Both PC and Mac systems offer a great computing experience that has become more similar than dissimilar. There are still certain advantages and disadvantages to each that can matter though, depending on how the system is used. Macs are generally more secure, but they tend to be much more expensive. Additionally, there is a wider variety of software for PCs, especially for business use, but Macs have excellent audio and video capabilities.
One of the biggest deciding factors for people in buying a Mac or a PC is the price. Macs are generally much more expensive than PCs, in some cases costing up to twice as much for a comparable computer. This is offset in some models by higher quality parts, but can make a Mac not worth it if you only need to do basic computing.
Another big difference between Macs and PCs is the degree of security. PCs are generally more prone to viruses and malware, since more people use them, making them a potentially more profitable target for hackers. Though newer versions of Windows have better security than older ones like Windows 98 or Windows XP, they are still generally more at risk than Macs. Both operating systems are vulnerable to online attacks.
Historically, there has been much more software for PCs than Macs. This is less of an issue with modern Macs, because there are emulators available that allow many pieces of PC software to run on a Mac without any modification. Software availability remains somewhat of an issue, however, since Apple is very careful about what programs and apps it allows to run on its products. This means that though the software that is available for Macs is generally high quality and reliable, there's not as much of a variety of programs as there is for Windows.
Macs traditionally appear in creative industries, so a large amount of professional editing software is available for them, making them a good fit for graphic designers and people in similar industries. PCs have found widespread use in office and business settings and have a range of enterprise-level productivity applications available. In terms of Internet use, most web browsers and web-based applications like email are available through any computer or mobile device, so the operating system does not matter.
Despite their software limitations, Macs are well suited for many types of entertainment. They have built-in software and hardware features that allow synchronization with mobile devices and online websites for music or movies. PCs are the dominant platform for gaming because of the powerful graphics cards that are available. A PC emulator is not normally able to run games designed for another system.
A modern PC and Mac both use very similar hardware. The same companies produce the Central Processing Unit (CPU), Random Access Memory (RAM) chips, and the hard drives for the majority of systems that are available. The hardware combination in Macs is standardized, so that there is very little variance between different tiers of systems. PCs do not have a standardized hardware configuration and some minor components could come from generic manufacturers. Both are equally fast and have comparable storage capabilities depending on the model chosen.
Design and Culture
Macs are generally considered to have a better design than PCs, with most models having very smooth, modern looks. There are some comparable PC designs, however, and there is a much wider variety of looks than for Macs, which tend to all have the same aesthetic. This is because Microsoft licenses many different companies to make PCs, so there are many more available designs.
Along with their distinctive look, Macs are also associated with a particular culture that is seen as urban, cool, and innovative. Many Mac users report being extremely pleased with their devices, and enjoy participating in the culture that comes along with having the computer. Though many report a period of adjustment when they first change from a PC, Macs are generally seen as being easier to use because of the many tutorials and intuitive design.
The maintenance of the different computer systems is another area where there is a large difference between Macs and PCs. Specially trained technicians are one of the few options available for Mac owners who need repairs and upgrades, though the technicians are known for being well-trained and easily accessible. The modular design of PCs allows anyone with basic hardware knowledge to upgrade, repair or change the individual components in the machine. The layout and design of a Mac does mean that the computer is less prone to conflicts or errors that will require repair. PCs are more vulnerable to issues caused by incompatible hardware or software driver conflicts.