I’m a PC. But also, now, a Mac

I’ve been a Windows user for 20 years, but now I’m using a Mac. Why?

im a mac pc

I’ve never really liked Apple.  I think their closed ecosystem cripples choice and, although their products are high quality, they are overpriced and too simplistic for my liking.

Having said that, I’ve held Apple stock for the past 7 years – I realise that there are some people who love Apple and, for those people, Apple make great products.

In 2016, I bought an 11″ Macbook Air in 2016 for work.  I stuck Windows 10 on it because I didn’t like using OS X*.  However, I was recently forced into using MacOS when my Windows 10 Boot Camp partition failed and, due to the nature of my job, I didn’t have the time to commit to reinstalling Windows 10 until several weeks later.

im a mac pc
Remember the old “I’m a Mac, and I’m a PC” adverts?

Anyway, I did get round to reinstalling Windows 10…but I’m still using MacOS.  Why?

Performance

Benchmarks show me that there is little difference in performance between stock versions of Apple’s MacOS (High Sierra) and Microsoft’s Windows 10.  However, I have noticed the following:

  • The Windows 10 Creators Update (clean install) has ground my Macbook to a halt
  • The antivirus I have installed (Kaspersky) routinely takes up a decent chunk of CPU time during disk read/writes
  • MacOS memory management is far better – running Chrome with 20 tabs open brings Windows to a halt, but MacOS remains buttery smooth
  • Scrolling remains buttery smooth in MacOS, and juddery in Windows 10

I suspect that most of the above are due to various software bugs or poor optimization by Apple for Windows 10 but they’ve put me off all the same.

Transition to the Cloud

90% of functions required by most users can now be performed in your web browser.  Need to edit a document?  Google Docs.  Need to chat to friends?  Facebook/WhatsApp Web/Skype Web.  Email?  Gmail is now as feature rich as most desktop email clients.

Even consumer media services such as Spotify and Netflix can be run entirely from your web browser.  In fact, almost every service you use now has a fully-functional web app.  This has made me less reliant on Windows and more platform agnostic.

My Changing Consumer Needs

As I have grown older, my needs as a consumer have changed.  I now primarily use my devices for work, media consumption (streaming music/video) and browsing the internet, all of which are platform agnostic.  There are some things I still need Windows for, but these are becoming fewer and far-between.

Windows 10 Advertising/Privacy 😦

Windows 10 introduced a raft of new features, some good, some bad.  Amongst the bad has been the sheer volume of crapware that comes with a clean install (Candy Crush, Bubble Witch Saga, etc).  And there are so many privacy holes and advertising options turned on by default!  Granted, you can go through your settings and disable these, but it’s a pain.

The Changing World of Work

Every young business that I have come across (including mine) uses G Suite (formerly Google Apps), which is entirely cloud-based.  They all either have a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy in place, or buy you a laptop of your choosing which can run either MacOS or Windows.  Work phones even tie in seamlessly with G Suite (Android and iOS).  Gone are the days of chunky laptops with slow, heavily-encrypted 5400rpm hard drives!

What’s Next?

Although I have been using MacOS as my daily driver for the last few months, I’ve still had to revert to Windows for the “serious stuff”.  Furthermore, some of my hardware simply isn’t compatible with MacOS (e.g., my external hard drives are NTFS) so I’ll still need to jump into Windows now and then.

Google have been pushing hard to change consumer behaviour to be platform agnostic, and it appears to be working.  I’m looking forward to the day when mobile devices are advanced enough such that we only need the one device to handle both work and play.  I just hope that Google don’t end up monopolizing the market with their rumoured Fuchsia OS – in this industry, we need the competition.

Aside: Canonical (Ubuntu) and Microsoft (Windows) both tried to merge mobile and desktop operating systems a couple of years ago, but failed.  IMO the hardware performance wasn’t there at the time, and Windows Mobile just didn’t have enough support from consumers or developers.


*To address the elephant in the room:

Q: Why was/am I running Windows on a Macbook Air (11)?

A: When I was looking to buy a laptop in 2016, the 11″ Macbook Air was by far and away the best bang-for-buck portable Windows laptop available, thanks to Boot Camp.  It cost 30% less than the XPS 13/Surface, was equally powerful (dual-core i5 processor, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD) and was packed into a lightweight 1.08kg body (important when you cycle 16km each way as a commute).

 

Author: Christopher Pavlou

Christopher’s interests include technology, social impact, sport and travel, and he is passionate about finding ways to use technology to improve people’s lives. He is a Fellow of the New Entrepreneurs Foundation, and an alumnus of the University of Cambridge where he read Aerospace & Aerothermal Engineering.

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