Is a Mac the right choice? Columnist provides checklist upon which to base decision

“A lot of Windows users are out there wondering: Is it OK to switch to a Mac? Will I die? Take it from a guy who has gone back and forth a few times between Macs and Windows PCs, and who now uses both: You won’t die. You can use Microsoft Office on a Mac, share files with Windows users and have a lot of fun with a machine that actually adds to your decor. If your wallet can handle it — a decent Mac will cost at least $1,000 — a Mac can be a joy to use,” writes Jon Fortt for Mercury News.

Fortt writes, “Here’s a quick checklist to see if a Mac might be for you. You might get a Mac if:

1. Style is important, and you want to “like” your computer.
2. You like to create things — music CDs, movies, photo albums, Web sites, magazines — and that’s the main reason why you’re getting a new computer.
3. Your price range is $1,000 — $2,000+.

Avoid a Mac if:

1. You have expensive, complex Windows software that you want to keep using.
2. You like to play the latest 3D games when they come out.
3. Your price range is $500 — $1,000.

As much as Apple tries to drive them into the mainstream, Macs are really specialty machines. They come with features like built-in FireWire high-speed cabling and wireless networking, and the iMac and eMac desktops come with built-in monitors. If you don’t need the FireWire or the networking, or if you’d rather have a less-expensive monitor, the Mac’s not for you.” Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yikes! This is what qualifies as advice on choosing between Mac and Windows? If you’re cheap, can’t wait a bit for the best games, and don’t care if you “like” the computer in which you just invested a large sum of money, get a Windows PC. If you’re not cheap, can wait a bit for the best games, and care if you “like” the computer in which you just invested a large sum of money, get a Mac? With no mention of the OS differences, user experience, and too much demeaning focus on “style,” Fortt really does a disservice to his readers with this article. We prefer to “like” the things we buy here at MacDailyNews. Do you?


  1. Why is every fscking Mac article based on what MS software it can run and how it “talks” well with MS OSes? FSCK MS!!! MS is not the end all be all and I work perfectly fine in this world without one iota of MS software on my Mac! Sure, I have to dumb down my Keynote presentations to send to lowly PowerPoint schlubs, so they can run them, but defining a Mac by how well it deals with MS crap is just plain stupid.

  2. First post: James – you are 100% correct. All of these brainwashed “journalists” think a Mac is only measured by how well it relates to lesser Microsoft OSes and programs. We don’t need your stinkin’ Miscrosoft!

  3. I think what the author is saying is “If all you want to use your computer for is email and surfing the web, then a $500 windows pc is all you need”. That is true. But many people on the other hand want to be creative. That is what a Mac is for.

  4. Well, this all depends on what the Mac is going to be used for. I for one would LOVE to own a Mac, but being a student right now and having just bought a car, there’s no way in hell I can afford one right now.

    You say that rating a Mac on how compatible it is with Windows is irrelevant to any review. This depends on what the individual is using the mac for. Let’s face it: most businesses use PCs. So if a person wants a Mac to do some work at home and then take the files with them to the office, it has to be compatible. I haven’t used Macs enough to make a judgement about how compatible the two are, but this is the concern that I’ve heard from many people regarding Macs. Personally for me, I don’t think compatibility would be an issue. The only thing like you mentioned would be the Powerpoint thing. OH I’ve always wondered about this: If you save, say, a Word document on a Mac onto a floppy, can you read the floppy in a PC?

  5. I recently posted this as feedback to a couple of posts about the quality of Mac ads. I asked for feedback/comments:

    <Begin>Here’s my idea for a good commercial.

    A middle-aged, attractive woman standing in front of an iMac at the Apple store with her husband. She says to her husband, “it sure is beautiful, but I heard that Macs don’t run most applications.”

    A young, geek-handsome apple store employee overhears her and steps in saying, “Actually, Macs run over 300,000 applications including Quicken and Quickbooks Pro, Adobe Photoshop, The Print Shop, Norton Anti-Virus, Personal Firewall, and DiskDoctor, and of course Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.”

    To which the lady says “You mean, I can work on Microsoft Word files on a Mac?”.

    Apple store guy, “Sure can.”

    At this point the wife looks at the husband. The husband looks back at her and says “That sounds pretty good to me.”

    Also, at this point you could have a young 12-14 year old boy be with the couple, and butt in, “What about games?”

    To which apple geek responds, “How’s Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4, Tiger Wood’s Golf, Unreal Tournament 2003, and NeverWinter Nights sound?”

    “Cool!” replies kid.

    Our lady looks at once more at her husband, looks at the computer, looks at Apple geek and says “One iMac please!”

    Show apple logo, or apple switch logo.

    This could be part of a “real-people” “real-uses” campaign that showed stereotypical types of users in Apple Stores getting their fears about the potential shortcomings of Macs being assuaged by attractive, competent, Apple employees.

    Interested to hear what people think about this. </begin>

    I didn’t really get much of a response. But it’s this type of person (who I think is REALLY reflective of MANY consumers) that I think this ad idea really speaks to.

  6. Hey JSplice:

    Mac’s with a floppy drive can read and write to PC formatted floppies (they can format floppies as PC Formatted as well). So the short answer is yes.

    Also, depending on what you want to use it for. You can buy a decent Mac for as little as $300-$400. Check out for up-to-date prices on cheap Macs.

  7. I dunno. I think the part about creating is right. People who use Windows, generally, (and don’t hang me on this), are consumers. Mac users are creator/producers. Doesn’t mean you can’t create something on a Windows machine at some point and watch something on a Mac. But that split and the percemtages probably define the Mac/Windows market share.

  8. In reply to Jeff:

    What kind of car did you buy? I have found that people are willing to spend more money on a certain style of car but are willing to only spend a little on the “Yugo equivalent” for a computer.

    I am the lone Mac in a sea of Windoze machines in my office and my cup overfloweth from the requests I get from other departments: “Can your Mac read this?” “Can you do this on your Mac? I can’t get it to work on my PC?” “Can you rework this PDF?”

    My point is I have BETTER compatability on sharing and using files than Windoze users do on a so-called peer-to-peer basis.

    And I agree with James. I have had to “dumb down” presentations as well to accomodate the mediocrity of PowerPoint and the mentality of its hobbyist users�usually the sales guys�not because, as they admit, the Keynote presenations and Quicktime movies are superior, but because it represents a lack of “control” on their part.

    Floppies???? As Homer Simpson would say, “Oh, the Internet runs on computers now.” If you have the need to run floppies, you will find that the Mac is better equipped (even though you will have to buy a third party reader�Macs haven’t used floppies in years) to read anything you can throw at it.

    One last note: It has been my experience that the Mac allows you to be creative by getting out of the way. You don’t waste a lot of effort like you do on a Windoze machine to do simple tasks. Therefore, the Mac is fun to use and stimulates that creativity. Probably accounts for why Wintel folks view their computer as pain-in-the-ass contraption that they can’t wait to get away from by the end of the day.

  9. Just to be clear: Macs don’t floppy disks, even though Macs popularized them. Apple doesn’t hang it’s users with outmoded legacy technology. Mac users move on. USB floppy drives are available for Mac for $29-$49 range. Work fine. Mas can READ/WRITE both Mac and PC floppies and CD’s. Windows PCs can only READ/WRITE PC formatted disks. Mac is more compatible than Wintel PCs.

  10. ‘rather have a less expensive monitor’

    When I bought my G4 over 3 years ago, I bought the best big monitor I could afford. This was a mitsubishi 19″ with the best reviews in magazines. I could have had a cheaper or a bigger monitor, but it would not have been nearly as good. Even PC magazines (or at least used to – I don’t know if they still do) advocate getting a really good monitor.

    Price premiums of Macs (and well built PCs) gets you good quality components.

    Even stuff like RAM. If it ain’t up to spec, the mac will just reject it. On a PC it’ll just carry on and might be the reason for frequent crashes.

  11. As I’ve said before (and got attacked for it), most PC users=Lemmings… Notice I said “most”, JSplice. Yes, Mac Word and PC Word formats are compatable.

    This sad excuse for a comparison will just serve to further convince the small furry critters that Macs are ONLY good for graphics types and are too expensive. They will still trash talk something that they know nothing about as they complain about the security problems, crashes, reinstalls, and viruses they put up with on a routine basis. Pathetic.

  12. I agree wholeheartedly with the original comment posted on this topic. I find my use for Office and the ability to “exchange” files with others to be less relevant every day. Any document worth viewing on the web is either browser render-able (Safari, of course) or PDF. When I exchange documents with my friends and co-workers, it’s either RTF or CSV (read: Word or Excel for you Wintel numskulls). Then we can all use whatever apps we want no matter what platform or software we use.

    Remember, folks, the CONTENT/DATA is what’s important here. Not the proprietary format. If someone is stupid enough to send me a Word 14 document (or whatever assinine version they’re on now), I simply tell them to save it as “RTF” and resend it. “RTF, what’s that?” they usually say as drool drips off their dazed chins.

    So here we are with yet another unqualified idiot writing for the Mercury-News and spilling misinformation and ill-conceived advice. What’s new? The real dummies out there aren’t the writers. No, the “editors” are the ones to blame. I mean, any monkey can blindly punch the keyboard long enough to produce this tripe. Somebody else actually had to read in and decide to publish it!

  13. Atomic bomb, excellent point about the importance of data over the wrapper.

    But please keep this in mind. You are talking about the experience of using the computer (whatever computer it is) after it’s been purchased. I don’t have any doubt that once someone is using Mac OS X as their personal OS that they’re going to love it. But you’ve got to get them using it first!!!

    This guy is talking about whether or not to get a x86 PC or an Apple PC. And his concerns outline the concerns of every person I’ve successfully or unsuccessfully steered to the Mac. They are all afraid that Apples are over-priced, and aren’t going to run Word or the Internet. All of them. Everyone. Period.

    If we all want Apple to thrive we have to constantly preach that there are cheap Apples, they run super great, they don’t get viruses, and they can run Word and the Internet. I don’t care how gross this seems, how banal it truly is, it must be the gospel. Cheap, no-crash, no-virus, Word, internet. Cheap, no-crash, no-virus, Word, internet…

    Somebody shoot me now ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.