its large market share attracts more support and hardware options. Windows is taught in high schools and colleges so a lot of users are familiar with it.

“The wide variety of Windows support is a blessing and a curse,” said Hall. “You can buy specialty high end and inexpensive hardware. But the hardware, and software, is made by people different than who made the system. So there are more opportunities for glitches and errors.”

“Viruses are the greatest and most well known disadvantage to Windows,” said Garman.

Windows is a large and complex target so hackers are always going through their code. Proper maintenance of the system can prevent most problems.

The advantage of Mac is that they produce both the computer and proprietary software like Apple OS 10. But that means only one company is making your hardware and Apple only produces a limited number of models within a limited price range. “The software and hardware work very well together,” said Hall. “You don’t have driver glitches very often, you don’t have weird flakiness that is difficult to track down, or hardware issues because the same company that makes the hardware makes the software.”

New Macs come with bundled software. Besides the operating system you get a good built in browser, e-mail client, photo software as well as music playing, recording and editing software. Some of these things come with Windows but it depends who you buy your machine from and the quality varies.

People who are concerned about price will probably do better buying a Windows machine.

“Apple really doesn’t have a low end, they have a mid to upper range,” said Garman. “At the mid-range level and up there are comparable systems on both sides.”

These days the electronics used by both are remarkably similar to what you would find in a standard PC. They are so similar that Apple actually advertises that you can run Windows on an Apple product.

“For students here on campus, if you are in business classes you will find professors demonstrating things in Windows Office,” said Garman. “For them Windows is a better system. It is a business class machine; it’s what people will be working with in the office environment.”

There are exceptions, but traditionally the creative arts have been a Mac dominated field. It handles graphic design, web design, music and publications well. When it comes time to purchase a system you just have to make the feature and price decision yourself.

“Use what you think is best,” said Hall. “If you really want to use one over the other, in most cases there is no reason not to do that. Buy from an established manufacturer where you can get a good warranty and good technical support. If you have no other way to make a choice about the two, it’s not a question of type or price and you just don’t have the expertise, use what your friends use because you are going to go to them for support.”

“If you are a gamer, Windows is the way to go,” Garman added.

Washburn ISS does provide services to help keep both systems up and running for students. For greater details and their recommendations to faculty and students visit the Technology Support page on My Washburn.