When it comes to companies that have dedicated (some might say “rabid”) fans, Apple has to be near the top of the list. You can argue for Mac, Windows, or Linux machines until you’re blue in the face, but there’s no denying that people who love Macs really love Macs. It’s polarizing, but why is it the case?
What is it that keeps people buying Apple computers when they’re so much more expensive than equivalent machines? When you can easily buy a laptop for under $500, and even a Chromebook will satisfy most people’s computing needs, why do people insist on spending well over $1000 a Mac?
I spent some time looking around the internet and talking to people about why they love their Macs. Most of the answers are ones you’d probably expect, but a couple of them might catch you by surprise!
This is one that comes up a lot. Computers all wear out, but Macs tend to run for a very long time. One Facebook commenter put it this way:
“Was sick of replacing PC after every 3 years for bs slowness and not user friendly. Have had my Macbook for 4 years now.”
And a commenter on a recent article reported that he’s still using a Mac from 2009 — getting seven years of use out of a computer is nothing to scoff at, especially when many cease to function after four. While doing occasional maintenance like calibrating your battery is a good idea, it’s rarely necessary.
Speaking of maintenance, that’s another point that people brought up a lot: Macs don’t need much. A number of people mentioned the fact that they rarely have to go through long update processes: many updates simply install by themselves, often not even requiring a restart. And many of the maintenance tasks that need to be done are completed automatically.
When it actually comes to performing maintenance, there are some really great apps that you can use to get it all done with minimal effort (all-in-one app OnyX, above, is a favorite of mine). You’ll never need to worry about things like defragmentation if you’re using an SSD, and your Mac doesn’t have a registry so there’s no registry cleaning either. A number of people emphasized the reliability of Macs, with one commenter pointing out:
“Reliability. The fact I don’t I don’t need to fiddle with it every week in order to disable some annoying pop up. . . . Not having to reinstall every year because something has slowed the entire system down.”
While there are things you can do to automate maintenance on Windows machines, the fact that Macs need little attention compared to other systems is what leads to the oft-maligned sentiment that “Macs just work.” You may disagree, but you’ll find few Mac users who don’t love how easy is it to keep a Mac running smoothly.
Ease of Use
One of the most common refrains you’ll hear when people talk about why they think Macs are better than Windows machines is that Macs are “easier to use,” though few people are able to identify exactly what that means. Taylor Wilson at KSL.com puts it very well:
“Apple’s operating system, OS X, hides a lot of things that you don’t usually need to see. Finding the app you want is usually as simple as clicking its icon on the dock, and doesn’t involve digging through any menus or folders. Connecting to Wi-Fi is the same thing — click the Wi-Fi icon; click the network you want; and type in the password. In general, the things you use the most are easier to get to than on Windows.”
He also points out that OS X contains really useful things for finding your way, like Spaces and Mission Control. And it’s tough to beat the power of Spotlight. The tradeoff for hiding the things you don’t need is usually that there’s less customizability, which is usually granted with Macs, but the vast majority of dedicated users seem to find this an easy trade to make.
OS X is a very stable operating system: it almost always does what you want it to do when you want it to do it. This is, of course, something you could say about a lot of operating systems, but one thing that stands out is that it’s really hard to crash a Mac. When I was still using Windows computers, I had crashes on a fairly regular basis; but I’ve only irretrievably crashed a Mac a handful of times in the decade or so I’ve been using one.
One of the biggest reasons why Apple’s operating system is so stable is that it’s highly tailored for the hardware that it’s run on. While you can cobble together a Hackintosh, the vast majority of people using OS X will be using it on an Apple-made computer. Windows, on the other hand, is run on an entire spectrum of machines, from the cheapest knockoffs to the most expensive gaming rigs — and trying to craft an operating system that works well across that range isn’t easy.
Apple simply has the natural advantage by way of controlling the hardware and software ecosystem. If you want to upgrade your Mac when you buy it, you can do so but you’ll only be able to choose from a few Apple-approved options like more RAM, and a spacier SSD.
There’s little point in arguing against the fact that Apple products are extremely well-designed. Apple’s Chief Design Officer, Sir Jony Ive, has won a number of awards for his designs, including being knighted and recognized for “services to design and enterprise.” You might not agree with all of Apple’s design decisions, but there’s no denying that they appeal to a huge portion of the public.
Or, as a friend of mine put it,
“My hipster points went up by 34 so sitting pretty cool in the coffee shops.”
There’s certainly something to be said for trendiness.
It’s not just the hardware design, though; Apple’s software design team has created phenomenally well-designed user interfaces for its products, combining pleasing aesthetics with ease of use. You can talk trash about their fling with skeuomorphic design, but in general, people find Apple software pretty easy to use.
This could be construed as either an advantage or a drawback of using a Mac, but a number of the people I talked to pointed out the fact that having an Apple computer is a notable convenience when using an iPhone and an iPad. If you’re an Android fan, this isn’t going to appeal to you very much, but Apple’s phone and tablet are hugely popular, so it’s a big deal to a lot of people.
While some people might feel trapped by Apple’s ecosystem, the fact that many of their devices and a great deal of their software is created to work together perfectly is great for people who don’t have a problem with it. By making desktops, laptops, phones, tablets, MP3 players, and a variety of software that are meant to mesh perfectly, Apple has created an experience that is appealing to a lot of users. “[T]he ecosystem is incomparable,” said a Facebook commenter.
He’s definitely right, but whether you think that’s a good thing is largely subjective.
Being able to talk to the same customer service people for problems with any device in the ecosystem is another big benefit that people appreciate. There’s no doubt that the men and women staffing the Genius Bar at any Apple store really know what they’re doing, and anecdotal reviews of experiences with Apple customer service are generally positive. Apple techs undergo a lot of training to be able to fix your devices effectively and quickly, and it’s a fiercely competitive field so standards are high.
Whether you think buying an extended AppleCare warranty is a good idea or not, or if you think paying extra for a computer so you can get great customer service is a great deal or a rip-off, it’s definitely one of the reasons many people choose Apple hardware. They don’t usually tend to have a lot of problems, but when they do, there’s always someone that’s available to help you fix it.
While it doesn’t come up as often as the other items in this list, a lot of people really appreciate the fact that a Unix command line is only a click or two away, and it can be a really great way to interact with your Mac. Even understanding a few basic commands can make some processes a lot easier, and taking the time to become a command line master can help you go from a Mac newbie to a power user in no time.
One Facebook commenter put it this way:
“Access to an actual *nix command line, so any Linux tricks you find will work, and working the latest Node / Ruby / Python is trivial. I pity any web developer trying to make a living on Windows. Actually I don’t, because they don’t exist. :-)”
The command line is great for Linux users, web developers, programmers, and anyone else who needs a bit more power than is offered by the GUI. Another commenter who has experience with both Windows and Linux put it this way:
“Put simply, Apple’s desktop operating system it’s roughly as powerful as open source operating systems without the mess of configuration and incomptability. It’s a best of both world[s] scenario.”
And really, what more could you ask for?
Why Do You Love Your Mac?
These eight reasons explain why a lot of people love their Macs, but everyone has their own reasons. Every user has unique needs, mission-critical apps, and separate reasons for sticking with Apple when there are more powerful, flexible, and affordable options out there. We want to hear what you love — or even what you don’t love — about your Mac.
Why do you stick with your Mac? If you don’t use a Mac, what would get you to try one? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Image credits: Matteo Magro via Flickr,