Why I'm Leaving Windows for Mac
I've never owned a Mac. Though I've seen them from afar – one has always been within reach at work or at school – I've never been tempted to buy one aside from the indelible lure of using Final Cut Pro. The reason isn't so much a dislike for Apple products as it is a preference for the Windows format. As crazy as this may sound, I've always liked Windows. I like its design, its programs, and most of all its freedom to run just about anything.
Over the years, Apple has slowly worked its way into my life. From the stone-age iPod that didn't have a color screen (or much of a "screen" at all) to the iPod Touch that I could not wait to use, Apple's innovations were as appealing as they were groundbreaking.
Still, I have not been tempted to buy a Mac. Or at least I was not until two weeks ago, at which point my three-year-old Windows Vista laptop – a Sony (NYSE: SNE) Vaio, to be exact – started acting very strangely. I won't bore you with the details, but needless to say its behavior is not that of a quality laptop, especially not one that has been babied from the moment it came into my possession. I have been so determined to keep it in good working condition that I almost never move it while it's turned on. A lot of people don't realize is that most laptops still use a traditional hard drive with movable parts, and the more you move your computer while the disc is spinning, the more wear and tear your computer will incur. (This is true for Macs as well, which is part of the reason why Apple is moving to custom solid state memory.)
Consequently, I have done everything under the sun to keep the Vaio working like new. But alas, I have failed. Worst of all, this is far from the first time I've had this experience; my sister, cousins, uncles, and friends have all had Windows machines that died prematurely – machines that were fine one day and landfill fodder the next. In fact, aside from one ancient desktop (also a Vaio), I've never had a Windows machine or known anyone with a Windows machine that worked at full capacity for more than three years.
As all of this was going on – as my Windows laptop began to fall apart – I began to use a 13-inch MacBook Pro at Benzinga. It wasn't an everyday occurrence; I typically write my articles with a custom-built Windows desktop. But when mobility was an issue, or when I simply felt like moving around the office, I found myself reaching for the MacBook Pro every time.
By the end of my first week with the Apple laptop, I was tempted to go and buy one right after work. While the one I had been using was no more powerful than my Vaio, the MacBook Pro ran more smoothly, entered and exited standby more quickly, and could remain in standby overnight without causing any glitches the next day. It was, in a way, the laptop I had always wanted.
While you could argue that this MacBook Pro model (released in 2010) is guaranteed to run more smoothly than any three-year-old laptop running Vista, that argument does not hold up when compared to Windows 7 machines released in 2009 and 2010. The MacBook Pro is superior to those laptops as well.
Truth be told, I haven't had enough time with the 2011 models to say if Windows or its manufacturers have improved this year. But even if I were to fall in love with another Sony Vaio, who's to say it won't be toast in three years? Or, at the very least, need a new hard drive or some other component?
Many would argue that that is the nature of the beast – that no matter what you do, your hard drive will eventually crash, your motherboard will eventually die, and your screen will eventually burn out and never come back on. This is all true. But shouldn't the lifespan of these items be longer than three years?
Windows, however, is only part of the problem. While Apple has specific (if not strict) manufacturing and testing procedures that prevent the Mac OS from appearing on machines from Dell (NASDAQ: DELL), HP (NYSE: HPQ), or any other third party, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) lets anyone and everyone have access to the Windows operating system. While my colleague Andrew Alexander is quick to point out that this allows many manufacturers to produce more computers at a lower cost, enabling more people to use computers than Apple's philosophy could allow, this argument can only go so far. Until a Windows manufacturer steps up and designs a killer machine that won't die, Microsoft's operating system will always be in peril.
Perhaps the answer rests in the hands of Windows' creator. Despite the failure of Zune and other Microsoft devices, Xbox 360 and Kinect have been quite successful, proving that the company can manufacture decent products. Even with the Red Ring of Death and other technical issues, Xbox 360 is a significant step in the right direction – by Microsoft standards, at least.
Thus, if the company wants to compete (and copy) Apple so vehemently with stores, MP3 players and other knock-offs, Microsoft should also consider manufacturing a Windows machine of its own.
Until that day arrives, I'll be staring at this page on Apple.com, impatiently waiting for the moment to come when I can finally take a Mac home.
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