A few years ago there was a major advertising campaign featuring comedians David Mitchell and Robert Webb, who effectively reprised their characters from the cult comedy Peep Show in order to promote Apple’s range of Mac computers while at the same time dismissing Windows-based PCs as being for stuffy, geeky types rather than cool, creative youngsters.
As popular as the campaign was, do Mac users and PC users really fall so rigidly into the two categories of artistic and practical respectively?
The short answer is yes, but it is not quite as simple as that and there are some caveats.
The typical Mac user is certainly going to be interested in accessing a software platform which is really user-friendly and able to deliver to them the types of creative-oriented programs that will help them to edit movies, make music and manipulate imagery.
Mac users are also quite conscious about the styling of the devices they use and the perceptions of the wider Apple brand as a whole. Apple is able to charge a premium for its laptops and desktops because it puts a lot of work into making them look great. This is a premium which Mac users are more than happy to pay.
However, the modern Mac is quite different to the Mac of a few years ago. You can get many of the same programs for more practical tasks such as word processing and spreadsheet management on a Mac that you will find on a PC. Meanwhile, the use of Intel processors and mainstream graphics solutions means that Macs have become a better solution for gaming.
Mac fans who still want the Windows experience can even boot up Microsoft’s platform separately with a bit of know-how and behind-the-scenes tinkering, so there is no need to feel as if you are making a compromise.
Windows PC Users
PC users can fall into a number of categories, but in general they are divided into the everyday family consumer and the more hardcore fanatic.
For general usage, a PC is still leaps and bounds ahead because there are such a large number of users it makes sense for software developers to produce programs for this platform.
You can pick up a HP Pavilion DV6 from Argos and have it up and running in a few minutes, with Windows offering backwards compatibility with programs and files from years gone by.
For high-end users who love over-clocking their processors, installing multiple GPUs and blazing through the latest gaming titles, the PC is still the platform of choice, easily outstripping home consoles and leaving mobile platforms in its wake.
Of course, Microsoft has also taken more than a few cues from Apple in the design of Windows 7, its current flagship desktop-operating system. The interface has been simplified and streamlined without putting more of a burden on the hardware and there are plenty of user-friendly elements which will not daunt casual users.
Ultimately, both Mac and PC users share similar goals and dividing them into groups is not going to provide a true picture of the market.