By Andrew Gardner
If you’ve been watching television or surfing the Internet in the last few years, chances are you’ve come across the ongoing battle between giants Microsoft and Apple. Since I came to Kent State University in 2007, I’ve seen the amount of MacBook’s on campus literally triple. At first it was select students, mostly VCD and art majors. But then it seemed like everyone had one. From the MacBook Pro to the sleek MacBook Air, it seemed like they were everywhere. Computer labs that once had two or three in the front of the lab now have entire rows. Academic buildings now have them by their entrance doors, so the temptation to own one was stronger than ever.
This battle has been going on for years but has reached its peak as of the last three years or so. I remember going into BestBuy to look at laptops when I was drawn over to the Apple section. I remember it well; the special Apple area with the nice oak tables, the glossy white finish, the simple interface, and unfortunately the outrageous price tag. The Apple rep came up to me and told me all about Mac’s and why I absolutely had to own one. I didn’t end up getting one that day, but I was impressed.
This battle was close to being over a few years ago. In the late 1990s, Apple was close to extinction. It was lagging heavily in sales and was catering to a cult following at best. But then something happened that launched them into “major player.” That something is called the IPod. The IPod sold so well that it in turn raised computer sales.
So the question is should you buy a Mac? Well I guess it all depends on what you prefer. If you’re using your PC for gaming, for instance, I’d highly recommend a PC. A lot of games are for Windows only. On the other hand, if you are into graphic design and Web design, I like the applications you get with the Mac much better because they run smoother on a Mac.
One debate is price. This draws on the argument of quality verses quantity. A new MacBook will run you about $1,000. My computer is a Compaq desktop, and I paid $399 for it at Wal-Mart last Christmas. It came with Windows 7, a webcam, and Microsoft Office 2010; not a bad deal. Now would I rather have a brand new MacBook Pro? Of course! But, today, people keep their computers for an average of just four years (http://www.computerhope.com). In the next 12 years, the Apple buyer will have spent $3,000 compared to the $1,200 I spent if I stick with Compaq. That’s a difference of 1,800 dollars; that’s six car payments for me.
So in the end, if you have the money, Apple is a nice choice. They are well-built, easy to learn, and have some interesting applications and programs. But I’m going to stick with Microsoft. In this day and age, Apple and Microsoft should worry more about Google than fighting between themselves. Smartphones are doing more and more and are quickly stealing sales from both superpowers.
Andrew Gardner is a Senior, Applied Communication major and practicum student in the CCI Dean’s Office.